The Bible doesn’t tell us a lot about Mary Magdalene’s past. Her back story is hidden from us, left to speculation by many. Was Mary Magdalene a prostitute, Jesus’ wife, the most loved disciple, and Peter’s adversary? We can speculate all day long, or we can look to the Bible for clues about the real Mary Magdalene.
Luke first introduces us to Mary Magdalene, “Mary who was called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out…” (Luke 8:2)
Mary was called Magdalene because she was from the fishing village, Magdala on the northwest shore on the Sea of Galilee.
We know Jesus had exorcised many demonic possessions in that area, so we can assume that He was the one who released her from Satan and because she was following Him. It makes sense if He saved her, she would then follow Him.
Satan tortured her with seven demons…SEVEN! The number seven in the Bible is symbolic of something being finished or complete. In other words, Mary was completely possessed. Read more about the number 7 in the Bible.
Demon possession is the bondage of an evil spirit. Mary’s exact afflictions we don’t know, but because of the number 7, we know it was severe. There is enough information in the New Testament that we can imagine what her afflictions could have been. The New Testament tells us such afflictions included insanity, blindness, anxiety, self-loathing, or any other disorder(s) commonly described as demonic possession.
Mary Magdalene was truly suffering.
No worries, though. Jesus Christ delivered Mary from all that torment.
Side note: people tormented by demons never sought out Christ for healing/deliverance. They were always brought to Him by loved ones. I assume that was because the demons were rightfully afraid of Christ.
Other than being saved from demons, we don’t know anything else about Mary’s past, but we do know her life after Christ.
So, what does the Bible tell us about the real Mary Magdalene?
(I encourage you to open your Bible and color-code the following verses. Color-coding is a helpful tool in Bible study.)
- Because Mary Magdalene was saved by Christ, she was free and righteous (Romans 6:18). Mary Magdalene was born anew.
- Mary Magdalene traveled with Christ and his 12 disciples. (Luke 8:1-3)
- Mary Magdalene used her “property and personal belongings” to help support Christ and his ministry. (Luke 8:3)
- Mary Magdalene was faithfully devoted. She prepared cleaning spices after Christ’s death. (Luke 23:56, 24:1)
- She was faithfully devoted to Christ. She was there at Pilate’s Hall when His death sentence was announced. She stayed with Him during the crucifixion. She was there when a Roman soldier thrust his spear into Christ’s side and pronounced Him dead. She stayed to the bitter end. (Luke 23:54-55)
- Christ revealed himself first to Mary Magdalene after the resurrection. (John 20:12-17) She was the first to know the most important event in human history. Christ chose a woman to reveal the Good News to the disciples.
- Mary Magdalene loved Christ with all her heart and soul. He saved her from her demons and for that she gave her life to Him.
Mary Magdalene is a shining example of the power of Christ’s redemption. He is glorified when He rescues us from our demons then uses us for a greater purpose. His purpose. Like Mary Magdalene, we are rescued from a hopeless life to a life that knows the deep love of Christ, but only if we seek Him.
Let’s be like Mary Magdalene. Let’s seek Him. Always.