Although Mary Magdalen is, in the popular imagination, a reformed prostitute, it is not at all clear that the repentant woman who anointed Jesus’ feet with oil is the same as Mary Magdalen. This conflation appears to have been started by Pope Gregory the Great in a sermon in September 591 CE.
The gospel references to the woman named Mary of Magdala specify that she was one of the women who accompanied Jesus and the Twelve, and “provided for them out of their own resources” as Jesus preached the Good News throughout Galilee.
So, first of all, she helped bankroll Jesus’ ministry. This is a pretty important contribution!!
She is the most frequently named woman in the New Testament, and she is generally named first in a list, most likely indicating leadership (as when Peter’s name is listed first when he is named along with others).
She is named as one of the women who stood by and witnessed the crucifixion; and as one of the women who set out Sunday morning to anoint Jesus’ body, and discovered the empty tomb. In John and Mark, she is the first person to whom the Risen Lord appears. She brings the news that he is risen to the others.
Mary Magdalen, Apostle to the Apostles.
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Click through to read much, much more – about Mary Magdalen in scripture, Gnostic legends, patristic writers, and the Middle Ages.