What we can learn from Mary Magdalene about being a follower of Christ

Published 19 May 2017  |  
Christ's Appearance to Mary Magdalene after the Resurrection, an oil on canvas painting by Russian Alexander Andreyevich Ivanov in 1835.

The Bible presents to us various characters and figures we can learn from. We often look into the lives of Paul, Peter, David and other great men of God to learn from and be inspired by them. That said, we should also look at the lives of the women of God and learn from them too.

For now, let's look at one of the most famous women in the New Testament: Mary Magdalene.

The woman who should inspire us to love Christ

Mary of Magdala is one of the more prominent women mentioned in the Gospels. Contrary to how she was traditionally painted as an immoral woman based on Luke 7:37, the Bible never specifically mentions Mary Magdalene (as she is known) as one.

Mary Magdalene is named in Luke 8:2 as the woman from whom Christ Jesus expelled seven demons, and scholars are still debating whether she was a prostitute. In any case, she was a sinner like us, someone who needed Christ as much as we did. But her response to what Christ did for her should inspire and convict us to evaluate ourselves.

Here are some things we can learn from Mary Magdalene

1) Christ's love sets even the worst of the worst free

Luke 8:2 described Mary as having had seven demons. The number seven is considered a number of "completeness," indicating just how severe her condition was. Satan must have had great control over her life. Based on this, we understand that she was in grave need of deliverance.

We also read in the same verse that Christ set her free from those demons. Christ, who came to destroy the works of the devil (see 1 John 3:8), effectively set Mary Magdalene free from Satan's grip (see Colossians 1:13).

No matter how "hopeless" or "deep in sin" we may be, Christ can and wants to set us free.

2) Being saved should result in a life lived for God

Mary Magdalene was a passionate follower of Christ. In her we see a woman who so gratefully followed Christ, being thankful for the salvation she received. In her gratefulness to Christ, she became one of the women who supported Christ's work of preaching the Gospel. She spent her wealth supporting His work (see Luke 8:1-3).

In the same way, we should ask ourselves, "Am I really grateful to Christ for saving me?" If we said yes to that, "Am I living my life in pursuit of Him?" Mary Magdalene followed Christ until He died on the cross, and even went to His tomb after He was buried. She showed Him such love. Do we do the same?

3) Christ should be the one we love the most

The Bible tells us that Mary grieved deeply at the death of Jesus Christ. She was there when Christ was put in trial. She was there when the Lord hung on the cross. She was there when Christ gave up His Spirit. She was there when Jesus was buried. And when Christ disappeared from the tomb, she wept even more because she wanted to see Him.

Christ rewarded her by showing His resurrected self to her first. And what a response she had! After He rose from the dead,

"Jesus said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?" She, supposing Him to be the gardener, 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, "Rabboni!" (which is to say, Teacher)." (see John 20:15-16)

A life worth emulating

Mary Magdalene represents us – people who are in grave need for the Lord Jesus Christ. But, do we gratefully respond to Christ's love in the same way that she did? Let us be challenged to love Christ the way Mary Magdalene did.


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