Mighty MaryWho is Mighty Mary? The mother of Jesus? No. The America’s Cup boat by the same name? No. When I think of Mighty Mary I think of Mary Magdalene, for she was truly a mighty woman of God.
Mary Magdalene has been slighted by history for whatever reason, probably for the attempt at fame by the author. There is absolutely no evidence that she was a prostitute. There is no credible evidence that she married Jesus. There is circumstantial evidence, but that only means someone has taken fragments of statements by sometimes dubious sources, pieced together an argument, and voilà! Fabricated evidence. Just because an argument is compelling that does not make it correct.
Since I believe the Bible is the inerrant word of God, it is my primary source. The Bible does indeed say that Mary Magdalene was troubled.
Luke 8:1-3 NIV: After this, Jesus traveled about from one town and village to another, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God. The Twelve were with him, 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.From this passage we gather two things: that Mary had been possessed but was now free of the demons and that she was among several women who supported the ministry of Jesus from their own means. She could have been wealthy or just capable of earning money. She must have had credibility or a lot of gossip would have prevented her from financially supporting them.
But what about the possession? There are several theories. One says she was actually possessed by seven demons that were cast out. That is certainly possible. Another believes the passage means she was completely (perfectly) possessed, since the number seven symbolizes perfection or completion. Either way, what is important is that Jesus cast out the demons and she was completely devoted to Him and the disciples. She turned away from her previous life and followed Jesus. Mary, the mother, did not understand who Jesus was until after the resurrection, but Mary Magdalene knew Jesus was no ordinary man. It is possible that her possession manifested itself as extreme insanity. I am sure everyone who was acquainted with her noticed the transformation after the demons were cast out.
Mary Magdalene definitely loved Jesus greatly. The so-called evidence that she married Jesus and had His children is laughable. It comes from a Gnostic "gospel" that was written so long after the resurrection that the author could not possibly have been an eyewitness. The word that suggests Jesus kissed her on the mouth was missing from the document, so it is only speculation the kiss was on the mouth. As far as a Gnostic gospel, the Gnostics believed we cannot know God. He existed but in a form we cannot understand. If that is true, Jesus could not be the Son of God because He would be unknowable. So why call these writings gospel when gospel means good news, the good news about Jesus? Good thing these so-called scholars are not lawyers, they would not be able to make a living.
But why is Mary a heroine of the Bible? Jesus gave her a great honor. She became the first to learn of the new relationship that God and man began after the resurrection. Mary was with Jesus at His trial, present when He was with Pilate, witnessed His departure from Pilate, and was there at His crucifixion. She stayed with Him the entire time He was on the cross. She attended to His burial. Mary was there the first thing in the morning on the third day when she found his tomb open and His body gone.
John 20:1 NIV: 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.While Mary was with Jesus, the disciples were scattered and hiding. Mary had no fear, only love for Jesus. When she found Him missing, she went to John and Peter. They followed her to the tomb. John set out first and outran Peter. John stopped at the tomb and Peter passed him and went inside. John followed Peter in the tomb where they found the burial clothes of Jesus folded and placed on the bench, not as they would have fallen off of Him. John then realized what had happened.
John 20:10-18 NIV: Then the disciples went back to their homes, but Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot. They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?”Jesus waited until the disciples had left and appeared to Mary. He explained to her that man was now brother and sister to Jesus and child to God. Jesus had bought us kinship. This was an incredible change in the way of the world. Jesus gave this great news to Mary Magdalene, one of His most faithful followers.
"They have taken my Lord away," she said, "and I don’t know where they have put him." At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus.
"Woman," he said, "why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?"
Thinking he was the gardener, she said, "Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him."
Jesus said to her, "Mary."
She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, "Rabboni!" (which means Teacher)
Jesus said, "Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet returned to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, 'I am returning to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.' "
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.
There are several interesting things we can learn from the writings of John. Mary Magdalene is usually listed first among women. It is obvious John had a great deal of respect for her because he followed her when she said Jesus was missing. John includes this conversation between Jesus and Mary. It is also significant that this message from Jesus was given to Mary. Only God, in those times, would entrust such an important concept to a woman. If John was a fraud and Jesus was not real, he would have never told a story with such an important concept as this using a woman. Jesus chose to make her the herald of His resurrection.
Mary Magdalene was not a prostitute. She did not marry Jesus. She had enormous faith and love for Jesus. Mighty Mary was faithful, loyal, thankful, and completely devoted to Jesus and the disciples. Mighty Mary truly repented. When Jesus was buried, she did not go back to her old life; she continued to attend to Him. We can learn a lot from this incredible woman of faith and heroine of the Bible.
These Kingdom Servants pages are written and maintained by Ken Pugh
Revised February 15, 2009