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Who was Mary Magdalene?

...and also some women who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities: Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out.

Luke 8:3

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The name Mary is a derivative of Miriam. Miriam, the sister of Moses, is a central character in Hebrew literature and one that many Jewish mothers would have been proud to name their daughters. So proud, in fact, it is estimated that of the Jewish women living in Palestine during the first century, twenty-five percent were named Mary.

When Luke identifies her in 8:2 as “from whom seven demons had gone out,” he is setting her apart and confirming which Mary he is speaking of, in much the same way that we often give identifying labels to friends who share the same name.

When we come across Mary Magdalene in Luke 8, we have just left the scene where a woman knelt and anointed Jesus’s feet with perfume and tears. Jesus says to the woman at his feet, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace” (Luke 7:50). The very next woman mentioned is our Mary Magdalene. The woman who anointed Jesus’s feet with oil and Magdalene were witnesses to the importance of Jesus’s death. It is a contrast to the men’s inability to hear the predictions of the coming crucifixion.

Can we blame people for mixing the two into one person? Of course not, but neither is it fair to either woman to merge their stories. Each of the two stands alone in her relationship to Christ, his forgiveness, his healing, and the call she was given. The first woman is unnamed while Mary Magdalene is clearly identified and given access to a rabbi, something unheard of during that time.

where magdalene's story begins

Mary of Magdalene was the first of three women who represented a group that followed closely with Christ. Out of their own pockets these women took care of the material needs of Jesus and the twelve disciples who had been called to leave their jobs and follow him. Jesus could have chosen any number of ways to provide for these men, but as he often did, he chose the unordinary and welcomed women into his inner circle.

Magdalene didn’t simply show up one day and begin this journey. The identifying tag line the Gospels consistently give her is the only peek we get into the before. We aren’t told where it happened or how, though Jesus found himself often near her hometown of Magdala, healing men, women, and children of demon possession.

Not once is Magdalene described as a sinner. Rather, she is identified as one who was healed. Still, her past isn’t the story. God’s intervention in her life is the focus. It was a testament to who Jesus was, the Messiah who came to restore life. Her tagline, “from whom seven demons had gone out,” stood as a testimony to the evidence of Jesus’s authority and power over the demonic world. From this moment on, Magdalene would be present and give witness to that power.


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What the Women Saw

Daily Question

Has Jesus ever done anything in your life that has been a testament of his power? How have you also seen him work in the lives of those around you?

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Comments (10)

He has done so many things that are a testament of His true power and grace, even when at times I do not feel worthy. I have seen Jesus work in my daughter’s life as well recently. Praise our Lord!

I have known God’s power by being healed from epilepsy, self-centeredness, anger, and I have been given the grace to forgive. My son has been healed of alcoholism, low self-worth and anger. My daughter has been given a new lease on life being healed of depression. My brother-in-law was given 6 months to live due to liver cancer and cirosis of the liver. That was 2 years ago; he’s still here. Where I couldn’t help myself or my children or my family & friends, He intervened and did it for me. These are only a few examples. I am amazed by God everyday. Everyday is a day filled with the power of God. All we have to do is recognize it.

Yes! When I was born I only weighted one pound and 4 ounces
My mother was only 6 months into her pregnancy
The doctors told my parents dont expect her to make it
But here I am 40 years later!!!
No body but God

Jesus has done so many things to show his power in my life! He healed me of mental, physical, spiritual oppressions that the enemy tried to use to destroy me. I literally am only alive and well because of the redemptive love and power of Jesus that saved me!

Yes, he has Brought me through situations that I’ve never thought I would be able to get through as far as challenges in school, challenges in relationships and in health. I have seen him do extraordinary work in my family’s lives as well , as they battled/survived deadly illnesses and overcame poverty. What an amazing God!

God has transformed me into a more loving person. I’ve seen God change the heart of many people. He has also healed many people I know miraculously. God’s power is unlimited.

Yes! Jesus has done many things as a testament to His power and His love for me. He has protected me. He has guided me. He has provided for me. He has loved me and changes me. His power in His gentle love has saved me.
I see how Jesus has shown mercy and love to my husband. He has saved and healed our marriage, and continue yes to be with us in our marriage. He has worked in my daughter’s heart through her unborn child. He has delivered her from sin. I’m So grateful.

I see Him work miracles all around me; hearing/watching stories of people’s true blessing of Jesus. He has worked His power for all His people which motivates me to get to know Him more & more!

I hope there is more research done about the two times Jesus was anointed by a woman. In Matthew, Mark and John the woman is clearly Mary of Bethany. And in Luke it was an unnamed woman (implicitly a prostitute) but there is no reason to identify her, a sinful woman, with Mary Magdalene.

In fact, it’s the mix up of identity that Mary Magdalene had somehow become a prostitute.

Yes, I have seen God protect me from possible dangers. He has restored my emotional health after a long abusive past. JESUS shows me who I am in Him. He gives me confidence for each new day. He gives me new friends and makes me courageous to reach out and meet new people. God is my strength and my shield thru every storm or victory in life.

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