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“Women of the Bible: Mary Magdalene”

First Baptist Church https://fbcbartow.org

Can you think of someone who was very devoted to someone else?

I think of Forrest Gump and his devotion to Bubba.

I think of Samwise Gamgee and his devotion to Frodo Baggins.

I think of Mickey Mouse and Pluto, or Mickey Mouse and Goofy, or Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck, or Micky Mouse and Minnie Mouse. Wow, Mickey had a lot of friends.

Well, today we’re going to learn about someone who was very devoted to Jesus, and that was Mary of Magdala.

We’re continuing our series called, “The Women of the Bible,” and today we’re learning about Mary Magdalene.

Before we go any further, let’s go to the Lord in prayer and ask Him to speak to us.


First of all, Mary is called Mary Magdalene because she was from the region of Magdala, on the western shore of the Sea of Galilee.

Magdala was right about here. For a closer look, you can see this slide.

So, when we say Mary Magdalene, we are essentially saying Mary of Magdala.

As we speak of Mary, it’s important that we clarify a few rumors about Mary.

The first rumor is that Mary Magdalene was formerly a lady of the evening, or one who had an inappropriate profession.

The first reason some make this connection is because they think she is the woman in the Gospel story who was caught in adultery. However, the Bible never mentions that the woman accused of adultery who is forgiven by Jesus is Mary. There’s no need for us to make that assumption.

Second, often women find themselves in such professions because they are very poor, and we will see later that rather than being poor, it appeared that Mary had some means to help Jesus and the apostles.

A second rumor concerning Mary of Magdala is that she was the wife of Jesus.

Again, the Bible does not mention this at all, and there is absolutely no reason for us to jump to this conclusion. If Jesus was married to Mary, it would certainly be worth mentioning in the Gospels, yet it’s not mentioned.

We do learn later that Jesus did have a wife. Did you know that? Jesus had a wife! The Bible teaches us that the bride of Jesus is actually the Church, not a woman.

So, there’s no evidence that Mary had an inappropriate profession, and there’s no evidence that Mary and Jesus were married.

Well, now that we’ve taken care of a few rumors about Mary, let’s look at what we know about Mary. Let’s center on two points today from what we know about Mary. Let’s also see what we can learn in our own lives from Mary.

First, . . .

‌I. Mary was changed by Jesus.

We don’t know a lot about Mary’s past, but we do know that Jesus dramatically changed Mary.

Listen to Luke 8:1-2: “Afterward he was traveling from one town and village to another, preaching and telling the good news of the kingdom of God. The Twelve were with him, and also some women who had been healed of evil spirits and sicknesses: Mary, called Magdalene (seven demons had come out of her) . . . ” We know that one of the ministries of Jesus was His ability to cast out evil spirits from people. The Gospel of Luke (and the Gospel of Mark) tell us that Mary was one of those. She had seven demons in her, and Jesus miraculously changed her.

Can you imagine the torment that Mary must have gone through having seven demons in her? She had perhaps given up hope that anyone could help her, and then along came Jesus.

Perhaps there was a time in your life when you felt as if all hope was lost, and then along came Jesus.

Jesus changed Mary’s life.

Jesus changed a lot of lives, didn’t He?

Jesus brought hearing to the deaf. Jesus brought sight to the blind. Jesus brought the ability to walk to those who were crippled. Jesus brought clarity to the confused. Jesus brought hope to the hopeless. Jesus brought acceptance to the rejected. Jesus brought faith to the faithless. Jesus brought forgiveness to sinners.

Jesus changed some of the apostles from fishermen to fishers of men. Jesus changed Matthew from a despised tax collector to a devoted God follower. He changed Lazarus from a dead man to an alive man. He changed the thief on the cross from a man doomed for punishment to a man destined for paradise. Jesus changed Paul from one who persecuted Christians, to one who was persecuted for Christ.

As I prepared this sermon I couldn’t help but think of a man who was changed by the power of Jesus. John Newton was once a man who actively participated in the slave trade, and then later convinced by His Christian faith, he turned away from slavery and actually fought against it. He wrote, “I hope it will always be a subject of humiliating reflection to me, that I was once an active instrument in a business at which my heart now shudders.”

Newton also wrote these words, which may be more familiar to many of you, which came to be sung by most churches throughout the world: “Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost, but now I’m found, was blind but now I see.”

Church, Jesus changes people. Jesus changed Mary, and she was changed forever. Seven evil spirits that tormented her were cast out of her by the power of Jesus, and she would never be the same.

What about you? Has Jesus changed you?

Has Jesus set you free from the evil of your sin? Has He brought you new life? Has He shown you a new way? Has He freed you from evil influences and given you a love for godliness? Has He taken away a spirit of greed, anger, selfishness, hate, and lust; and instead given you love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control?

The power of Jesus is a wonder-working power!

Mary was changed by Jesus. Many of us have also been changed by Jesus.

Listen, if you’ve not been changed by Jesus, you can be changed today. Be set free from sin. Be set free from darkness. Be set free from death. Become a new person through the power of Jesus.

Mary was changed. What about you?

Not only was Mary changed, also . . .

‌II. Mary was devoted to Jesus.

Because Jesus changed Mary, she was completely devoted to Jesus.

We see several different ways that Mary was devoted to Jesus

First, as I mentioned earlier, we learn that Mary and others provided out of their own material gain to take care of the needs of Jesus.

Mark 15:40-41 says, “There were also women watching from a distance. Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James the younger and of Joses, and Salome. In Galilee these women followed him and took care of him. Many other women had come up with him to Jerusalem.”

You see, Jesus and the apostles were constantly traveling, and as a result, they had need of food, shelter, supplies, and more.

We know from the Scriptures that often where Jesus and the apostles went, there was Mary of Magdala and other women who helped take care of them.

Ask yourself for a minute: What was in it for these women to follow along with Jesus and the apostles? These women were not the superstars, they were not the ones teaching and healing. They were not the ones written about very often.

These ladies were not following Jesus and helping meet needs because there was something in it for them. Rather, they were devoted to Jesus because He had changed them.

The change in Mary led to the devotion from Mary.

We also learn that Mary was faithful to Jesus even after He had been crucified.

Even before Mary knew that Jesus would rise from the dead, she was there with other women to help take care of Jesus’ dead body.

Mark 16:1 tells us, “When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, so that they could go and anoint him.”

You see, bodies in that time were not treated like they are these days at a professional funeral home. Rather, they had to be treated with spices and such, and someone had to do that.

Mary of Magdala was so devoted to Jesus, that she was willing to anoint His dead body. She was absolutely committed to Him because He had absolutely changed her.

We learn of another time that Mary and others went to check on Jesus’ body.

Matthew 28:1-10 describes this moment: “After the Sabbath, as the first day of the week was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to view the tomb. There was a violent earthquake, because an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and approached the tomb. He rolled back the stone and was sitting on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing was as white as snow. The guards were so shaken by fear of him that they became like dead men. The angel told the women, “Don’t be afraid, because I know you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. He is not here. For 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 indeed he is going ahead of you to Galilee; you will see him there.’ Listen, I have told you.” So, departing quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, they ran to tell his disciples the news. Just then Jesus met them and said, “Greetings!” They came up, took hold of his feet, and worshiped him. Then Jesus told them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to leave for Galilee, and they will see me there.”

Can you imagine this moment for Mary? She went to check on her Lord’s dead body once again, and all of a sudden the ground started shaking, an angel appeared, and she was told that Jesus had risen from the dead.

What’s more, as she and the other women go to tell the other disciples that Jesus had risen, Jesus Himself appeared to them.

Imagine the joy of Mary seeing her risen Lord, totally made new through the power of His resurrection.

Mary took joy in knowing that her commitment to Jesus could continue. She had been devoted to Him during His life, she was committed to Him in His death, and now she could be devoted to Him in His resurrection!

Mary was devoted to Jesus.

Jacki King says in her book, The Calling of Eve, “One of the things that strikes me most about Mary Magdalene is her sold-out commitment to her Savior. He freed her from a life of torment and oppression, and her wholehearted response was to live out her freedom by following her Savior.”

That should be our response as well, shouldn’t it? We should have a wholehearted response to live out our freedom by following our Savior.

Jesus said in John 8:34-36,“Truly I tell you, everyone who commits sin is a slave of sin. A slave does not remain in the household forever, but a son does remain forever. So if the Son sets you free, you really will be free.”

The Son of God, Jesus Christ, had set Mary free, and she was really free; free to live a life of devotion to Jesus.

What about you? Have you been set free? Have you been changed? If so, are you living a life of devotion to Jesus?

‌Bottom Line: When Jesus changes us, everything changes.

That is clearly what the Bible teaches. Everything about us is different in Jesus.

Paul says in 2 Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, and see, the new has come!”

Jesus said in John 5:24 “Truly I tell you, anyone who hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not come under judgment but has passed from death to life.”

Romans 12:2 says, “Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God.”

What would make Mary be so completely devoted to Jesus? Jesus changed her, that’s what!

Brothers and sisters, let us live changed lives because Jesus has changed us!

‌Weekly Challenge #1 – Describe the situation from which Jesus rescued you.

What were you like before you knew Jesus?

What kind of rescue did you experience through Jesus?

Take some time this week and reflect upon the work of Jesus in your life.

‌Weekly Challenge #2 – Identify one way that you can be devoted to Jesus.

How can you demonstrate your devotion to Jesus, as Mary did?

If Jesus has changed you, will you demonstrate that change in your life, in part by being completely devoted to Him?

(Gospel presentation)

(closing prayer)

COPYRIGHT DISCLAIMER: The text contained in this sermon is solely owned by its author. The reproduction, or distribution of this message, or any portion of it, should include the author’s name. The author intends to provide free resources in order to inspire believers and to assist preachers and teachers in Kingdom work.