Lesson Eleven | Devotion #6: Mary Magdalene
Debbie Kerr | Office Administrator
We are introduced to Mary Magdalene in Luke 8:2, “And also some women who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities: Mary, called Magdalene from whom seven demons had gone out.” She is one of the best known and yet one of the most misunderstood names in the Bible. First of all, Magdalene is not her last name. She was from the town Magdala, a very dark and violent place, due to much demonic activity. Magdalene was used to identify her from Mary the mother of Jesus, and the other women named Mary in the Gospels. The Bible does not go into great detail regarding her past or background. However, she is mentioned by name fourteen times in the Bible and all four of the Gospels, making her one of the prominent women of the New Testament. Scripture reveals that she had the distinct honor of being the first person Jesus appeared to after His resurrection. However, there are other unsubstantiated assumptions made regarding her identity. Some people believe she is the prostitute that washed Jesus’ feet with her tears, and others believe she was the woman caught in the act of adultery and almost stoned to death. According to John Macarthur’s book, “Twelve Extraordinary Women,” there is no biblical basis for either assumption.
Mary Magdalene was met by a loving and powerful Savior. Through His grace and mercy, Jesus looked beyond her faults and lovingly saw her need as He cast out seven demons from her. Before her life-changing encounter with Jesus, she lived a tormented and most likely isolated life. Demoniacs were unpopular and isolated from mainstream living. Scripture does not give us all the gory details of her darkness but instead spotlights and magnifies Christ’s grace and goodness to her. Christ set her free, and she was free indeed! Mary’s life was not simply reformed but completely transformed. We read in John 10:10, “The thief (Satan) comes only to steal, kill and destroy. I (Jesus) came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” He gave her life that day…abundant life!
Mary’s demonic deliverance led to a life of complete devotion to her deliverer and Savior. She remained very close to Jesus, and even led the women in the care and provision for Jesus and His disciples as they traveled and ministered. Luke 8:3 (NIV) reveals that these women, led by Mary Magdalene, financed the work of the Lord “out of heir own means.” Mary Magdalene remained a very close follower of Jesus and was named among the women at the foot of the cross with Mary, Jesus’ mother. In their unbearable sorrow and grief, these women stayed until the bitter and painful end. In fact, she may have been the last one to leave the tomb that horrific day. We read in Scripture that it was Mary Magdalene that informed the disciples of the location of the tomb where Joseph of Arimathea placed His lifeless body.
Luke 23:55-56 says Mary Magdalene and the other Mary had purchased more spices used for burial, and as soon as the Sabbath was over, would go first thing in the morning to give Jesus a proper burial. Mary Magdalene could not wait any longer. She went ahead of the others and was the first one to reach the tomb on the resurrection morning. Jesus meets the grieving woman outside the tomb and says her name, “Mary,” in a way that pierced her grieving heart. She knew in an instance this was her Lord and Savior, once dead and now alive. He instructed her to go and tell the others that He had risen. Mary Magdalene ran immediately to find Peter and John, to tell them. Then they went to see for themselves. He rose just as He said!
This transformed woman that went by the name of Mary Magdalene is the perfect example of the limitless power and extravagant grace of God. She was snatched out of Satan’s death grip and became one the closest followers of Jesus, with intense love and devotion. If you and I have been saved by the blood of Jesus, we also have been snatched from the enemy’s grasp and placed into His marvelous light! Do we have this type of undying devotion and love for our Savior? He desires to take the ruins of our life, and transform them into something beautiful and useful for His glory. He requires that we lay it all at the foot of the cross, give Him our whole heart, and follow close after Him. We must die to self and say as the Apostle Paul said in Galatians 2:20, “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” His grace is free, not cheap!