There are three prominent women named Mary in the New Testament. Of course, there was Mary, the mother of Jesus. There was Mary, the sister of Martha and Lazarus, and a friend of Jesus.
Then there was Mary “Magdalene” a loving a devoted follower of Jesus. Magdala is the town she was from. Magdala was on the western side of the Sea of Galilee. So the reference to Mary Magdalene is like Jesus of Nazareth.
An early follower of Jesus
We first see her early in the ministry of Jesus, when He cast out seven demons from her. People have been taught that she was a prostitute, but there is no Biblical evidence of this. Pope Gregory I made this claim in a sermon he gave in 591 AD.
Gregory tied three women together into one teaching. In the Gospel of Luke, there is Mary (called Magdalene) from whom seven demons had been cast out. There was Mary of Bethany, sister of Martha and a friend of Jesus, mentioned in Luke 10.
Also, there was the woman who washed the Lord’s feet with perfume and her tears and dried them with her hair in Luke 7. Finally, there was an unnamed woman caught in adultery, who was protected and forgiven by Jesus. There is no evidence this was Mary Magdalene.
Images are more a myth
The images we have of Mary Magdalene are more myth than anything else. If you have seen the television series “The Chosen,” it portrays her has being possessed and eludes to her being a prostitute before she was healed by Jesus, but that is more for dramatic effect. Her “post possession” portrayal is probably closer to the real story.
Mary Magdalene first to proclaim the resurrection of Jesus
She was a female disciple, and traveled with the group. She, along with the other women, provided support. She is mentioned in all four Gospels, but more importantly, she was there for the death, burial and resurrection of Christ.
This remarkable woman was the first to proclaim the risen Christ and took that message to the disciples, who were in hiding at the time for fear of being arrested.
Not the wife of Jesus
There are some who believe that Mary was the wife of Jesus and had His children, but that is completely false, and an ugly rumor to discredit the Biblical account. Through the years, there have been stories attributed to her, but not substantiated. In short, although few words are said about her, she will always be remembered as the first to see the risen Christ and to proclaim the resurrection.
Biblical references to Mary Magdalene
Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and the mother of Zebedee’s sons.
Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were sitting there opposite the tomb.
Jesus Has Risen
After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb.
Some women were watching from a distance. Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James the younger and of Joseph, and Salome.
Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joseph saw where he was laid.
Jesus Has Risen
When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus’ body.
[The earliest manuscripts and some other ancient witnesses do not have verses 9–20.] 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.
and also some women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases: Mary (called Magdalene) from whom seven demons had come out;
It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the others with them who told this to the apostles.
Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene.
The Empty Tomb
Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance.
Jesus Appears to Mary Magdalene
Now Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb
Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them that he had said these things to her.