Will The Real Mary Magdalene Please Stand Up


William Holes photo “Jesus Appears to Mary Magdalene”

Mary Magdalene was the second most famous Mary in the Bible, According to tradition she was a prostitute. In addition, she was the woman who was caught in the act of adultery that the Pharisees wanted to stone. In addition, she was the sinner woman who first anointed  Jesus feet with ointment from an alabaster box.

These Traditions Are Biblically Untrue

There is no evidence in the four gospels that Mary Magdalene was a prostitute.

She was not one of the women who anointed Jesus feet with precious oils. The account noted in Luke 7:36 says that the woman was from Nain, not Magdala. Mary was from Magdala, hence Magdalene. Nain was 21 miles from Capernaum in Galilee where as Magdala was ten miles south of Capernaum.

Nor was She the woman caught in the act of adultery in John 8:3-11 where  the Pharisees wanted  Jesus to consent to stone. This incident happened near Jerusalem, not in Mary’s home town of  Magdala. Jerusalem was in Judea in southern Israel. Magdala was in Galilee in Northern Israel. In addition, because John gave detailed information about  Mary’s encounter with Jesus, he knew her personally. If the woman caught in the act of adultery had been Mary Magdalene, I think that he would have called her by name, not just mentioned her as an anonymous woman.

There is no ancient evidence that Jesus and Mary Magdalene were ever married as claimed in the novel by Dan Brown.

The Real Mary Magdalene

  • She was delivered from seven demons.Luke 8:20, and Mark 16:9
  • She was among the women who followed Jesus Luke 8:20.
  • She was named as one of the women who stood at the foot of the cross during Jesus’ crucifixion. Mathew 27:55-56, Mark 15:40, Luke 8:20,John 19:25
  • She witnessed Jesus’ body put in the tomb of Joseph of Arimathaea. Matthew 27:61, Mark 15:47
  • She was at the tomb with other women on the day when angel told them that Jesus rose from the dead and the angel told them to tell the disciples that Jesus was alive. She was the first person to see Jesus alive. Matthew 28:1-7, Mark 28:1-11, Luke 24:1-11, John 20:1-18
  • She was probably in the upper room among the 120 at Pentecost. Acts 2.

Personal Take Away

I think it is interesting that women are included among the individuals in the upper room, but previously when Jesus fed the 5 thousand and then the 4 thousand, the only people who were counted were the men. It appears that the resurrection spiritually freed women from the curse placed on them when Eve sinned.

Mary Magdalene was a devote follower of Christ. Even after he died, she was willing to go the extra mile for him by helping care for his dead body.. Perhaps, I should make fewer excuses and learn to go the extra mile for my God and Creator.

2014-04-07 07.07.08

Cygnet Brown has recently published her first nonfiction book: Simply Vegetable Gardening: Simple Organic Gardening Tips for the Beginning Gardener

She is also the author of historical fiction series The Locket Saga. Her upcoming book A Coward’s Solace will be available soon. Click here for more information about Cygnet Brown and her books.

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