Mary Magdalene—A Change You’d Never Expect

Mary Magdalene—A Change You’d Never Expect

by Wayne Stiles

Her name is as well-known as any apostle.

Yet the truth about her life often lies shrouded behind myths, fiction, and flat-out conjecture.

(Painting by José de Ribera. Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)

Modern art and bestselling novels paint her as everything from a prostitute to the infamous woman caught in adultery to the wife of Jesus Himself.

But the Scriptures portray Mary Magdalene as a different person altogether.

Surprisingly, she was more like us than we would expect.

Magdala—The Town of Mary Magdalene

She was called Magdalene, likely to distinguish her from the other Marys mentioned in the Gospels (Luke 8:2).
•Her name reveals that she hailed from Magdala, a town along the western shore of the Sea of Galilee.
•Jesus would have passed this this town literally hundreds of times.
•Archaeologists have unearthed a 1st-century synagogue as well as a stone relief of a menorah.

(Can’t see Magdala slideshow in RSS or email? Click here. All Magdala pics courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

Mary Magdalene’s Surprising Change

How seven demons came to enter Mary Magdalene is unknown. But how they left her, the Gospels make clear.

Jesus drove them out (Mark 16:9).

Mary’s deliverance from demonic possession no doubt ignited her devotion to the ministry of Jesus.
•Along with other women Jesus healed, Mary followed the Lord and supported His ministry from her personal financial means (Luke 8:2–3).
•As one of Christ’s followers, Mary heard what the disciples heard. She saw the miracles. She ate the bread He multiplied.
•She accompanied Him to the feasts in Jerusalem—including the final Passover when the Jewish leaders arrested Jesus and condemned Him to death.

During the Lord’s agonizing hours on the cross, Mary Magdalene and a few others stood nearby (John 19:25). She watched as Joseph of Arimathea took Jesus’s body down from the cross, wrapped His corpse in linen, and laid it in his own tomb (Matthew 27:55–61).

Yet with all of Mary’s devotion to the Lord, even she didn’t expect what would happen next.

(Painting by Alexander Andreyevich Ivanov. Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)

Mary Magdalene’s Surprising Challenge

Early Sunday morning, Mary accompanied some other women to Jesus’s tomb in order to anoint His body. But the tomb was empty!
•Mary ran to Peter and told him that Christ’s body had been taken away.
•Peter and John sprinted to the tomb, found it empty, and left amazed.

Mary stood there alone, weeping . . . when she heard a voice.

“Woman, why are you weeping?”

Mary answered the man, “Sir, if you have carried Him away, tell me where you have laid Him, and I will take Him away” (John 20:15).

Jesus then revealed His identity with one word: “Mary!”

More surprising to Mary than Jesus rising from the dead likely was the honor she had as the first person to witness Him personally!

She also became the first to witness of Him to others.

Our Change and Our Challenge

Like Mary, Jesus has delivered our lives from the power of Satan to live in the power of His resurrection. We have traded the lies of the world for the promises of God.

Like Mary, we have the privilege to tell all who will listen that Christ is risen as we anticipate one day, our own resurrection (Acts 26:18; Philippians 3:10).

Question: What’s the most surprising conversion you’ve ever seen?

About ptl2010

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4 Responses to Mary Magdalene—A Change You’d Never Expect

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  2. Q. “What’s the most surprising conversion you’ve ever seen?”
    A. MINE!
    It still astounds me that God would go to such lengths to redeem me!
    After a week of giving me no rest at all from hearing His voice pounding in my head – “Christ died for your sins . . . your personal Saviour” – He opened my understanding and gave me faith to see and believe, and He CHANGED me completely. The old was gone and all things became new. That was 54 years ago. His work continues and it still astounds me.

  3. ptl2010 says:

    There is no limit to God’s wonderful grace. I recall my dad’s conversion and the change in his life that took place instantaneously. That Sunday he was suffering from epilepsy, a chain smoker, an inveterate weekend gambler, an alcoholic to drown his sorrows because of no cure for epilepsy from which he suffered almost fortnightly violent fits. It rained heavily and he could not attend his gambling session. My mother was preparing to attend the Sunday evening evangelistic service and being in an unusually good mood he said he would accompany her to the church just two doors away.
    Pastor delivered a very simple gospel message and the man who had persecuted his wife for being a Christian had to yield to the Holy Spirit’s conviction for it was his appointed hour for deliverance. He ran to the altar sobbing – there was no other convert. That night the grace of God was manifested as he felt the burden of sin lifted from his shoulders, the fears that bound him and triggered the fits were replaced by the peace of God, his thirst and reason for alcohol no longer held him as the chains were loosed in Jesus’ name , the taste of cigarettes in his mouth became unbearable, and his yearning for the thrill of winning from gambling was quenched. He was miraculously delivered that evening and became a new creature in Christ; praise God never to return to the swill of sin. He has been Redeemed by the blood of Jesus ever since, now for more than 55 years! Glory to the Lamb that was slain and to our risen Lord.

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