It was really just a few years ago that they opened up a new dig in the Galilee area of Israel. What they found was the ancient fishing village of Migdol. This was the place that Mary lived. Which Mary? Mary of Midgol – AKA: Mary Magdalene. She is definitely one of the most well-known female characters of the New Testament. She has been popularized in dozens of films, stories, and once in the popular rock opera Jesus Christ Superstar. In almost all popular presentations, she is portrayed as a former prostitute who comes to Jesus in the spirit of true repentance. In the controversial movie, The DaVinci Code, it tells of Mary becoming the wife of Jesus and having a family. While the gospels are known for their graciousness towards persons with moral failings (both men and women), in our interpretation of the Bible I believe we have misrepresented the person we call Mary Magdalene.
I’ve had the chance to walk among the ruins of that small community several times over recent trips to Israel. It’s always thought provoking. You can stand in the midst of the dig, look to the West, and see the canyon from which Jesus and His disciples would walk through to go from Nazareth to the Galilee. The very first place you come to when you get to the Sea of Galilee is Migdol.
It’s in this place that Jesus encountered a demon possessed woman that had no idea what was laying ahead of her regarding her future. She shows up no less than 12 times in the Gospels, which is more than most of the Apostles. Mary is one of the most prominent people in the crucifixion narrative. Then, she is also present two days later immediately following the Sabbath, and becomes the first person to testify to the resurrection of Jesus. And, even though she plays such an important role in the life of Christ, we know so little about her.
This much we do know. When Christ set her free, he liberated her from the evil impulses that had kept her chained figuratively and perhaps literally. She is living proof that those who the Son sets free, are free indeed. And the transformation of her life resulted in her determination to follow him from that moment on, “I love him for what he did for me. I will follow him wherever he goes,” and that determination took her to the Cross.
It must have been gut wrenching for her to watch her Messiah tortured and put to death. Death is never easy to deal with. Most of the time we can avoid it or postpone it or keep it far removed from us, but there are those times when death stares us in the face and we don’t know what to do or how to respond. And that’s why Mary was standing alone at the Garden Tomb early on that first Resurrection Sunday.
There is so much more I want to tell you about her. We’ll be taking a deeper and intriguing look at her in our series that beings this Sunday, A WALK THROUGH HOLY WEEK – an in-depth look at the last week of Jesus life. This is going to be one of the most amazing glimpses into what is really happening that you’ve ever heard. You’re not going to want to miss any of it. It will cover all of the Sunday’s of March, as well as the GOOD FRIDAY service, and even the Passover Seder.
I’ll tell you more about it this Sunday when we get to be together. I CAN’T WAIT TO SEE YOU!
All for Jesus,