(IN THE SCRIPTURES)
With the current
controversies about The DaVinci Code, and speculation
about who Mary Magdalene really was, I went to the Bible to see
what it actually says about her. As best I can tell, the
following is every mention of Mary Magdalene in the Bible.
After this, Jesus traveled about from one town and village to
another, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God. The
Twelve were with him, and also some women who had been cured of
evil spirits and diseases: Mary (called Magdalene) from
whom seven demons had come out; Joanna the wife of Cuza, the
manager of Herod’s household; Susanna; and many others. These
women were helping to support them out of their own means.
—Luke 8: 1-3
At the Cross
Many women were there, watching from a distance. They had
followed Jesus from Galilee to care for his needs. Among them
were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joses,
and the mother of Zebedee’s sons.
—Matthew 27: 55-56
Some women were watching from a distance. Among them were
Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James the younger and
Joses, and Salome. In Galilee these women had followed him and
cared for his needs. Many other women who had come up with him
to Jerusalem were also there.
—Mark 15: 40-41
When all the people who had gathered to witness this sight saw
what took place, they beat their breasts and went away. But all
those who knew him, including the women who had followed him
from Galilee, stood at a distance, watching these things.
—Luke 23: 48-49
Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother’s sister,
Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene.
—John 19: 25
At the Tomb
(Joseph of Arimathea took the body of Jesus from the cross for
Joseph took the body, wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, and
placed it in his own new tomb that he had cut out of the rock.
He rolled a big stone in front of the entrance to the tomb and
went away. Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were
sitting there opposite the tomb.
—Matthew 27: 59-61
So Joseph brought some linen cloth, took down the body, wrapped
it in the linen, and placed it in a tomb cut out of rock. Then
he rolled a stone against the entrance of the tomb. Mary
Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses saw where he was
—Mark 15: 46-47
The women who had come with Jesus from Galilee followed Joseph
and saw the tomb and how the body was laid in it. Then they
went home and prepared spices and perfumes. But they rested on
the Sabbath in obedience to the commandment.
—Luke 23: 55-56
After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary
Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb.
There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came
down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone
and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his
clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him
that they shook and became like dead men.
The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that
you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here;
he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he
lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen
from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you
will see him.’ Now I have told you.”
So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with
joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly, Jesus met them.
“Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet, and
worshipped him. Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go
and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”
—Matthew 29: 1-10
When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the
mother of James, and Salome brought spices so that they might go
to anoint Jesus’ body. Very early on the first day of the week,
just after sunrise, they were on their way to the tomb and they
asked each other, “Who will roll the stone away from the
entrance of the tomb?”
But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very
large, had been rolled away. As they entered the tomb, they saw
a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side,
and they were alarmed.
“Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the
Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here.
See the place where they laid him. But go, tell the disciples
and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you
will see him, just as he told you.’”
Trembling and bewildered, the women went out and fled from the
tomb. They said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid.
—Mark 16: 1-8
When Jesus rose early on the first day of the week, he appeared
first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had driven seven
demons. She went and told those who had been with him and who
were mourning and weeping. When they heard that Jesus was alive
and that she had seen him, they did not believe it.
—Mark 16: 9-11
On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the
women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb.
They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they
entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While
they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that
gleamed like lightning stood beside them. In their fright the
women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men
said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead?
He is not here; He has risen! Remember how he told you, while
he was still with you in Galilee: ‘The Son of Man must be
delivered into the hands of sinful men, be crucified and on the
third day be raised again.’“ Then they remembered his words.
When they went back from the tomb, they told all these things to
the Eleven and to all the others. It was Mary Magdalene,
Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the others with them, who
told this to the apostles. But they did not believe the women,
because their words seemed to them like nonsense. Peter,
however, got up and ran to the tomb. Bending over, he saw the
strips of linen lying by themselves, and he went away, wondering
to himself what had happened.
—Luke 24: 1-12
Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark,
Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had
been removed from the entrance. So she came running to Simon
Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said,
“They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know
where they have put him!”
—John 20: 1-2
(Peter and the other disciple visit the tomb and find it empty.)
Then the disciples went back to their homes, but Mary
stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to
look into the tomb and saw two angels in white, seated where
Jesus’s body had been, one at the head and the other at the
They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?”
“They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know
where they have put him.” At this, she turned around and saw
Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus.
“Woman,” he said, “Why are you crying? Who are you looking
Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have
carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get
Jesus said to her, “Mary.”
She turned to him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which
Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet returned
to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am
returning to my Father and your Father, to my God and your
Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news, “I
have seen the Lord!” And she told them that he had said these
things to her.
—John 20: 10-18
Marys listed in the New Testament include Mary the mother of
Jesus, Mary the mother of James the Younger and Joses, Mary the
wife of Clopas, Mary of Bethany, and Mary Magdalene.
Mary Magdalene is always mentioned first when a group of women
is listed, except in John 19: 25.
Mary is often depicted as a prostitute. The Bible makes no
mention of this. The “woman who lived a sinful life,” who
anointed Jesus’ feet with perfume in Luke 7: 36-50, is not
identified by name. In a similar incident that apparently
happened later in Jesus’ ministry, mentioned in Matthew 26:
6-13, Mark 14: 3-9, and John 12: 1-11, John identifies the woman
as Mary of Bethany, the sister of Martha and Lazarus.
Based on the scriptures, this is what we know about Mary
She was devoted.
She followed Jesus throughout Galilee and then on to
Jerusalem, caring for his needs.
She was giving.
She and other women supported Jesus and the disciples out of
their own pockets.
She was brave.
While the other disciples hid behind locked doors, she was
at the cross when he was crucified, she was at the tomb when
he was buried, and she was first to the tomb on Resurrection
independent. She appears to have been the leader of a small
group of women who continued to minister to Jesus after his
crucifixion. There is no mention of any men being along.
She was obedient.
When told to tell the disciples about Jesus’ resurrection,
she did so without question.
She loved Jesus.
John’s account of Jesus’ appearance to her is one of the
most tender in the Bible.
Anything beyond this is pure speculation. There is
absolutely no mention of her being a 13th apostle,
Jesus’s wife, the mother of his child, etc.