Mary Magdalene in the history of Christianity and Contemporary Culture Series 1, No.2

Mary Magdalene has been so maligned that Bruce Chilton, in Mary Magdalene – A Biography writes:

“This Mary becomes the great untold story of Western Culture, a figure who has been both reviled and revered, a goddess who has taken many forms – witch, heretic, tarot priestess, holy whore, the incarnation of the eternal feminine, her womb the chalice that bears God’s Child” Unquote.

Contrary to popular opinions, my research on Mary Magdalene convinced me that Christianity holds Christian Faith to her. However, the Church was built on Peter the ‘Rock.’ Mary was the only disciple of Jesus that appreciated his visionary teaching of resurrection, which made her ‘the apostle to the apostles.” It is not by accident that Jesus revealed himself to Mary First; neither was it an accident that she was sent to proclaim the good news about the resurrection to the other apostles.

Jesus had a purpose in mind in sending her to tell the apostles that He (Jesus) had been raised from the dead. The risen Jesus chose Mary Magdalene as the first female Apostle to the rest of the Apostles. It is not coincidental that Mary saw the risen Jesus first. It was part of Jesus’s plans to make a point. Mary departed from the tomb to announce the resurrection of Jesus Christ to the eleven male Apostles. Despite Mary Magdalene’s significant contribution to Christianity, she was nearly written off the record of Christian memory. My research is therefore meant to revive her role in the memory of the Saints. The Apostolic fathers and Jewish ambivalence about women lie at the source of the near erasure of Mary Magdalene. She was denigrated because she was a woman. I aim to assert Mary Magdalene’s importance and reveal her historical identity as a chosen Apostle by Jesus Christ.

Jesus Christ is gender-friendly; male and female; He created humanity as part of the Trinity; so also male and female He chose His disciples while on earth. In conformity with Hebrenic culture, He chose 12 all male-disciples called Apostles, knowing that one of them (Judas Iscariot) would become a son of perdition by betraying Him and leaving a vacancy to be filled, especially by the first female Apostle.

Jesus’s encounter started the pattern and acceptability with the Samaritan woman. Yet, the male Apostles did not comprehend like they did not understand many of Jesus’ sayings that He took pains to elaborate on and decoded for their understanding. The risen Jesus made His choice of replacement for Judas by sending Mary Magdalene to the rest of the Apostles.

My research on Mary Magdalene examines the various relational connections between Apostle Mary Magdalene and our Lord Jesus Christ in lively discourse. In the Non-Canonical Literatures, the name Mary Magdalene is credited to the Gospel of Mary. Among Jesus’ disciples, Mary Magdalene is the most prominent female disciple. Therefore I shall attempt to look beyond ordinary involvement to the Nature and Extent of Mary’s relationship with Jesus Christ.

A relationship is described as a friendship between people or the state of being of the same family. When used by people, a relationship suggests a close connection with strong feelings. Here we are looking at that close connection between Mary Magdalene, a disciple of Jesus Christ, and her Master, Jesus Christ. It takes two persons to form an interpersonal relationship. Still, it takes two cooperating persons to make a relational connection with deep love in their hearts, like Mary and Jesus Christ. Intimacy can be elusive, but we indeed witness optimal intimacy between Mary and Jesus, not born out of flesh but the Spirit.

T. Dave Matsuo said, “Intimacy is a relational experience which certainly includes our senses, but more importantly must involve our total person.” In appreciating this close relationship, it is pertinent to understand the profile, personality, character, attributes, and nature of the two people: Mary Magdalene and Jesus Christ. We need to focus intensely on their persons and activities. Examining the person of Jesus Christ and his words are the keys to understanding his interpersonal relations with the disciples, especially Mary. Relationships are exciting not only because God created relationships in general and created us for an intimate relationship with Himself specifically. Relationships are exciting because of their dynamic nature. That is what God designed for us; to be intimate with Him, our Creator.

***join me on Sunday for the 3rd in the series no. 1


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