Myths Dispelled: Mary Magdalene in the Bible

Who is Mary Magdalene? There are a ton of misconceptions. Was she a prostitute who followed Jesus? While Mary Magdalene is one of the most famous women in the Bible, she is also one of the most misunderstood women in the Bible.  From darkness to deliverance, Mary from Magdala has a story to tell, and it may have some surprises along the way. 

There’s an unknown dark shadow cast mostly on her personal life in the Bible before Christ, so we don’t know much about her. She emerges in the scripture as one of the most faithful friends and followers of Jesus Christ. While there’s a lot of mystery to her personal background, there’s also a TON of mythology we need to clear up starting in medieval times. 

Where is Mary Magdalene in the Bible?

You can find Mary Magdalene’s story in all 4 canonic gospels. Her story is an amazing — not reformation — but a transformation! Here is a list of all of the scripture verses mentioning her:

  • Matthew 27:56
  • Matthew 27:61
  • Matthew 28:1
  • Luke 8:1-3
  • Luke 24:10
  • John 19:25
  • John 20:1-2
  • John 19:25
  • John 20:11-18
  • Mark 15:40
  • Mark 15:47
  • Mark 16:1-9

What did Jesus say about Mary Magdalene?

There are 3 scripture passages that tell us what Jesus said to Mary Magdalene when she discovers that Jesus is alive. After two angels announce to her in Jesus’ tomb that he has risen, she turns around and sees someone not recognizable. Here is the conversation that happened between Jesus and Mary of Magdala. Mary believes it is Jesus and is so excited she wants to hang on to him. 

John 20:15 Jesus saith unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou? She, supposing him to be the gardener, saith unto him, Sir, if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away.

John 20:16 Jesus saith unto her, Mary. She turned herself, and saith unto him, Rabboni; which is to say, Master.

John 20:17 – Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.

Who is the husband of Mary Magdalene?

There is no mention in the scriptures of Mary of Magdala having a husband. We don’t know if she was young or older, but we suspect she may have been a widow or unmarried. This is just speculation, but there is a possibility she may have had weath since she helped support Jesus’ ministry. 

What happened to Mary Magdalene in the Bible?

We don’t know how Mary Magdalene died. According to Eastern tradition, she may have accompanied John to Ephesus (near modern Turkey) where she died and was buried. 

What was Mary Magdalene’s Sin in the Bible?

As mentioned above, Mary was not a prostitute, she was filled with 7 evil spirits. Obviously, she was open to these demons due to sin, but the Bible does not specifically say what she was struggling with.

How did Mary Magdalene meet Jesus? He healed her of her ‘evil spirits and infirmities! Some of these demons could have caused diseases, illnesses, depression, or any other physical issues. 

Why was Mary Magdalene called ‘Lilith’ in the Chosen?

‘The Chosen’ is a popular Christian television series based on the life of Jesus of Nazareth, created and written by Dallas Jenkins. You can find ‘The Chosen’ on YouTube and on its own App for free. In the drama, Mary Magdalene was referred to as Lilith before she accepted Jesus as her savior. Nowhere in scripture is Mary Magdalene referred to as Lilith. This is just something the writer added to the script, maybe because the name ‘Lilith’ means demon in Hebrew. 

What was Mary Magdalene Known for?

Mary Magdalene was mostly known for being one of the early converts in Jesus’ ministry who was cured by removing 7 spirits that caused infirmities. Mary was a follower and disciple of Jesus and stood by him even at the foot of the cross. 

Mary of Magdala stayed close to the cross the entire time afterward waiting to see exactly where they put His body. Mary arrived at the tomb right after dawn to anoint His body with oils. When she arrived, she was shocked to discover Jesus’ body missing. Mary stayed behind weeping, even though the other women went to the disciples. She didn’t even recognize Jesus when he appeared — she actually thought he was the gardener and offered to take His body herself.

Then, with just one word — Jesus called her by name. Mary was so overjoyed that she never wanted to let go! She was clinging to Jesus!

Mary Magdalene in the Bible

Let’s review some true facts first about Mary:

  • There are several Marys in the Bible, in fact, 3 Marys alone are at the foot of the cross. Yes, Mary Magdalene is ONE of those three followers at all events leading to Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection
  • Mary lived in a village called Magdala on the western shore of the Sea of Galilee. 
  • In ALL four gospels Mary is mentioned, mainly about the crucifixion.
  • Mary Magdalene was the FIRST person to see Jesus after He came out of the tomb; she was a witness to the most Christologically significant moment, his resurrection.  
  •  She was one of several women with illnesses and possessed by seven demons healed by Jesus as written in Luke 8:2
  • In Luke 8:3, Mary is one of Jesus’ female followers who helped provide support for his ministry.

Now, here are some false facts we need to shed some light on and expose the lies:

  • She was called “Magdalene” based on where she lived to distinguish her from other Marys; it’s not her last name (ie Martha and Mary of Bethany). 
  • Mary of Magdala is never referred to as a harlot or prostitute, unlike Rahab
  • She is NOT the same Mary as the one who wept at Jesus’ feet and wiped oil all over them with her hair. In other words, this Bible heroine is NOT the Mary and Martha, or the sister of Martha and Lazarus. 
  • Mary Magdalene is NOT the woman caught having an affair and almost stoned to death before Jesus intervened. 
  • Mary called Magdalene never married Jesus or had children with him.  Mary Magdalene was not Jesus’ wife!

Mary Magdalene Bible Study

I would highly recommend finding a Bible Study focusing on Mary Magdalene. She was a redeemable and remarkable woman who was loyal to Jesus from the beginning of his ministry to the end of his life on earth. John MacArthur has a wonderful book about the 12 Extraordinary Women in the Bible.

Characteristics of Mary Magdalene

Are you a follower of Jesus? If you look at Mary Magdalene’s life, once Jesus cured her, she began on a journey of pure conversion. She had a servant’s heart and attitude. She served Jesus with her money, time, and devotion.

We can learn so much from Mary’s life as a disciple of Christ. She was faithful and loyal to Jesus realizing that he transformed her from dark demons to deliverance into salvation. Since she had many sins to forgive, she had much wisdom to realize that He was her savior and nothing would take her away from her Lord, Jesus Christ. What’s keeping you from clinging to Jesus?

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