Jesus and Women – Mary Magdalene

Jesus and Women – Mary Magdalene

Jesus and Women – Mary Magdalene. 

“Dear woman, why are you crying?’ the angels asked her. ‘Because they have taken away my Lord,’ she replied, ‘and I don’t know where they have put him.’ She turned to leave and saw someone standing there. It was Jesus, but she didn’t recognize Him. ”Dear woman, why are you crying?’ Jesus asked her. ‘Who are you looking for?’ She thought it was the gardener. ‘Sir, she said, ‘if you have taken him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will go and get him.’ ‘Mary!’ Jesus said. She turned to Him and cried out, ‘My dear Teacher!’  (John 20:13-16).

It’s no wonder that Mary Magdalene has reached rock-star status in various times of church history. There have been so many legends surrounding her that during the Middle Ages one scholar has said that there seemed to be a cult of Mary Magdalene. We do know that there is no support in the Gospels for the idea that Mary Magdalene was once a prostitute or a loose woman. The unnamed woman who anointed Jesus in Luke 7 was not Mary Magdalene, nor was the woman taken in adultery. These were baseless rumors and legends and have  no basis in Scripture. The fact is that Mary Magdalene is a highly honored saint and a heroine of the Faith. As mentioned in the Gospels, we do know that:

  1. She was probably independently wealthy, since she followed and financially supported Jesus from the very start of His ministry;
  2. Jesus cast out seven demons from Mary Magdalene early in His ministry. (Mark 16:9). That exorcism could have healed her from physical, emotional, or psychological ailments. We are never told the details;
  3. Mary Magdalene is mentioned twelve times in the Gospels, more than most of the Apostles, and more than any other woman;
  4. She is always noted the first in line in any listing of women, signifying her as the leader and most significant person on the list, much like Peter in reference to the Disciples;
  5. Mary Magdalene remained a faithful and courageous disciple through the dangerous time of Jesus’ Passion and crucifixion. She was a visible follower of Jesus while standing at the Cross, and she accompanied His dead body to the tomb;
  6. As a member of the famous “myrrh-bearing women,” Mary Magdalene was the first to see the empty tomb and witness the angels there;
  7. Of His ten resurrection appearances, Jesus appeared to and talked first with Mary Magdalene. After finally recognizing Jesus when He spoke her name, she desperately wanted to worship Him, to kiss His feet, to never let Him go again. (Matthew 28 and John 20). Of all the people Jesus could have approached first after the resurrection, He chose Mary Magdalene. He could have  stood before the Sanhedrin and lecture them abut the OT prophecies about Him. He could have appeared to Pilate and told him the answer to his question about truth. He could have tweaked Herod or Caiaphus. He could have conducted a Victory Tour announcing to all the world His defeat of death. But instead He humbly approached His friend Mary Magdalene, a reformed woman who was once demon-possessed. This was a personal choice for Jesus, which became obvious when He tenderly said the word, “Mary.”
  8. Mary Magdalene has been called the “apostle to the apostles” down through church history, because the risen Christ commissioned her to tell the news of the resurrection to the Disciples. She was “sent out” to those who were “sent out.” Isn’t it interesting that Jesus chose a woman to give eye witness testimony to a group of skeptical men, a woman who would be unacceptable in the court of public opinion or any court at all?

Church tradition holds that Mary Magdalene moved to Ephesus after the Ascension to be with Jesus’ mother Mary. She reportedly remained there with mother Mary till they both lived out their days.