Mary Magdalene is a woman mentioned in all four Gospels – Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, each time in the context of the narration of the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Nothing much is told about her. In fact, ‘Magdalene’ is not even her surname. She has been addressed as Mary Magdalene because she came from a place called Magdala, a place on the shore of the Sea of Galilee. (Just as a person from Japan would be referred to as Japanese or someone from India would be called Indian) But, whatever little is shared leaves such a profound impact that she is worth the importance.
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Mary Magdalene received deliverance
The only other mention of Mary Magdalene apart from the crucifixion and resurrection scenes of Jesus Christ, is in Luke 8:1-3. Mary Magdalene had been delivered from the clutches of the devil! Seven demons had been dwelling within her. We do not know for how long Mary Magdalene was under the siege of the devil. We also do not know in what exact way had the demons crippled her. Let us not attempt to speculate about it to arrive at random conclusions. What we need to understand for sure, however, is that any person overpowered by the devil cannot be expected to be living a normal life. Mary Magdalene had been enslaved by the powers and principalities of darkness. She was suffering. She was leading a life of untold misery. It was then, that Jesus Christ set her free. Mary Magdalene experienced deliverance! Jesus Christ has authority over the devil and his evil schemes. No matter how vicious a web he spins to capture people, the power of Jesus Christ is able to deliver.
Mary Magdalene showed grateful discipleship
Luke 8:3 tells us that Mary Magdalene along with some other women provided for Jesus Christ as He went on preaching through every city and village. Mary Magdalene was grateful to Jesus for what He had done for her. The hungry know the value of food and are grateful for each morsel given to them. The sick know the value of a doctor and are grateful for the medical aid they receive. Mary Magdalene did not simply show her gratitude by a word of thanks. She recognized the power that had released her from bondage and vowed her loyal allegiance to Jesus Christ. Mary served Jesus as her Lord.
Mary Magdalene bore witness to the crucifixion and burial of Jesus Christ
After the brief mention of her healing in Luke, Mary finds mention in the Gospels at the crucifixion of Jesus. Matthew 27:56, Mark 15:40, John 19:25 cite that Mary Magdalene was present on the scene when her Lord was undergoing excruciating pain. She heard His last words, saw Him breathe His last as He gave up His Spirit and waited by the Cross till His body was brought down and entombed. To helplessly watch the One she revered, the One who delivered her, the One to whom she owed her life, go through untold pain and suffering must have been heart-wrenching for her. However, she stayed on till the very end observing where His mangled body was laid to rest.
Mary Magdalene was the first to see the resurrected Jesus
Mary was the privileged first eye witness of the resurrected Jesus. On reaching the tomb, Mary’s heart must have skipped a beat to find the stone rolled away from the door of the tomb. Her tears, not yet dry from the previous two days, started flowing again as she stood by the tomb along with the other women who had accompanied her. As is evident from John 20:13, she considered a momentary possibility of the body of Jesus being shifted elsewhere. She and the other women had hoped to anoint His body with spices. Just as she stood weeping at the tomb, Jesus appeared to her. Nothing in the Scripture says that Mary was anticipating the resurrection of Jesus. That explains why she mistook Him as the gardener when He appeared to her.
Mary Magdalene recognised His voice
While teaching His disciples in John 10:1-8, Jesus said just as the sheep hear and respond to the voice of their shepherd, those who belong to His flock hear His voice and recognize Him. As soon as Jesus uttered ‘Mary’, she turned and addressed Him as ‘Rabboni’ meaning Teacher (John 20:16). Jesus did not have to reveal His identity or explain His resurrection to Mary for her to recognize Him. Just a call of her name and she recognized her Shepherd!
Mary Magdalene was the first messenger of the Gospel
Had it not been for the resurrection of Jesus Christ, His life and teachings would have been just like that of many other great men who spoke and did a lot of good and died. But, what draws the line between all other great men the world has ever had, and Jesus Christ is that He rose up from the dead. He came to give eternal life (John 3:16), abundant life (John 10:10) and a life of fullness (Ephesians 3:19). And as a testament to His promise, He rose up from among the dead to remain a living Saviour for all mankind. Mary Magdalene, the first to see the resurrected Jesus, was also the first to share this victorious news with His disciples.
The power of Jesus Christ over the forces of darkness, sin and death are ever so present even today. No bondage whatsoever can thrive in the presence of the power of deliverance of Jesus Christ. And the response to being set free is discipleship – the way Mary Magdalene exemplified by her ministry of gratitude.
The sheep which recognize the voice of the shepherd are safe from all harm – from the ravenous wolves and the rugged terrain and they see the glory of their master’s might. Mary Magdalene heard, recognized and witnessed the voice of her Shepherd. Her mourning gave way to rejoicing, her tears gave way to joy and her uncertainty gave way to a certain hope of assurance. This Hope is for all who believe in the resurrected Saviour – an assurance for eternity.
My Prayer for us: Lord, I proclaim the power of your deliverance from the powers of darkness. I thank you for the power of Your glorious resurrection upon everyone. Amen.
Click the link below for ‘The Three Marys – Part I’
Click the link below for ‘The Three Marys – Part III’