By Randy Dillon
Luke 8:1b-2 “. . . And the twelve were with Him, and certain women who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities-Mary called Magdalene, out of whom had come seven demons . . . and many others who provided for Him from their substance.”
Mary Magdalene (derived from the town of Magdala at the south end of the plain of Genesaret and with a large licentious Gentile population) appears at several points in the ministry of Jesus. Little is known about her and there are numerous speculations about her character. She may have been a woman of ill repute, a prostitute, but this may have been a character fault attributed to her due to her association with her hometown. While she is not a major New Testament character she none-the-less enters scripture at key times.
Interestingly, the recent film series about the life of Jesus, “The Chosen,” begins with Mary as one of the central characters in the backstory, along with Nicodemus, Andrew and Peter, Matthew, and James and John the sons of Zebedee.
Mary first captures our attention as one:
•who had seven demons exorcised and
•then began to follow Jesus in His Galilean ministry and support His ministry in some capacity, perhaps financially.
•She also went with Jesus in His last visit to Jerusalem. (Mark 15:41) •She was present at the crucifixion. (John 19:25)
•She was probably among the women who followed Joseph of Arimethea and Nicodemus to the tomb, noting the exact location so that they might return with spices and fragrant oils to anoint the body for proper burial. (Luke 23:56)
•She was among the women who first came to the tomb and a little later
•she was the first to meet the resurrected Christ who she mistook for the gardener. (John 24:11-18)
We do not know how it is that she comes to Jesus, but it seems obvious that she was a loyal follower of Jesus. “The Chosen” takes dramatic license in its introduction and portrayal of Mary Magdalene, however it seems to be clearly based on the little scripture about Mary that is available. The portrayal of her salvation in the first episode is conjecture but the emotional element of salvation through grace is powerful as Jesus says to her, “Mary. Mary Magdala. I have redeemed you. I have called you by name. You are mine.” This comes as close to the experience of grace through faith as is possible and it is an entirely genuine expression of God’s work in the redemption of sinners.