The story of Mary Magdalene is mentioned in all four of the New Testament gospels. This fact alone makes Mary Magdalene quite extraordinary.
Watching the series, The Chosen, as part of a special program for my church, I was captivated by the story of Mary Magdalene.
In the first episode, you are brought into the story of Mary Magdalene and a vivid interpretation of who she was.
Seeing Mary Magdalene come to life through television solidified her real existence on earth and not just a character mentioned in the Bible.
The show made me wonder who was Mary Magdalene. Why is she mentioned in all four gospels when women were not particularly esteemed in Bible times? What was her relationship with Jesus? What can we learn from her?
The characters mentioned throughout the Bible teach us important lessons and humanize God’s words. But the story of Mary Magdalene is especially interesting because of her past struggles, her role as a disciple of Jesus, and her presence at the end of His life.
Let’s take a look at the fascinating story of Mary Magdalene and learn who she was, what was her relationship with Jesus and what we can take away from her story.
Mary Magdalene’s Story in the Bible
In the story of Mary Magdalene, it is believed she lived in a small fishing town near the shore of the sea of Galilee.
In the Bible, it is recorded that she was possessed by seven demons when she met Jesus as He began His ministry. This encounter led Mary Magdalene to become an early follower of Jesus who traveled with Him and the other disciples.
Mary Magdalene’s devotion to Christ began when He cleansed her of the controlling demons, and her faithfulness endured throughout Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection.
The seven demons or ailments are unknown, but we do know that her life was radically changed and saved after her encounter with Jesus and subsequent healing. Instead of being controlled and frightened, Mary Magdalene becomes bold and confident.
Boldness and confidence are what a life following Christ brings to everyone, your new identity frees you and changes your perspective.
In the story of Mary Magdalene, she is known for financing the ministry of Jesus along with several other women. It is not clear whether she was wealthy or what resources she had to support the work of early Christianity.
Mary Magdalene was present at the crucifixion of Jesus, His burial, and was the first person to see Jesus after His resurrection. Christ also instructed her to share the news that He was alive!
Mary Magdalene and Jesus
In the story of Mary Magdalene, she and Jesus had a special connection. I wish we could enter into the story of this true friendship that endured great redemption, healing, love, and loss.
In scripture, it is recorded that Jesus was respectful and honored the women He encountered in His ministry. Early Christianity was full of women accepting and proclaiming the love of Jesus.
Imagine how amazing it would be to walk beside Jesus and help Him fulfill the greatest calling so that we may live abundantly on the earth and in eternity.
In the story of Mary Magdalene, this is the best part…One encounter with the Savior was so powerful it captivates, redirects, and propels her to new life.
We have the same opportunity today. Accepting the love of God launches you into a new life.
Bible Verses about Mary Magdalene
The story of Mary Magdalene is mentioned in all four gospels. Here is a timeline of her story with highlights from each gospel.
Mary Magdalene Was Part of Jesus’ Ministry
“Soon afterward Jesus began a tour of the nearby towns and villages, preaching and announcing the Good News about the Kingdom of God. He took his twelve disciples with him, along with some women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases. Among them were Mary Magdalene, from whom he had cast out seven demons; …and many others who were contributing from their resources to support Jesus and his disciples.”
Luke 8:1-3 NLT
Mary Magdalene is Present When Jesus is Crucified
“And many women who had come from Galilee with Jesus to care for him were watching from a distance. Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary (the mother of James and Joseph), and the mother of James and John, the sons of Zebedee.”
Matthew 27:55-56 NLT
“Standing near the cross were Jesus’ mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary (the wife of Clopas), and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother standing there beside the disciple he loved, he said to her, “Dear woman, here is your son.”
John 19:24-26 NLT
Mary Magdalene Witnesses Jesus’ Death and Burial
“When the Roman officer who stood facing him saw how he had died, he exclaimed, “This man truly was the Son of God!” Some women were there, watching from a distance, including Mary Magdalene, Mary (the mother of James the younger and of Joseph), and Salome. They had been followers of Jesus and had cared for him while he was in Galilee.”
Mark 15:39-41 NLT
“Joseph bought a long sheet of linen cloth. Then he took Jesus’ body down from the cross, wrapped it in the cloth, and laid it in a tomb that had been carved out of the rock. Then he rolled a stone in front of the entrance. Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joseph saw where Jesus’ body was laid.”
Mark 15:46-47 NLT
Mary Magdalene Prepares to Visit Jesus in His Tomb
“Saturday evening, when the Sabbath ended, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome went out and purchased burial spices so they could anoint Jesus’ body. Very early on Sunday morning, just at sunrise, they went to the tomb. On the way, they were asking each other, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?”
Mark 16:1-3 NLT
Mary Magdalene Sees Jesus’ Empty Tomb
“Early on Sunday morning, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and found that the stone had been rolled away from the entrance. She ran and found Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved. She said, “They have taken the Lord’s body out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!”
John 20:1-3 NLT
Mary Magdalene Encounters Two Angels at Jesus’ Tomb
“Mary was standing outside the tomb crying, and as she wept, she stooped and looked in. She saw two white-robed angels, one sitting at the head and the other at the foot of the place where the body of Jesus had been lying.”
John 20:10-12 NLT
Mary Magdalene Sees Jesus After His Resurrection
Mary Magdalene turned to leave and saw someone standing there. It was Jesus, but she didn’t recognize him. “Dear woman, why are you crying?” Jesus asked her. “Who are you looking for?” She thought he was the gardener. “Sir,” she said, “if you have taken him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will go and get him.” “Mary!” Jesus said.
John 20:14-16 NLT
Mary Magdalene Spreads the News of Jesus’ Resurrection to the Other Disciples
“Don’t cling to me,” Jesus said, “for I haven’t yet ascended to the Father. But go find my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God. Mary Magdalene found the disciples and told them, “I have seen the Lord!” Then she gave them his message.
John 20:17-19 NLT
What was Mary Magdalene Known For?
In the story of Mary Magdalene, her life is popularized for being the woman Jesus released from the grip of demonic spirits.
As incredible as this miracle is, Mary Magdalene was more than a fallen woman who encountered Jesus and was completely freed.
In the story of Mary Magdalene, you learn her entire life was completely transformed by Christ and she continued to make a difference in others’ lives after encountering God in human form.
This is the same opportunity available to you!
The Story of Mary Magdalene: 4 Lessons
Your future is not dictated by your past.
Regardless of where you have been or what you have done, God can save and use you. Your identity is “a loved child of God”, not your circumstances or mistakes.
Be passionate about supporting the work of Christ.
In the story of Mary Magdalene, she was so inspired by her healing and encounter with Jesus that her whole life became dedicated to supporting His work and spreading the gospel. We are each given limited resources and must decide where we will invest them. Investing in the work of the kingdom is the best return on investment you will make.
Be devoted to your faith in the good times and the bad times
Following Jesus does not mean your fear, discouragement, disappointment, and pain disappears. Part of living is encountering and overcoming difficulty, but you get to choose whether you face problems surrendered with God by your side or alone.
Reconnect with Jesus all of the time and reflect the love of God
“For we fix our attention, not on things that are seen, but on unseen things. What can be seen lasts only for a time, but what cannot be seen lasts forever.”
2 Corinthians 4:18 GNT
I hope the story of Mary Magdalene has inspired you. Please leave a comment with your thoughts!
Mary Rooney Armand
Mary is the creator and writer for the faith-based blog ButterflyLiving.org. Her writing has been featured on multiple Christian websites and she is the author of the book, “Identity, Understanding, and Accepting Who I am in Christ” available on Amazon