She came from a small village on the shore of the Sea of Galilee called Magdala. The town was a thriving community which made beautifully colored dyes and even more resplendent textiles. Because of its location, it was the perfect place for exporting their wares.
Mary left her life in that town to follow Jesus. We know little about her, but the world has twisted her story – her profession – her relationship with Jesus, so much that the real story is often hidden in the quietness of her existence as a disciple of Christ. She probably was a woman of means.
She undoubtedly witnessed many of the miracles of Jesus. She must’ve heard His sermon on the mount – His parables – His talk of death and forgiveness of sins – His promise of eternal life. Like the others, she left her world behind, gave it all up and followed Him.
The Gospels are unclear if Mary Magdalene was the woman who washed Jesus’ feet with her tears and dried them with her hair and then anointed them with expensive oil. It could have been her, but she isn’t named. We do know that this Mary was indeed repentant of her past sins and extremely grateful for Jesus’ forgiveness and healing her from something that was deeply troubling to her.
We also know that she didn’t run away when Jesus was arrested. She followed the blood spattered trail of the Via dolorosa and watched, with tears welling in her eyes, as He was brutally beaten, spat upon and abused verbally. His already tortured body sank under the weight of the cross. If only she could carry it for Him as He had taken her burden from her shoulders.
She loved Jesus, but not in the way the world has described her relationship with Him. Jesus was her Savior and her thoughts of Him were only gratitude and adoration. She stood below the cross with Jesus’ mother, Mary, comforting her as her Son hung from that cursed tree. She listened as Jesus said the words to his mother, “Woman this is your son.” Then to John he said, “This is your mother.” Even in these final hours of his life His concern was not for Himself. He wanted to be sure that His mother would be cared for.
Mary Magdalene stayed with Mary after Jesus died. She was the first to see the empty tomb. She hastened to tell the others that Jesus was gone. She feared that His body had been stolen by the Roman soldiers. Imagine her excitement when she saw Jesus again in a newly restored body. He was alive as He said He would be.
In the following years, she went right along with the other disciples, preaching the good news of Christ’s resurrection, His dominion over death and the bounty of eternal life, which belongs to all of us if we simply believe and follow Christ. Mary followed Him with a repentant heart full of gratitude for what He’d done for her.
Are you readty to follow?