St. Mary Magdalene – Who Was She?
I recently watched the Netflix movie, Mary Magdalene.
The Bible is chalked full of Marys. However, I never adequately pondered this particular Mary; which it seems, was one of Jesus’ closest friends, followers, and confidantes.
What do we know about Mary of Magdalene?
We know she was said to be inhabited by seven demons, which Jesus miraculously exorcised, allowing her the freedom and ability of choice to spiritually, as well as physically, follow Him in His traveling ministry, The Great Commission.
I have always assumed the demons that possessed Mary were, in fact, physical demons. The type we see in popular cinematic renditions, such as The Diary of Emily Rose or The Exorcist.
This may very well be the case. On the other hand, those particular demons that held Mary captive could just as easily be modern-day demons many of us encounter daily, hundreds of years later.
What if the demons that possessed Mary were in the form of mental illness? Diagnosis’ we recognize today as Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, debilitating anxiety, Terets Syndrome, Psychosis, Schizophrenia, Multiple Personality, or Dissociative Disorder, among a countless array of other unmentioned mental and physical illnesses.
What if the demons were sins that held Mary captive; many of which still imprison us today?
Addiction, pornography, alcohol or drug dependency, anger, jealousy, resentment, gluttony, insubordination, etc.?
After all, are we not all a slave to some form of demon or another? I know I have been and likely will be again, traveling my unique journey upon this earth.
Whether the demons that darkened Mary’s door were physical or mental, we know she was held captive to a torturous fate. Until Jesus came along and freed her from the inhibiting distress she was subject to for who knows how long.
I am captivated by the relationship between Mary of Magdalene and Jesus of Nazareth. I know there has been some controversy about the type of love they shared.
Whether it was romantic, platonic or of another nature, the only thing that really matters is that they shared a beautifully genuine, agape type of love.
Jesus is capable of no less and I honestly believe His disciples, albeit human and incapable of the perfect love of our Heavenly Father, loved Jesus with a ferocious, protective, and adoring love in the highest form humanly possible.
In the Netflix movie of the same name, Mary Magdalene showed a quiet grace in her interactions with others, curious about the new and different teachings of Jesus.
Yet, there was a spark behind the gentle eyes Mary showed to the world. She was intently aware that women were seen as property, little more than the status of a child or family slave. The movie portrays Mary’s discontent with her lot in life and shows her questioning Jesus on this very topic.
Jesus, always a truth-teller, agreed that women’s place in the world at that time, hundreds of years ago, was limited by culture, society, and status.
Yet, He was adamant that a woman’s spirit, her very soul, was her own. Possessing the ability to believe, engage, and practice the religion of her choosing.
The souls of women hundreds of years ago up to modern day are precious to God. He cares every bit as much for women, children, and slaves as He does for men, rulers, and wealthy kings.
Mary was content to follow Jesus. I believe she was whole-heartedly willing to step outside that which seemed her lot in life to spread a message of hope, peace, kindness, and love.
In my mind, it is no coincidence that Mary was the first to find the tomb empty and see that her Jesus, with nail-scarred hands and feet, had miraculously risen from the dead.
Mary was there for Jesus’ traveling ministry. Mary was there for Jesus’ torturous death upon the cruel splintered cross. Mary was there when Jesus was placed in a tomb and later found that tomb empty. Mary was one of the first to witness the resurrection and share the good news that death held her Lord, my Lord, and your Lord, captive no longer.
Mary was an integral part of the life, teachings, and miraculous witness of Jesus Christ.
Her kinship to this man was unprecedented. Their relationship may hold an element of mystery and intrigue disputed by countless religious scholars for years to come, yet the love and relationship Mary shared with the greatest man to ever walk the earth, was one in which we can all aspire to have.
Jesus still exorcises demons. Whether they be evil, lurking creatures that know not the rules of modern society, sinister mental and emotional anguish from past sin or abuse, or raging rivers of mental torment that hold us captive to our own fears, anxiety, and inability to function in society, Jesus has power over all of these dark and diabolical forces.
He wants to free His followers.
Like Mary, those that make the choice, to leave a human life of upheaval behind, and follow this Lord and Savior of the world. All He asks is that we believe upon His name, flee from the sin that so easily entangles us, and walk daily in relationship with Him.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.Hebrews 12:1-3 niv
What are the demons that patronize you today?
Cry out to the Lord that physically walked the earth hundreds of years ago, and whose spirit still dwells within each of His devoted disciples of modern day.
He is ready and willing to free us of our inner demons and calls us to live a life of freedom, peace, and perfect love that comes only from walking by His very once-wounded spear-pierced side.