MARY MAGDALENE (The Real Truth) Article 1- August, 2012 by: Fay Bouknight There is a beautiful story to be told about Jesus and Mary Magdalene. She had a love for Christ that seemingly could not compare to many others. She was a faithful follower, and Jesus entrusted her to carry His word. She is one of the most discussed women of the Bible. I have heard of her ever since I was a small girl. However, most of the things I heard over the years, I have since learned to be untrue, while studying the Bible for myself. The name “Mary” is a Greek form of the Hebrew name, “Miriam”. There are too many meanings of her name to describe. Mary was a very popular name when Jesus walked this earth. It seems He would always distinguish Mary Magdalene from the other Mary’s by stating her full name. The Bible does not give much history on Mary Magdalene and her private life. It has been said she was from a town called Magdala, (near a shore on the Sea of Galilee) and this is probably where she got her last name. However, the Bible does not specifically state this. The town of Magdala was a thriving center of fishing and had a manufacturing center for fine wool and dyes during the time of Mary Magdalene. We do not know if Mary Magdalene was a woman of means, but we do know that she helped with the needs of Jesus' ministry. This article relates a prime example of how scriptures and words may be taken out of context to distort the truth. It has been my experience that some ministers and teachers and others repeat what they have heard without ever studying the word for themselves. This is a huge mistake. We must absolutely rightly divide His word so we will not be embarrassed and that we may know what we are talking about. The Bible can be like a puzzle, every piece must fit into its proper place. “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15). I chose Mary Magdalene to write about due to the fact that this article portrays the truth about a wonderful Christian lady who had and has many untruths told about her life. The following are some statements that were made about her over a period of hundreds and hundreds of years: (1) She was a prostitute, and she was the one who was caught in adultery; (2) She was the sinner who washed Jesus’ feet; (3) She was the woman in Bethany who anointed Jesus for burial; (4) She was the sister of Martha and Lazarus; (5) She was one of the 12 disciples; (6) She had 7 devils cast out of her by Jesus; (8) She was at His crucifixion; and (8) She was the first to see Jesus after His resurrection. There are other things said about Mary Magdalene and Jesus that do not deserve notice or comment which are lies from the pits of hell. However, let’s see if these listed are fact or fiction. Fact or Fiction 1. Was Mary Magdalene a prostitute and/or an adulteress?“Jesus went unto the Mount of Olives. And early in the morning he came again into the temple, and all the people came unto him; and he sat down, and taught them. And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst, They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses in the law commanded us what sayest thou? This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not. So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her. And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground. And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? Hath no man condemned thee? She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more” (John 8:1-11). It is important to note that Jesus did not call this person Mary Magdalene, but he called her “woman”. Remember Jesus most always referred to Mary Magdalene in the Bible by stating her full name. It is also important to understand that Jesus never referred to this woman as a prostitute. A prostitute is someone who sells their body for money or some type of payment. The Bible only states she was caught in adultery. These events would not support a fact that this was Mary Magdalene. 2. Was Mary Magdalene the sinner, from the city of the house of Simon the Pharisee, who anointed Jesus’ feet? “And one of the Pharisees desired him that he would eat with him. And he went into the Pharisees house, and sat down to meat. And, behold, a woman in the city, which was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at meat in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster box of ointment. And stood at his feet behind him weeping, and began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment. When the Pharisee which had bidden him saw it he spake within himself, saying, This man, if he were a prophet, would have known who and what manner of woman this is that touched him: for she is a sinner. And Jesus answering said unto him, Simon, I have somewhat to say unto thee, And he saith, Master, say on. There was a certain creditor which had two debtors: the one owed five hundred pence, and the other fifty. And when they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both. Tell me therefore, which of them will love him most? Simon answered and said, I suppose that he, to whom he forgave most. And he said unto him, Thou hast rightly judged. And he turned to the woman, and said unto Simon, Seest thou this woman? I entered into thine house, thou gavest me no water for my feet: but she hath been washing my feet with tears, and wiped them with the hairs of her head. Thou gavest me no kiss: but this woman since the time I came in hath not ceased to kiss my feet. My head with oil thou didst not anoint: but this woman hath anointed my feet with ointment. Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven: for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little. And he said unto her, Thy sins are forgiven. And they that sat at meat with him began to say within themselves, Who is that that forgiveth sins also? And he said to the woman, Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace" (Luke 7:36-50). This obviously was a different woman from the woman caught in adultery and Mary Magdalene. Jesus called this woman a sinner and said her sins were forgiven, however, He called the other woman an adulterer. This woman who was a sinner was evidently already broken-hearted and had a repentant heart when she arrived at this house. This woman was also distinguished from the others by the fact that Jesus told her that her faith had saved her. Keep in mind this happened at Simon the Pharisee’s house. These events would not support a fact that this sinner woman was Mary Magdalene. 3. Was Mary Magdalene the woman who anointed Jesus’ feet at the home of Simon the leper? “After two days was the feast of the Passover, and of unleavened bread: and the chief priests and the scribes sought how they might take him by craft, and put him to death. But they said, Not on the feast day, lest there be an uproar of the people. And being in Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as he sat at meat, there came a woman having an alabaster box of ointment of spikenard very precious; and she brake the box, and poured it on his head. And there were some that had indignation within themselves, and said, Why was this waste of the ointment made? For it might have been sold for more than three hundred pence, and have been given to the poor. And they murmured against her. And Jesus said, Let her alone; why trouble ye her? She hath wrought a good work on me. For ye have the poor with you always, and whensoever ye will ye may do them good: but me ye have not always. She hath done what she could: she is come aforehand to anoint my body to the burying. Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached throughout the whole world, this also that she hath done shall be spoken of for a memorial of her. (Mary 14:1-9). It is important to notice that the above scriptures do not indicate that this woman was a sinner, nor a prostitute. It is also important to note this event happened in the house of Simon the leper in Bethany and is a different event from the sinner woman who anointed Jesus’ feet in the house of Simon the Pharisee in the city. Who is this woman that Jesus said would be remembered as a tribute for what she had done? “Now a certain man was sick, named Lazarus, of Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha. (It was that Mary which anointed the Lord with ointment, and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick.) Therefore his sisters sent unto him, saying, Lord, behold, he whom thou lovest is sick (John 11:1-3). I find it interesting that Jesus pointed out which Mary this was. He wanted to give tribute where tribute was due, because remember there were many other Mary’s in the Bible. Jesus always gives us exactly what He wants us to know. He has a reason for everything. His word is amazing and is truth. We have learned in these scriptures that here is a different event from all the others thus far. We know that this is Mary, the sister of Martha and Lazarus and not Mary Magdalene, nor is she the sinner woman in the house of the Pharisee, because she was a sinner woman who was broken hearted and her faith made her whole. Neither of these women are Mary Magdalene. These events and specifically the scriptures would not support a fact that this Mary was Mary Magdalene. 4. Was Mary Magdalene the sister of Martha and Lazarus? We know from the above scriptures that Mary of Bethany was the sister of Martha and Lazarus and not Mary Magdalene. 5. Was Mary Magdalene one of the 12 disciples? (See Matthew 10:2 which lists the 12.) She was not one of the 12 disciples, however, she was a devout follower of Christ. 6. Did Jesus cast 7 devils out of Mary Magdalene? “And it came to pass afterward, that he went throughout every city and village, preaching and shewing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God: and the twelve were with him, And certain women, which had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities, Mary called Magdalene, out of whom went seven devils, and Joanna the wife of Chuza Herod’s steward, and Susanna, and many others which ministered unto him of their substance (Luke 8:1-3). From these scriptures we can factually state that indeed Jesus cast 7 devils out of Mary Magdalene. The Bible does not give the specific events as to when or where Mary Magdalene was when He cast out these devils. The 7 devils had already been cast out in the above scriptures. She was his follower at this time and scripture indicates she also gave of her means to his ministry. 7. Was Mary present at Jesus’ crucifixion? “Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene (John 19:25). Indeed she was there when Christ was crucified. 8. Was Mary Magdalene the first to see Jesus after He was resurrected? “Now when Jesus was risen early the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had cast seven devils. And she went and told them that had been with him, as they mourned and wept. And they when they had heard that he was alive, and had been seen of her, believed not (Mark 16:9). “Then the disciples went away again unto their own home. But Mary stood without at the sepulcher weeping: and as she wept, she stooped down, and looked into the sepulcher, And seeth two angels in white sitting, the one at the head, and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain. And they say unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? She saith unto them, Because they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him. And when she had thus said, she turned herself back, and saw Jesus standing, and knew not that it was Jesus. 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. Jesus saith unto her, Mary. She turned herself, and saith unto him Rabboni; which is to say, Master. 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. Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord, and that he had spoken these things unto her” (John 20:10-18). You will notice in the above scriptures Jesus did call Mary Magdalene Woman and by her first name (Mary). However, her full name is mentioned in the connecting scriptures in verse 18. These scriptures do support the facts that Mary Magdalene was present when Jesus was crucified and that she was the first to see him after He was resurrected. When I get to heaven, this is one lady I would like to commune with. Can you imagine the things she could tell each of us about the Master? What an honor to be the very first person to see Jesus after His resurrection. Not only did He choose Mary Magdalene as the very first person to see Him after His resurrection, but He also chose a woman. He chose a very special lady, one that He knew loved him as her Redeemer. He also chose her to carry His very first message after His resurrection to His disciples. We should stop and dwell on this for a bit. This is good. Can you imagine the greatness of this? The words spoken came straight from the Word, Himself, and she carried them and told them as he said to do. Wow! Finally, the Bible does not specifically state what Mary Magdalene’s sins were, but with having 7 devils cast out of her, there most likely were many. Was she a prostitute? Was she an adulteress? Was she this and was she that? Who knows for sure? Evidently, God did not believe it important for us to know what her sins involved. However, from this study we can safely say, the Bible never states she was a prostitute or an adulteress. Let’s not make things up or repeat something someone else says unless we know for sure it is what the Bible says. We must understand that it is impossible to mingle lie with truth. If you try this, it all becomes a lie. “I have not written unto you because ye know not the truth, but because ye know it, and that no lie is of the truth” (1 John 2:21). “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth” (John 17:17).
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