Mary Magdalene

National Association of Christian Ministers Summary Series

Mary Magdalene is a prominent figure in the New Testament and plays a significant role in the life of Jesus Christ. Though much of her personal background remains a mystery, the biblical accounts provide valuable insights into her life and relationship with Jesus. Here is a biography of Mary Magdalene based on the New Testament with relevant scriptural citations:


1. Early Life and Possession by Seven Demons:

The New Testament does not provide specific details about Mary Magdalene’s early life, but it mentions that she was from the town of Magdala, which was located on the western shore of the Sea of Galilee. Luke 8:2 reveals that Jesus healed her from being possessed by seven demons:

“And also some women who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities: Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out.” (Luke 8:2, ESV)


2. Follower of Jesus:

After her healing, Mary became a devoted follower of Jesus. She, along with other women, supported Jesus and His disciples financially and ministered to their needs. Matthew 27:55-56, Mark 15:40-41, and Luke 8:1-3 mention her among the women who followed Jesus during His earthly ministry.


3. Witness to the Crucifixion:

Mary Magdalene was present during the crucifixion of Jesus. She, along with some other women, stood at a distance, watching the events unfold. Matthew 27:55-56, Mark 15:40-41, and John 19:25 mention her presence at the cross.


4. Witness to the Burial and Resurrection:

After Jesus’ crucifixion, Mary Magdalene, along with another woman named Mary, went to see the tomb where Jesus was laid. Matthew 27:61, Mark 15:47, and John 19:41 confirm her presence at the burial site. On the morning of the third day, she was one of the first witnesses to the resurrection of Jesus. John 20:1-2 describes how she discovered the empty tomb:

“Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, ‘They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.'” (John 20:1-2, ESV)


5. Encounter with the Risen Jesus:

Mary Magdalene had a personal encounter with the risen Jesus outside the tomb. Jesus appeared to her and addressed her by name, leading to a profound moment of recognition and faith. John 20:11-18 narrates this encounter:

“But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb, and as she wept, she stooped to look into the tomb. And she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had lain, one at the head and one at the feet. They said to her, ‘Woman, why are you weeping?’ She said to them, ‘They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.’ Having said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?’ Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, ‘Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.’ Jesus said to her, ‘Mary.’ She turned and said to him in Aramaic, ‘Rabboni!’ (which means Teacher). Jesus said to her, ‘Do not cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.” Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, ‘I have seen the Lord’—and that he had said these things to her.” (John 20:11-18, ESV)


6. Testimony to the Disciples:

Following her encounter with the risen Jesus, Mary Magdalene delivered the joyful news to the disciples. She proclaimed that she had seen the Lord and relayed His message to them. Mark 16:9-10 and John 20:17-18 highlight her role as a messenger of the resurrection.


Mary Magdalene’s life and experiences as documented in the New Testament make her a crucial witness to the crucifixion, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Her unwavering devotion and faith serve as an inspiration for many believers throughout history.