This devotion is about a Bible hero of mine. Tradition has often portrayed Mary Magdalene in art and literature as a prostitute. There has been much thought that the “sinful” woman in Luke 7 is the same person as Mary in Luke 8. I find this to be curious. In Luke 8:2, Mary (called Magdalene) is used to distinguish her from the other women named Mary. The use of her name appears 12 times in all four gospels. With Mary being the most common name for women in that era, the writers of the gospels were careful to identify her by name.
We can only speculate about Mary’s childhood. She grew up in a fishing town near the sea. The climate was warm, sunny with cool nights. It is presumed she was wealthy. Sounds fantastic! In Luke 8:2 we discover she was freed from the bondage of seven demons. Demons!
It’s unclear how the demons plagued her. Was her healing both psychological and physical? We do know she was spiritually changed, made new and completely healed. She encountered Jehovah Rapha “The Lord heals” and she was never the same. It’s impossible to encounter Jesus and not be changed. He sees our needs today. God knows us; He sees us where we are and desires to do the same for us as He did for Mary.
Ask yourself: As a believer, do I daily embrace who I am in Christ? Is my identity in the Lord? Do I realize he has given me every spiritual blessing? Through Christ we are holy, and blameless in His sight (Ephesians 1: 3-4). He wants us to share our stories of brokenness, how we found life and forgiveness of sin (Ephesians 1:7).
Mary’s story of brokenness and healing is encouraging. She was unafraid to make sacrifices for the well-being of others. Treasuring Christ above all, she used her personal wealth to support Jesus’ ministry (Luke 8:3). She heard the Master teach and witnessed His miracles firsthand.
Boldly Mary and other devoted women witnessed the crucifixion. Many disciples fled for safety, but she stayed. Mary saw him die and felt despair leaving the body at the tomb. Exhausted and numb by the trauma, she traveled early on the Sabbath to prepare the body. It was there that the risen Jesus spoke her name “Mary”. She turned and cried “Rabbani”, which means teacher (John 20:16). Mary was the first to see the resurrected Christ. What an incredible privilege! Our Lord Jesus regards women as equals, bearing the image of God.
Finally, we see Mary hurrying back to the disciples to share the good news. This formerly demon possessed, broken woman experienced healing and hope. Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news, “I have seen the Lord!” (John 20:18) Have you seen Him also?