Mary Magdalene: Was She Jesus' Wife?
By: Donald V. Watkins
©Copyrighted and Published on November 10, 2019
Two thousand years ago, a relationship was formed between Jesus of Nazareth and Mary of Magdalene, a vibrant young girl who lived in Magdala, a city of 40,000 residents who were mostly poor and outcast members of society in Judea. In the Greek language of the Gospels, Magdala was called "Magdalene”.
Mary's parents were poor. She eventually became a local prostitute who sold her body for sexual pleasures in order to survive. Despite her loss of innocence and sins, Mary always sought a better life than the one she was living.
Two years before his crucifixion, Jesus travelled four miles on the dusty road from Capernaum to Magdala as he spread the Gospel. While in Magdala, Jesus was invited to dinner at the home of the local Pharisee, Simon. The purpose of the dinner was to discuss Jesus' teachings about the Kingdom of God, which upset the Pharisees. Simon despised Jesus for his teaching.
Upon Jesus' arrival at Simon's house, the Pharisee failed to provide Jesus the customary water to wash the dust from his feet, or a respectful kiss of greeting on the cheek, or an anointment with olive oil.
Simon had invited Mary Magdalene (who was by then a prostitute in town) to his home as part of a plot to tempt Jesus and test his faith. Mary silently entered the room holding a jar of expensive alabaster perfume. Even though she was a prostitute, Mary Magdalene had come to believe in the love and acceptance preached by Jesus. Luke 7:37-50.
Mary stood behind Jesus weeping, and she began to wash his feet with her tears and wipe them with her hair. She kissed his feet and anointed them with ointment.
Jesus pointed out to Simon that Mary had extended to him the customary hospitality for invited guests that Simon had withheld. At that moment, Jesus forgave Mary of her sins and told her, "Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace."
Mary departed Simon's home, but not Jesus' life. Even though Mary was not selected by Jesus to serve as one of his disciples at that time, she accompanied Jesus and the twelve disciples as they traveled the land, and she never returned to the life she had once known. Luke 8:1-3. Mary, along with several other women named in the Bible, "ministered unto him of their substance."
While women in Jesus' time were considered equal to men, their worldly duties and responsibilities were separate. Jesus, himself, treated women better than they are treated in modern times. For example, Jesus intervened and stopped the stoning death of a woman who was accused of adultery. John 8:3-11. He also told Martha, the sister of Lazarus of Bethany, that her sister Mary made the right choice when Mary decided to sit at Jesus' feet and listened to his teachings, rather than perform the housework needed to serve him during his visit to their home. Luke 10:38-42.
For reasons that are not fully explained in the Gospels that were eventually selected by religious men for inclusion in the Bible as we know it today, Jesus exhibited a particular affection for Mary Magdalene after their meeting at Simon's house.
She followed Jesus from Galilee and around the towns and villages in Judea. Mary Magdalene "ministered unto him." Matt. 27-55-56. She attended the Last Supper with Jesus and his disciples. The most renowned portrayal of Mary's attendance at the Last Supper is Leonardo da Vinci's famous painting of the Last Supper, which shows Mary seated to the right of Jesus. The painting is depicted in the respected Chronological Guide to the Bible (at page 172), published by Thomas Nelson, Inc., 2010.
Only twelve individuals appear with Jesus in Leonardo da Vinci's painting because Judas Iscariot left the dinner immediately after Jesus dipped his bread into the bowl and handed it to Judas, which is how Jesus identified Judas as the person who betrayed him. John 13:18-30. This left Jesus, the eleven other disciples, and Mary Magdalene at the dinner table to continue the supper, as depicted in the da Vinci painting.
Mary was also present at Gethsemane as she waited for Jesus to finish praying on the night of his arrest. Even though Jesus knew that his death was imminent, he asked God to spare his crucifixion. God remained silent, and Jesus accepted his Heavenly fate. Matt. 26:36-56; Mark 14:32-52; Luke 22:39-53; and John 18:1-11.
Mary Magdalene stood at the foot of the cross, along with Jesus' mother and aunt, during his crucifixion. John 19: 25. The Bible does not explain why she was chosen to attend the crucifixion at this spot, alongside Jesus' mother and her sister.
When Jesus saw his mother and the "disciple" standing by her, whom he loved, he said to his mother, "Woman, behold thy son." John 19:26. At that moment, Jesus seemed to elevate Mary Magdalene to "disciple" status, as all of the original twelve disciples had fled the scene, or deserted Jesus, or were otherwise in hiding out of fear for their lives.
During the long procession to the crucifixion site at Golgotha, Jesus turned to the crowd that followed him and made this spontaneous proclamation, "Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children .... Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bare, and the paps which never gave suck." Luke 23: 28-29. Even though Jesus died for the sins of man/womankind, Jesus seemed to prophesy that the Daughters of Jerusalem would suffer infertility for a long time.
Was Mary Magdalene included in this group of women? Obviously not, as Mary was hours away from being elevated to "disciple" status at the foot of the cross. From there, Mary would become a powerful witness to the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus.
Mary Magdalene was the first and only person to see the resurrected Jesus at the burial tomb. Mark 16:9; John 20:15-17. At the resurrection, Jesus called her, "Woman," as he had done with his mother at the foot of the cross. Jesus said to Mary, "Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend to my Father, and your Father, and to my God, and your God." John 20:17. It is important to note that Jesus used the term "Brethren" and not "disciples" in his instructions to Mary. For the "disciples" had denied him and deserted him after his arrest.
Mary left the tomb and broke the news of Jesus' resurrection to the other disciples.
Weeks later, Mary Magdalene, along with Jesus' mother and the other "disciples," watched Jesus ascend into Heaven. Acts 1:14.
After the Ascension, Mary Magdalene disappears from recorded Biblical history.
Was Mary Magdalene Jesus' wife? Yes. Was she pregnant with Jesus' child when he addressed the Daughters of Jerusalem on the way to his crucifixion? Probably. Is this why Jesus first revealed himself only to Mary Magdalene after he was resurrected? Yes. Did Mary Magdalene flee Jerusalem after Jesus' message to the Daughters of Jerusalem and his ascension to Heaven? Yes.