Summary: Mary Magdalene (PowerPoint slides to accompany this talk are available on request - email:

  Study Tools
  Study Tools

Reading: Luke chapter 8 verses 1-3.

• Mary Magdalene;

• Has the unique distinction of being the first person to see Christ after His resurrection.

• Not only that, she received a special commission from Jesus;

• Making her the first human to spread the Good News of the resurrection!

• Jesus sent her back to the disciples with this news (John 20:11–18).

• Now remember at this point in Jewish culture and history;

• Women could not be witnesses in legal proceedings;

• So the choice of Mary by Jesus as a witness is interesting and worth noting!

(1). Her name.

Mary Magdalene's name identifies her as "of Mandela":

• Ill: Just as Jesus was called “The Nazarene” because of his association with Nazareth;

• Ill: So Mary was named Magdalene because of his association with Mandela;

• Mandela, means ‘tower’ or ‘castle’;

• It was a thriving town about three miles from Capernaum,

• This name distinguishes her from the other Marys referred to throughout the N.T.

• And this distinction is important.


• In the 6th Century, Pope Gregory the Great preached a sermon;

• In that sermon he made an assumption, which became an official hypothesis.

• That Mary of Bethany, Lazarus’ and Martha’s sister,

• And the sinful woman who anointed Jesus’ feet with ointment;

• And wiped his feet with her hair.

• Pope Gregory the Great obviously wasn’t a Bible student or was badly advised;

• Because he said, these three characters were actually the same person.

• This has led onto another wrong misunderstanding;

• That is that Mary Magdalene had been a prostitute or an adulterous.

• Before she met Jesus!

• For some Mary is probably most well-known for false details & unproven facts in her life

This misunderstanding regarding her character has been seen in a variety of ways:


• Many of the great artistic portraits of Mary picture her as a loose woman;

• Often her hair is down (culturally unacceptable) and she is scantily dressed.


• For a 150 years in Ireland different orders of the Roman Catholic Church;

• Ran ‘Magdalene Asylums’, these were institutions for so-called "fallen" women.

• Women who fell pregnant outside of marriage.

• Had their children removed and they were placed in these asylums.

• It has been estimated that 30,000 women were admitted during their 150-year history.

• In fact the last ‘Magdalene Asylum’ in Ireland closed on as recent as 1996!

Question: Why such a bad reputation?


• As well as Pope Gregory the Great theologically wrong sermon

• Ill: The town of Mandela had an unsavoury reputation for prostitution;

• May be the idea of Mary being linked to prostitution comes from this.

• Ill: Reputation can go before a person e.g. Jesus ‘Can anything good come from Nazareth?’

• Note: Mary Magdalene is mentioned in each of the 4 gospels & also the book of Acts,

• Not once does it even hint or mention that she was a prostitute or an adulterous.

In fact the very opposite - the Gospel’s shows us that Mary Magdalene:

• Was a woman of great devotion to Jesus;

• And she expressed that devotion in very practical ways.

• She was one of the women who, when Jesus was in Galilee,

• Followed Him & ministered to Him & supported him in his ministry.

• She accompanied Him & His disciples when He went to Jerusalem just prior to His death.

• She was present at the Crucifixion.

• She came to the tomb to anoint Jesus,

• And as I mentioned earlier she was the one who reported the fact that the tomb was empty.

• Many believe that Jesus’ personal appearance to Mary Magdalene after His resurrection;

• Was a special reward for the unfailing loyalty that she devoted to Him.

(2). Her family.

• We have no record of her parentage;

• We have no record of marital status.

• We might say she was single, unattached, the old fashioned word is ‘spinster’.

• Ill: Ivor Powell: ‘Unclaimed treasure’

• We have no record of any other family members,

• We also have no record of her age.

• Without any home or family ties she was free to follow Jesus;

• And this she did.

(3). Her bondage and liberation.

• To be able to support Jesus financially;

• Mary must have been a woman of high standing and comfortable circumstances.

• She might have had money but she did not have peace of mind;

• Luke tells us here that Jesus had cast seven demons out of her.

• We can only imagine the horror of a human mind and body;

• Being tormented by the presence of seven foul spirits.

Download Sermon With PRO View On One Page With PRO
Browse All Media

Related Media

Talk about it...

Nobody has commented yet. Be the first!

Join the discussion