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 of 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.”...