Mary Magdalene is an important figure in the Bible. Of the women highlighted in the accounts of Jesus’ final days, Mary Magdalene was front and center. We see this exemplified in the Book of Luke: “After this, Jesus traveled about from one town and village to another, proclaiming the Good News of the Kingdom of God. The twelve were with Him, and also some women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases: Mary (called Magdalene) from whom seven demons had come out; Joanna the wife of Cuza, the manager of Herod’s household; Susanna; and many others. These women were helping to support Jesus and the apostles out of their own means” (Luke 8:1-3). In addition to being a leading woman in the Bible, she was courageous. While she has been characterized as a jezebel, known as a reformed prostitute and believed by many to be unfit to walk alongside Jesus and His disciples because of her reputation, she was a dedicated follower of Jesus who was all about sharing the Good News. Here are six reasons Mary Magdalene was fearless.
She Was Compassionate and Courageous
In the first century AD according to Jewish law, women held a lowly place. The belief was that Jewish law should not be wasted on women. However, this is not the way Jesus saw it and His ministry reflected the opposite of this view. Women played a vital role in the closing events of Jesus’ earthly life, including his crucifixion, death and resurrection. Mary Magdalene, along with other women mentioned in the Gospels were courageous and compassionate followers. Mary Magdalene “out of whom Jesus had cast out demons” is given a leading place in the Bible, which is incredibly noteworthy.
She Was a Radical
The real radicals in Jesus' entourage were the women. Mary Magdalene wasn't outperforming the typical female tasks like washing clothes or cooking meals. She had given up whatever her employment was to follow Jesus. There was no question of having women in his movement unless, against almost all the laws and customs of Jewish society in Palestine that these women could live independently of family times. In doing this, she exercised her independence and used their financial means to make Jesus' mission a reality.
She Took Great Risks
When Mary and the other women, along with the twelve joined Jesus, they were taking a serious risk. Jesus was spurred into action after the arrest of John the Baptist. Much of John the Baptist's ministry took place on the east bank of the Jordan in Herod's territory of Parea. When John was imprisoned, Jesus took up his ministry in Herod's territory of Galilee which was viewed by Herod, not only as a challenge but also a threat. Despite the risk, Mary Magdalene was committed to Jesus' ministry, no matter the costs.
She Walked With Jesus, Even Through the Trenches
The New Testament tell show Jesus cast demons out of Mary Magdalene. She then accompanied Jesus in His ministry in Galilee, before witnessing His crucifixion, burial and resurrection in Jerusalem. Her story and ministry is compelling enough that scholars have taken a very different approach in retelling her story more recently. Instead of just being characterized as a reformed prostitute, she is viewed as a strong, independent woman who supported Jesus spiritually and finally. This is huge! It shows us that regardless of our past, God loves and accepts us. It also reflects how the Gospel is for everyone, despite your background and reputation. This fact alone separates Christianity from so many other religions.
She Shared Jesus’ Vision
Jesus and Mary Magdalene shared a vision of the Kingdom of God, but there is still great question of how much that vision was distorted or suppressed as Christianity began to form. The Church attempted to control the vision of Mary Magdalene's experience by turning her into a prostitute, though there is no evidence in the gospels to prove this, and countered her image with Mary, the mother of Jesus who is represented as a perpetual virgin and the mother of God. Many believe the two figures represent the two sides the world sees women. Despite how she may have been viewed because of her background, she has story valuable enough to be told in Scripture.
She Was Fearless in Following Jesus
Luke’s Gospel says that Mary was the first one to report to the Apostles: “When (the women) came back from the tomb, they told all these things to the eleven and to all of the others. It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James and the others with them who told (of Jesus’ appearance) the apostles” (Luke 24:9,10). What is also incredible is that John gives exclusive credit to Mary Magdalene for carrying the Good News of Jesus’ resurrection back to the apostles: “Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: ‘I have seen the Lord” (John 20:18). This would make her the first bearer of the Good News of the Gospel. She was a dedicated and committed to testifying this truth.
Mary Magdalene was the most important woman disciple in the movement of Jesus and continues to be one of the most mysterious and controversial figures in religious history. Many popular depictions of Mary Magdalene don't do her story justice or speak her truth as a true disciple of Christ.