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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

Watch Session Five: Jesus Gives Hope

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 (8)

Oh so many times! We thank God because he makes the impossible possible. Even in today’s world we see miracles everyday. He has healed me by prayers and my tummy issues left. I went to confirm at the hospital. The renewed strength he gives women even after a long day of working somehow he renews our strength to carry more and handle more. When we trust him he is faithful. Amen. When my parents died and my relatives swindled us of what we had, I knew my lil sister still needed to attend university and especially at a place where I had been so she doesn’t feel disadvantaged because our parents had died. I got my first job and I remember being paid Tsh 500,000 net (USD 216) so I saved up for her airticket and we applied for her university where I had gone. I didn’t have the fees money but I had faith and if God said he was the father to the fatherless then we needed him to show himself! And he did. Once she was there I was like ok God we need the tuition fees and that’s when God showed me that he is indeed God. If you ask me how I did it then I will tell you I still don’t know but God came through. Amen!

So many healings. Abundant provision. We bought a house 2 years after our short sale of our house in CA. It was fully handicap accessible, my need, air conditioned shed in back, Jim’s need, the down payment and excellent financing from a Christian owned finance company. Screened in patio, sliding drawer pantry, bay window, doors between toilets and sink, custom paint job but needed new flooring, adequate sq ft but not to big, sweet neighbors, two had upholstery business in the past, 9 schools within a mile for us to sub in, the perfect house for us. Many other miracles of his provision.

The most significant was bringing me into His fold, that was an absolute miracle as I would not have thought that I would be saved due to not having any Christians around me. He gave me perspective and purpose and moved me from living a meaningless life to one where I began to understand Him as creator and His eternal plan.

There are so many other things that show his power, His power to heal was manifested in moving me out of my career to a career in social work where I was forced to consider past traumas I had dismissed, this has led to Him being able to bring healing in the form of both Christian therapy, which brought a firmer understanding of what it means to accept healing and through new relationships including that with my fiancée which in itself is a miracle due to our very different national, ethnic and cultural backgrounds.

I have seen God change women from having low self esteem to having a firm understanding of purpose. From abused to victorious and many other deliverances.

Like most God has done so much, to much to name. When I hear this question what comes to mind each time is how he has guided me and been with me while I raised my only daughter from age 2 alone. With only help from my mother on occasion which I am so grateful for and no financial help from anyone, I was able by God’s grace to get her through elementary school, middle school, high school, and college. She is a wonderful women of God even though it was hard and mistakes were made. This is my proof to myself if not seen by others that he is with me. I have seen him heal, mend, and save people over the years. I have heard testimonies of his work. It’s no denying his power and presence.

So many healings. Abundant provision. We bought a house 2 years after our short sale of our house in CA. It was fully handicap accessible, my need, air conditioned shed in back, Jim’s need, the down payment and excellent financing from a Christian owned finance company. Screened in patio, sliding drawer pantry, bay window, doors between toilets and sink, custom paint job but needed new flooring, adequate sq ft but not to big, sweet neighbors, two had upholstery business in the past, 9 schools within a mile for us to sub in, the perfect house for us. Many other miracles of his provision.

My testimony to what He has done in my life would take up pages. Let me just say, I have seen His power, I have seen His glory, I have felt His presence in my life.

He has helped me deal with anxiety attacks. If I start to feel anxious, I just picture Jesus taking hold of my right hand, telling me "do not fear, I will help you." It works every time.

He has worked powerfully in my older daughter’s life. He got her through self cutting, rape, being held hostage with a gun, yep suicidal gestures, and major injuries after falling off a cliff. Today, she is doing well, married with two kids. God is good!!

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