Chronicled in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John
Much of Mary Magdalene’s personal history is not known. In fact, there is much speculation as to whom she was exactly. She is one of the most talked-about women of biblical history. Some say she was a prostitute. Some say she was the woman caught in adultery. Some say she was wealthy. Some say she was the “sinner” who washed Jesus’ feet with her tears, dried them with her hair, and anointed them with expensive perfume from an alabaster box. Honestly, I have studied the Scriptures and cannot definitively say if any of these things are true.
One thing I do know is that Mary Magdalene was a woman with a past. After all, the Bible is clear that seven demons had “come out of her” (Luke 8:2)—whether those were literal demonic spirits or a severe physical ailment has been debated at length. Regardless, the woman had issues. Such is life. My pastor’s wife likes to quip, “I got issues. You got issues. All God’s chi’ren got issues.” Ain’t it the truth? So, this is for sure: Mary Magdalene met Jesus in a time of struggle, bound by forces she could not control or expel.
Another thing I know about Mary is that she was forgiven and cleansed. Whether it was sickness, possession, oppression, or a lifestyle of sin, the evil that befell her was banished in an instant by a word from the Deliverer. Whatever had Mary in its clutches was sent running like a cat with its tail on fire. The power of Jesus had radically changed her life forever. Mary Magdalene was never the same again.
Mary became a devout follower of Jesus, even helping provide for disciples’ needs from her own “substance” (Luke 8:3). She stayed with Jesus throughout the rest of His ministry. She was one of the few women who traveled with Him, and no doubt suffered the contempt of Pharisees and other religious leaders of the day, who saw women as inferior. Surely Mary heard the vile rumors whispered about her and Jesus, the same rumors that people speculate to this day. But, Mary remained faithful to the one who was faithful to her.
Mary was at Jesus’ feet, along with His mother Mary and disciple John, when the Savior was crucified. She looked on in concern though the trial of Jesus. She cringed in horror as He was mocked, spat upon, and beaten unrecognizable by Roman soldiers. She watched sorrowfully as His blood spilled on the ground. She wept bitterly as His broken body was nailed to a cruel cross and hung from it. She agonized while He struggled for each breath, violently suspended between Heaven and earth. She stood by His tomb in disbelief, believing His body to be stolen, only to learn that He had victoriously risen. She was the first to see the Lord after He arose and the first to tell the disciples of Jesus’ resurrection, becoming the “apostle to the apostles.” Mary had come full circle, from the depths of despair to the height of jubilation!
So, how do we triumph in the midst of trial? Don’t let your situation dictate your devotion.