Mary Magdalene is, perhaps, one of the most well-known biblical figures. As a close follower of Christ, Mary Magdalene’s story is one all of us can relate to in some regard. Perhaps her recognition can be attributed to her relatability—as someone who found themselves deep in the life of sin yet found hope and salvation after encountering Jesus Christ. After leading a life filled with sin, Mary comes in contact with Christ and is forever changed. Keep reading to learn more about this beloved saint and her lasting legacy.
While no specific information is known about Mary before her time with Christ, it’s been speculated by many historians that she was from the town of Magdala—a patronage clearly evidenced in her last name, Magdalene. Magdala was a small village near the Sea of Galilee, known for its fish markets. Her first name, Mary, was a common Jewish name at the time. Because of this commonality, there are many figures in the Bible with the first name Mary, including the Virgin Mary, Mother of God. For this reason, Mary Magdalene is always referred to by her first and last name.
Appearing in the Gospels of Mark, Matthew, and Luke, Mary Magdalene is first introduced as someone “from whom seven demons had gone out.” In other words, Mary Magdalene was someone fully corrupted by the powers of temptation and sin.
“Soon afterwards he went on through cities and villages, proclaiming and bringing the good news of the kingdom of God. The twelve were with him, as well as some women who had been cured of evil spirits and infirmities: Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, and Joanna, the wife of Herod’s steward Chuza, and Susanna, and many others, who provided for them out of their resources.”
— Luke 8:1–3
However, what happened after her exorcisms is what we know and recognize today. As it states in the scripture passage above, Mary (along with other women with similar backgrounds) turned away from their former lives and walked with Christ along His missionary journey. Another interesting takeaway from this passage is that it mentions the charitable works of Mary Magdalene. As the passage concludes, “who provided for them out of their resources” it’s implied that Mary Magdalene was a woman from a wealthy family, someone who was able to provide for Christ and His followers as they traveled.
Most of us are familiar with the story of Mary’s life after meeting Jesus. She was there with Him throughout His ministry. She was there with Him when He died. And she was there when He resurrected from the dead. From the moment she encountered Christ, Mary Magdalene refused to leave His side, she abandoned her dependence on sin and offered up her material possessions in an effort to help Christ spread the word of God.
While Saint Mary Magdalene may have lived thousands of years ago, her life is still one we can all learn from. Her trust and reliance in Christ is an example to us all of how God can soften hardened hearts and give hope to those deep in sin or doubt. During the Easter season and beyond let us all remember that we are called to follow Christ just as Mary Magdalene did. Do not be ashamed of your previous mistakes or behaviors. Instead, forge a new path and follow Christ in everything you do.
Post written by Katie Karpinski