Women of the Gospel: friends and disciples
Sponsored by the Legion of Mary
Opening Prayer: Exodus 15:1-18 – The Song of Miriam
Topic: Mary: Which Mary are we talking about?
Introduction: The name of “Mary” appears 54 times in the New Testament
There is Mary the Mother of Jesus (Matthew 1:18)
1. Mary Magdalene (Luke 8:2)
2. Mary, the mother of James and Jose (Mark 15:40)
3. Mary “the wife of Clopas” (John 19:25)
4. Mary of Bethany (John 11:1)
5. Mary the mother Mark (Acts 12:2)
6. Mary of Rome (Romans 16:6)
Mary was a popular name in the New Testament times (Greek “Maria”, Hebrew “Mariam”.
Miriam in the Old Testament is the sister of Aaron and Moses.
She was considered a Prophetess and sung the Song of Miriam at the crossing of the Red Sea(Exodus 15: 1-18).
This is one of the reasons why the name Miriam in the New Testament was so popular.
Tonight we will concentrate on Mary Magdalene.
Was Mary Magdalene Christ’s secret lover?
Did she erotically wash His feet with her hair?
Did she eventually become Jesus wife and bear His Child?
Was she a former prostitute?
Who is Mary Magdalene?
As Christians we look to the Tradition and Scriptures of the Church to reveal who she is.
Mary Magdalene is mentioned a total of 12 times in the New Testament- the oldest historical record mentioning her name.
All 12 occurrences appear in the gospel accounts, wherein we learn the following.
a. Jesus cast seven demons out of her (Luke 8:2; Mark 16:9)
The notion of Mary Magdalene being a former prostitute, apparently made popular as early as the sixth century simply is unfounded.
Luke did record an occasion during Jesus’ ministry when a women “who was a sinner” (Luke 7: 37) and of “poor reputation” among the Pharisees (Luke 7: 39) washed Jesus’ feet with her tears and hair, and anointed them with oil (Luke: 36-50: John12: 1-11).
And, Luke did place this event in his gospel account just two verses before he introduces Mary Magdalene, “out of whom had come seven demons” (Luke 8:2).
But Luke never specifically stated that the woman of disrepute was a prostitute, or that her name was Mary Magdalene.
Other than the juxtaposition of the “sinner” at the close of Luke 7 and Mary at the commencement of Luke 8, no connection between the two women exist.
What’s more, if one argues that the proximity of the two women is what likes them together, one wonders why “Joanna the wife of Chuza, Herod’s steward, and Susanna and many other” (Luke 8:3) could not also be considered candidates, since they are mentioned along with Mary Magdalene.
b. She was one of many who provided for Jesus out of her own means (Luke 8:1-3).
Scripture never hints that Mary Magdalene and Jesus were married or romantically involved in any way.
Did Jesus exercise His power over demons by casting seven of them from her?
Yes (Luke 8:2; Mark 16; 9).
Did she (along with many others) financially support Jesus’ ministry?
Yes (Luke 8: 2-3).
Did she cling to Him momentarily following His Resurrection?
Yes (John 20: 17).
Was she a dedicated follower of Christ?
From all we gather in the New Testament, we must assure that she was.
Still, nothing in the Bible suggests that she was Jesus’ wife or secret love.
c. She witnessed the crucifixion of Christ (Matthew 27: 56; Mark 15:40; John 19:25)
d. She was present at His burial (Matthew 27: 61; Mark 15: 47).
e. She arrived at Jesus’ tomb on the Sunday following His crucifixion to find His body missing (Matthew 28: 1-8; Mark 16: 1-8; Luke 24: 1-7; John 20:1)
f. She saw the risen Lord, spoke with Him, and later reported the encounter to the apostles (Matthew 28: 9-10; Mark 16: 9-11; John 20: 11-18).