In this paper I will share the life of Mary Magdalene, the faithful disciple she was to Jesus all the way to the very end and how God wants us to model our lives in the same fashion. Mary Magdalene’s life as we know it begins in her native city of Magdala. “Magdala is the Greek form of mighdol or “watchtower,” probably named for the tower that guarded the city. ” (The Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible, 1975, p. 105) It is believed that Mary received her last name Magdalene by designation.
According to the Zondervan Handbook to the Bible (2009) “this designation means that she was unmarried, since married women were normally distinguished from others of the same name by the name of their husband. ” Mary Travels to Meet Jesus As I have already stated her home was in Magdala and she traveled approximately 10 miles to see Jesus in Capernum. She was possessed with seven demons; the number seven often signified completeness. In Mary’s generation demonic possession had a reputation of being impure or having an unclean spirit.
The people of Magdala excluded Mary form their Jewish Galilean society because of her possessions. Mary was most definitely traveling alone when she embarked on the long journey to meet Jesus in Capernaum. The map below shows The Holy Land based on New Testament retrieved from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints website: http://www. lds. org/scriptures/bible-maps/map11? lang=eng After being healed of her demonic possessions Mary began travelling with Jesus, his disciples and others that believed in Jesus’ ministry.
Mary is introduced into the life of Jesus in the book of Luke 8:2-3, “and also some women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases: Mary (called Magdalene) from whom seven demons had come out, Joanna the wife of Cuza, the manager of Herod’s household; Susanna; and many others. These women were helping to support them out of their own means. ” (NIV) Mary A Main Witness to Key Events in Jesus’ Life Mary Magdalene led a group of women who were prominent followers of Jesus of Nazareth. These women were the main witnesses to the key events in the life f Jesus such as: * Jesus’ ministry throughout Galilee and Judea
* The crucifixion * Jesus’ death * Jesus’ burial and resurrection In our time today it would not be unusual for a woman to be a primary witness, but it was an innovative concept during that time period. A woman’s testimony was not given the same weight as that of a man’s, personally or in the court of law. Matthew 18:16 says, “But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses’. When the Christian stories tell of Mary Magdalene and the other women as the first witnesses to the Resurrection, this said something important about a woman’s status within our Christian faith! I believe it is telling us that it does not matter your gender, color or ethnicity we are all equal in the eyes of God. Could this be the first account on women’s rights? I am unsure but it does drive home a very obvious point here. Over the centuries Mary Magdalene was wrongly portrayed in literature and art as a reformed prostitute. This happened because: She was/is confused with the woman with the alabaster jar, Luke 7:36-50.
* The woman with the alabaster jar is called a sinner, but there is no reason to believe she was a prostitute. * Mary’s native home of Magdala had a reputation for being known as a city of prostitues. (Mary Magdalene photos found at: http://www. bing. com /images/search? qMary+Magdalene) A prostitute is described in Ezekiel 23:3, “They became prostitutes in Egypt, engaging in prostitution from their youth. In that land their breasts were fondled and their virgin bosoms caressed. ” (http://www. biblegateway. com/keyword/? earch=prostitute&version1=NIV&searchtype=all&limit=none&wholewordsonly=no&startnumber=51) * In the Zondervan Handbook to the Bible (2009) it describes Mary as “having had seven demons driven out of her life. We can’t know exactly what these were, but at that time a mental disorder or an extremely painful and disruptive illness was often blamed on a demon. ” * Mary was traditionally presented as a sinful woman.
“Mary Magdalene’s persistent reputation for promiscuity in medieval legend and in many modern novels rests on the mistake of presuming women with demons were necessarily promiscuous. (Chilton, 2005, p. 10) 4 Different Parts to Mary’s Story I. Mary as a Disciple of Jesus. Luke 8:1-3 She is described as a woman whom Jesus cast out seven demons from. She led a group of women who all provided support for Jesus and his followers from their own financial resources. Mary’s faith in the teachings of Jesus led her to follow our Savior where ever He went. II. Mary at the crucifixion. Mark 15:40-41, Luke 23:43, Matthew 27:55-56, John 19:25 In each of the four gospels their accounts of the crucifixion show Mary Magdalene present, standing in the distance with other women or standing near the cross.
Matthew 26:56 makes the point that all the male disciples deserted Jesus and fled for their lives. But the women remained, standing as near as they dared to the spot where the soldiers were carrying out the brutal execution. This does not mean that the men were more cowardly than the women. It was simply less dangerous for the women to be at the execution site because they were seen as less threatening to the Romans. III. Mary prepared the body of Jesus for burial. Luke 23:55-56, Matthew 27:61 Mary watched as the body of Jesus was sealed within the tomb by Joseph of Arimathea.
She could confirm that Jesus was truly dead. Mary and the other women prepared the spices needed for the customary burial of Jesus’ body. Preparing the body for burial was a traditional task done by the Jewish women. This is seen as a final and gentle service given to the body of their loved ones. IV. Mary Magdalene was witness to the Resurrection. Mark 16:1-11, Luke 24:1-11, Matthew 28:1-10, John 20:1-18 Mary found the stone rolled away and Jesus’ body was no longer there. She received a message from an angel and was the first person to see the risen Jesus.
Making her the first witness to the resurrection! The excitement she must have felt when she realized she was speaking with her risen Savior! All four gospels mention Mary’s presence with Jesus as being faithful to the end. Isn’t this the type of relationship God wants us to have with Him, faithful to the end? Mary gave up everything to follow Jesus and to lead others in His ministry. She was committed to what she believed and she was willing to risk everything to tell others about the Word of God. Shouldn’t we as Christians be like this as well?
I’m not saying that our road will be easy but we must stand firm in God’s Word because that is constant and never changes! We will never have all the answers until the day God returns so we need just have faith in God and His plan. With Mary Magdalene there are so many speculations about her and her life after the resurrection but I will put my faith in what the Word of God tells me about her because that is the truth. My prayer for my life and other Christians is that we may be more like Mary with our faith and willingness to spread the Word of God to those who don’t know him regardless of the consequences to our belief.