Confession, this question came from a post on my church’s Facebook page. It immediately made me consider my own answer. After all, a one time opportunity to speak over coffee with one person from the Bible besides Jesus should take some consideration. Don’t you think?
Immediately I put all the major people in the Scriptures at the bottom of my list. Why? We know already, what people like Noah, King David, Ruth, Esther, Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Peter, Paul, Timothy, Mary the mother of Jesus, Joseph (Jesus’ earthly father) think about their encounters with God, Jesus. There are several “minor” people we see in passing in the Bible that are ones I’d like to hear from myself.
My coffee invitation would go to Mary Magdalene. Mentioned twelve times in the four gospels of the New Testament, but with little background as to who she was. Lots of rumor, assumptions such as she was a prostitute. (There is no evidence of this accusation.) So, I’d like to know as much as I could about this woman of faith. Going to the source of the one who knows is usually the best place to start to understand the truth.
What questions would I ask her? Ordinarily I wouldn’t get terribly nosey about a person’s private life over a cup of coffee. I don’t want to bring up anything Mary Magdalene would be uncomfortable discussing. Yet, I also believe we’d both like to “set the record straight”.
Knowing already that the accusation she was a reformed prostitute has no evidence other than vaporous threads of people trying to explain her presence in Jesus’ life through a viewpoint of creating smoke to start a fire.
There is no evidence Mary Magdalene were married, that she was the Mary of Mary and Martha, Lazurus’ sisters either. Nor any evidence she and Jesus were married or lovers.
I would like to know, from a woman’s perspective, what Jesus was like as Himself in a day-to-day view. Despite the time in history when women had little legal standing in the community, were treated as property under the control of husbands, fathers, older male relatives or her male siblings Jesus did much to counter that culture.
Never before, in that Jewish culture, had a woman set at a man’s feet to be educated about God. Nor would a Jewish man speak to, much less ask help from, a Samaritian woman. Especially not who was obviously an outcast of her own community because of the time she came to draw water. Nor would a Jewish man tell a woman that her focus needed to be on God the Father, not on house keeping chores or even preparing for all the people gathering at their own home to see Him.
Yes, I’d like to know what Jesus was like interacting with the women in His life. not just in the precious few events recorded in the Bible. I believe I know. I believe I understand enough about Jesus, His character, His internal being that tells me I would not be disappointed in anything Mary Magdalene would tell me.
Jesus is the only person who has ever walked on this Earth who was perfect. He had to be flawless, pure, cleaner than clean inside in order to be the sacrifice to die upon the cross for our sins. The Old Testament speaks with no nonsense about how flawless an animal sacrifice for people’s sins had to be when they brought them as offerings to the temple. Imperfection would not do. So a flawed sacrifice is non-Biblical. Against God’s character.
Who was she? What is her testimony about how Jesus changed her life? Were her “demons” demonic spirits or mental illnesses? Jesus became the center of her life, why? I believe He still does and can do the same for us all today.
Mary Magdalene! Welcome, won't you come in and have a cup of coffee? Do you take cream or sugar? I'm so excited to have some time with you.
Thanks for reading, I am also leaving some of my research on Mary Magdalene below.
Mary Magdalene,[a] sometimes called Mary of Magdala, or simply the Magdalene or the Madeleine, was a woman who, according to the four canonical gospels, traveled with Jesus as one of his followers and was a witness to his crucifixion and its aftermath. She is mentioned by name twelve times in the canonical gospels, more than most of the apostles and more than any other woman in the Gospels, other than Jesus’ family. Mary’s epithet Magdalene may mean that she came from the town of Magdala, a fishing town on the western shore of the Sea of Galilee.
The Gospel of Luke 8:2–3 lists Mary Magdalene as one of the women who traveled with Jesus and helped support his ministry “out of their resources”, indicating that she was probably relatively wealthy. The same passage also states that seven demons had been driven out of her, a statement which is repeated in the longer ending of Mark. In all four canonical gospels, Mary Magdalene is a witness to the crucifixion of Jesus and, in the Synoptic Gospels, she is also present at his burial. All four gospels identify her, either alone or as a member of a larger group of women which includes Jesus’s mother, as the first to witness the empty tomb, and the first to witness Jesus’s resurrection.
For these reasons, Mary Magdalene is known in some Christian traditions as the “apostle to the apostles”. Mary Magdalene is a central figure in later Gnostic Christian writings, including the Dialogue of the Savior, the Pistis Sophia, the Gospel of Thomas, the Gospel of Philip, and the Gospel of Mary which many scholars attribute to Mary Magdalene. These texts portray Mary Magdalene as an apostle, as Jesus’s closest and most beloved disciple and the only one who truly understood his teachings. In the Gnostic texts, or Gnostic gospels, Mary Magdalene’s closeness to Jesus results in tension with another disciple, Peter, due to her gender and Peter’s jealousy of special teachings given to her. Scholars find claims Mary Magdalene was romantically involved with Jesus to be unsupported by evidence.
The portrayal of Mary Magdalene as a prostitute began after a series of Easter sermons delivered in 591, when Pope Gregory I conflated Mary Magdalene, who is introduced in Luke 8:2, with Mary of Bethany (Luke 10:39) and the unnamed “sinful woman” who anoints Jesus’s feet in Luke 7:36–50. This resulted in a widespread belief that she was a repentant prostitute or promiscuous woman. Elaborate medieval legends from western Europe tell exaggerated tales of Mary Magdalene’s wealth and beauty, as well as her alleged journey to southern France. The identification of Mary Magdalene with Mary of Bethany and the unnamed “sinful woman” was a major controversy in the years leading up to the Reformation and some Protestant leaders rejected it. During the Counter-Reformation, the Catholic Church emphasized Mary Magdalene as a symbol of penance.
In 1969, the identification of Mary Magdalene with Mary of Bethany and the “sinful woman” was removed from the General Roman Calendar by Pope Paul VI, but the view of her as a former prostitute has persisted in popular culture. Mary Magdalene is considered to be a saint by the Catholic, and by the Eastern Orthodox, Anglican, and Lutheran churches. In 2016 Pope Francis raised the level of liturgical memory on July 22 from memorial to feast. Other Protestant churches honor her as a heroine of the faith. The Eastern Orthodox churches also commemorate her on the Sunday of the Myrrhbearers, the Orthodox equivalent of one of the Western Three Marys traditions.
Soon afterwards he (Jesus) went on through cities and villages, proclaiming and bringing the good news of the kingdom of God. The twelve were with him, as well as some women who had been cured of evil spirits and infirmities: Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, and Joanna, the wife of Herod‘s steward Chuza, and Susanna, and many others, who provided for them out of their resources.— Luke 8:1–3
Mary Magdalene has the reputation in Western Christianity as being a repentant prostitute or loose woman; however, these claims are not supported by the canonical gospels, which at no point imply that she had ever been a prostitute or in any way notable for a sinful way of life. The misconception likely arose due to a conflation between Mary Magdalene, Mary of Bethany (who anoints Jesus’s feet in John 11:1–12), and the unnamed “sinful woman” who anoints Jesus’s feet in Luke 7:36–50. As early as the third century, the Church Father Tertullian (c. 160 – 225) references the touch of “the woman which was a sinner” in effort to prove that Jesus “was not a phantom, but really a solid body.” This may indicate that Mary Magdalene was already being conflated with the “sinful woman” in Luke 7:36–50, though Tertullian never clearly identifies the woman of whom he speaks as Mary Magdalene.Wikipedia, last updated 11/1/2020 @ 18:37 (UTC). https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mary_Magdalene Their research is noted in their complete article.