Who is Mary Magdalene? She’s a saint that’s shrouded in mystery. She’s a woman who’s been labeled as everything from a prostitute, to Jesus’s secret wife, to a goddess. Let me tell you right now, no matter what you may have heard about Mary Magdalene, the Apostle to the Apostles was none of those things.
First of all, Mary of Magdala is a woman, plain and simple.The passage from Luke introduces Mary Magdalene as a woman who was possessed by seven demons. It’s almost impossible for me to imagine what life must have been like for Mary Magdalene before Christ came into her life.
Thankfully for us, the Bible leaves out those nightmare inducing details. Instead, the passages about Mary Magdalene that are found in the Bible show what her life was like after he started serving Christ. She was a leader amongst the female disciples and she, along with the other female disciples, provided for Jesus and the apostles.
It’s never said if she was wealthy or married or widowed. What’s important, though, is that she chose to give everything she had to help Jesus out with his ministry. In other words, she devoted her life to serving him.
There were three other important parts in the Bible that Mary Magdalene was witness to: Jesus being crucified, His burial, and His resurrection. At a time when almost all of Jesus’s apostles had abandoned him (John being the exception), Mary Magdalene and the other female disciples were there with Jesus, watching his suffering firsthand.
I can’t even begin to imagine the pain she must’ve felt, watching one of her dearest friends, the man who saved her life, be tortured and suffer until he couldn’t take it anymore. At the time that I am writing this, I have yet to attend a funeral. I never saw a dead body in real life. But I have lost people through death before. It’s always hard. And always sudden.
When the darkness of Good Friday and Holy Saturday ended, Mary Magdalene was at the tomb with her friends, carrying spices and ointments for Jesus’s body. Imagine the shock on their faces when they found the stone rolled away and the tomb empty. Imagine their disappointment when they told the apostles, but the men didn’t believe them.
Cut back to Mary Magdalene, who’s at the tomb all by herself. She’s crying in the presence of the angels when she sees someone nearby. Thinking he’s the gardener, she asks him where Jesus’s body is. Jesus reveals himself to his friend by simply saying her name. In that instance,
she recognized her Savior and called him “Rabboni!” She embraces him, but he tells her to let go, to go to his apostles and tell them of his resurrection.
We don’t know how long Mary Magdalene lived after she saw the Risen Christ and received the Holy Spirit. What we do know is that she spent her life going out and spreading the good news the way that all the other apostles did. While we may never really know who Mary Magdalene was as a person, we can imitate her by applying her actions in our own lives.
We can devote our lives to Christ, giving all that we have to Him, share in his sufferings, rejoice in his resurrection, and go throughout the world to testify about Him.
What kind of woman do you imagine Mary Magdalene to be?
Would you rather be defined as who you are as a person or by your actions? Why?