Mary Magdalene is one of the most speculated about people in the New Testament. Even in early Gnostic writings from the second century, wild claims have been made about her that simply are not true.
We do know that Jesus Christ cast seven demons out of Mary (Luke 8:1-3). After that, she became a follower of Jesus, along with several other women. Mary proved to be more loyal to Jesus than his own 12 apostles. Instead of hiding, she stood near the cross as Jesus died. She also went to the tomb to anoint his body with spices.
In movies and books, Mary Magdalene is often portrayed as a prostitute, but nowhere does the Bible make that claim. Dan Brown's 2003 novel The Da Vinci Code invents a scenario in which Jesus and Mary Magdalene were married and had a child. Nothing in the Bible or history supports such a notion.
The heretical Gospel of Mary, often attributed to Mary Magdalene, is a gnostic forgery dating from the second century. Like other gnostic gospels, it uses a famous person's name to try to legitimize its content.
Mary Magdalene's Accomplishments:
Mary stayed with Jesus during his crucifixion when others fled in fear.
Mary Magdalene was honored by being the first person Jesus appeared to after his resurrection.
Mary Magdalene's Strengths:
Mary Magdalene was loyal and generous. She is listed among women who helped support Jesus' ministry from their own funds.
Her great faith earned special affection from Jesus.
Being a follower of Jesus Christ will result in hard times. When Mary told the apostles Jesus had risen, none of them believed her. Yet she never wavered. Mary Magdalene knew what she knew. As Christians, we too will be the target of ridicule and distrust, but we must hold onto the truth. Jesus is worth it.
Magdala, on the Sea of Galilee.
Referenced in the Bible:
Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. (NIV)
Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joseph saw where he was laid. (NIV)
Jesus said to her, "Mary." She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, "Rabboni!" (which means "Teacher"). Jesus said, "Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, 'I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.'" Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: "I have seen the Lord!" And she told them that he had said these things to her. (NIV)