Mary Magdalene

Meet the real friend and follower of Jesus.

Was she the wife of Jesus, the mother of his children, or the Holy Grail, as The Da Vinci Code claims? Or the repentant prostitute of Jesus Christ Superstar, throwing herself at the Master's feet and singing, "I Don't Know How to Love Him"?

According to Scripture, Mary Magdalene was none of the above. And more than the above.

We find her story in all four gospels, where she's mentioned by name 14 times—significant, since many women of the Bible are nameless.

Here's her eye-opening, one-line biography: "When Jesus rose early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had driven seven demons" (Mark 16:9). Possessed by Satan, she was repossessed by Christ, then privileged to witness his resurrection. Oh! She has a story, all right—but not a scandalous one.

The Many Marys

So how did we get so off the mark on Mary Magdalene?

Well, she was from Magdala, a town known for vice and violence. Additionally, there are seven Marys in the New Testament: Mary Magdalene; Jesus' mother; Clopas's wife; Mary of Bethany; John Mark's mother; a diligent worker; and James and Joses' mother, who's also called "the other Mary."

Two thousand years of art and literature haven't helped her cause. Mary Magdalene often is depicted as the unnamed prostitute who washed Jesus' feet with her tears (Luke 7:37-50), or the woman caught in adultery (John 8:2-11), or as Lazarus' sister—who was from Bethany, not Magdala—who anointed the Lord's head with costly perfume (Mark 14:3-9, John 11:2). Fascinating women, all—but not our Mary M.

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May 25

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