Summary: This message looks at Mary Magdalene’s biggest scene in the Bible - not as Jesus’ wife, but as the first person to meet the risen Savior.
The Da Vinci Code’s Claim: “Mary Magdalene’s most important role was being married to Jesus.”
- As we noted last week, Dan Brown claims in his book that Mary Magdalene is of monumental importance because she was married to Jesus. (We also noted that Brown claims that she had a child with Jesus and that that bloodline continues to this day in France, but that’s not our focus for this morning.)
- I want to spend most of this morning talking about how important Mary Magdalene is, only not at all in the way that Brown claims. But first, let me note again that there is no evidence in the Bible for the claim that Mary Magdalene and Jesus were married.
- Brown claims backing from the Gospel of Phillip for his historical backing for Jesus being married. There are a few problems there. First of all, the Gospel of Phillip is a Gnostic text that is widely considered by scholars to have been written at least a century after the canonical gospels. So it’s not authoritative. Second, even that debunked book does not refer to Jesus having married Mary Magdalene, but simply states that he kissed her. The word used does not even denote a romantic kiss, but denotes something more like a kiss on the cheek or forehead. Third, there are no references in the New Testament or even among the Gnostic writings to Jesus being married. Nowhere is it even hinted at. Nowhere is the idea put forward by any of the early church fathers.
- In other words, this is fiction without even the pretext of a shred of historical evidence.
- Now let’s turn to the longest passage in the Bible about Mary Magdalene - John 20:11-18. Not coincidentally, it’s also where she plays her most important role.
- It is here that we see the importance of Mary Magdalene.
The Bible’s Claim:
“Mary Magdalene’s most important role was being the first to see the resurrected Jesus.”
- v. 16.
- Mary Magdalene here receives the immeasurable honor of being the first person to see the resurrected Jesus. In v. 16, she finally recognizes Jesus for who He is - the risen Son of God right there in front of her. What an incredible moment that must have been.
- Incidentally, for those who might argue in defense of Dan Brown, “Well, of course Jesus appeared to Mary Magdalene first - she was His wife!”, there are three things worth noting here.
a. First, it seems amazingly peculiar, if Mary Magdalene was in fact married to Jesus, that she would greet Him as “Teacher!” (v. 16).
b. Second, remember that Brown claims that the whole idea that Jesus was God was created in 325 A.D. by the Council of Nicea. Brown believes that Jesus was a good teacher who’s legacy got highjacked by His followers. Brown doesn’t believe that Jesus ever was raised from the dead. (After all, He wasn’t God - that was invented later.) So therefore this whole scene - to Brown’s way of thinking - is manufactured simply because it includes a resurrected Jesus.
c. Third, Brown claims that the disciples got into a huge power struggle with Mary Magdalene after Jesus’ death over who would control the legacy of His name and teachings. Brown claims that the disciples drove Mary Magdalene to flee to France with the child that she and Jesus had had. If that were so and the disciples were so adamantly against Mary Magdalene (and further, they were inventing these resurrection stories out of whole cloth), why in the world would they have made Mary Magdalene the first person Jesus appears to in their fictional account? Why would you put the person you despise the most and want to discredit the most in a position of such great honor?
- No, here we see that Mary Magdalene’s greatest role is not as the wife of Jesus but as the first person to see the risen Lord. She is the first to physically see the nail-scarred hands and know without any doubt that “He is alive!”
- Obviously, Mary Magdalene is an example for us in her faith in Jesus as the risen Lord. But as I dug into this passage it was also interesting to me the various other ways that she is an example in what she does to miss Jesus. She allows, like we do, some things to get in the way of her knowing Jesus is right there before us.
- We want to look at Mary Magdalene in her grief and confusion. In that, she is a lot like we often are. Even with the signs all around her, she misses what’s going on at first - that Jesus is alive again.
Six Ways To Miss Jesus: