Jesus had twelve whom He called Apostles, but there were many disciples. Some of them were women – unusual for women of the time – unusual for men to have a following of women. They could be considered the first groupies. They adored Him in a way far beyond human admiration. His words were new to them. He spoke of a better place – a perfect place where they would go after death. In Luke’s account of Jesus’ ministry, we’re told that Mary had been exorcised of seven demons. No wonder Jesus was so important to her. He changed her life.
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. Mary left her past life to follow Jesus. We know little about her, but the world has twisted her story. Her past profession and her relationship with Jesus, have shaded her true story of devotion, discipleship, purity and willingness to serve Jesus. She undoubtedly witnessed many of the miracles of Jesus – heard His Sermon on the Mount – His parables – His talk of death and forgiveness of sins – His promise of eternal life.
The Gospels are unclear if Mary Magdalene was the woman who washed Jesus’ feet with her tears, dried them with her hair and then anointed them with expensive oil. It could have been her. We do know that this Mary was indeed repentant of her past sins and extremely grateful for Jesus’ forgiveness and healing.
We also know she didn’t run away when Jesus was arrested. She witnessed 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 the burden from her shoulders.,
She loved Jesus, but not in the way the world has described her relationship with Him. Jesus was her Savior. She stood below the cross with Jesus’ mother, comforting her as her Son hung from that cursed tree. Mary Magdalene stayed with Jesus’ mother after he died and was the first to see the empty tomb. She hastened to tell the others. She feared that His body had been stolen by the Roman soldiers. Imagine her excitement when she saw Him again in His glorious restored body. He was alive!
In the following years, she went along with the other disciples, preaching the good news of Christ’s resurrection, His dominion over death and the bounty of eternal life. She knew that this was a gift which belongs to all who simply believe and follow Christ. Mary had a repentant heart full of gratitude for what He’d done for her. That fact shaped her for the rest of her life.
Are you ready to follow?