Now it came to pass, afterward, that He went through every city and village, preaching and bringing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God. And the twelve were with Him, and certain women who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities–Mary called Magdalene, out of whom had come seven demons, and Joanna the wife of Chuza, Herod’s steward, and Susanna, and many others who provided for Him from their substance. (Luke 8:1-3)
What was Mary Magdalene’s occupation before she met Jesus? If you said prostitute, many heads in Christendom are nodding affirmatively.
Here’s the problem….. Although the bible mentions nothing to indicate that this Mary was ever a prostitute, her mythical sin has been supported by what could at best be called poor biblical scholarship, and probably is more accurately described as one the greatest and longest lasting items of historical gossip, having survived to date for nearly two thousand years. Mel Gibson even promoted this distortion in his movie, The Passion of the Christ.
Poor Mary Magdalene. I sure hope all the worst things I have actually done have been long forgotten here on earth by the time the living witnesses to my more notable sins are also gone, and that my legacy isn’t one wrongly assumed and then passed on and perpetrated by gossiping tongues over thousands of years!
In Luke’s account, Mary is counted in a wonderful group of women who followed Jesus and provided daily logistical support. They cooked and provided food to the Lord (who could feed five thousand on a crumb). The King of Kings made a decision to be humble and rely on the generosity of others. He created all the world’s gold, silver and diamonds. He could create all the food He needed. He could make it rain quail, but He chose to allow His daily bread to be provided for Him by an eclectic group of relatively poor women. The Lord taught me a few lessons about receiving last year. I wonder what He in higher esteem, good giving or good receiving? Do you think it reveals Jesus better in our lives to be a self reliant but generous giver, or the humility required to quietly receive from others as God’s providence?
Some claim on proof as thin as smoke that Mary really was a prostitute, so let’s examine her case as if it were true. It really doesn’t speak very well of us as Followers that we are remembering her past sin and overlooking her transformation in Christ. Would any of us really care to be remembered by our worst moments? The bible reveals God not remembering our sins anymore when we seek His forgiveness in several scriptures. Hebrews 8:12 says, “For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.” In Jeremiah 31:34 we read, “…For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.” In Isaiah 43:25 it says, “I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions for My own sake; and I will not remember your sins.”
Many claiming to be in Christ say that they forgive but do not forget. Some even say this proudly, yet God has assured us that by the measure we forgive, His forgiveness to us will be measured. Let’s let Mary off the hook. Not just Mary Magdalene, but all the Marys in our life, especially the Marys with salacious sin that goads our desire to gossip, and makes us want to never forget.
Who has past sin that is still on your tongue even after God has long forgotten it? What mythical sin are you keeping alive without any real knowledge that it ever occurred?
I will remember no more….
In His Mighty Grip,