July 2019 Letter

The Apostle to the Apostles:

July 22nd is the Festival Day of St. Mary Magdala in the church calendar year. While much has been written about Mary Magdalene by historians, most of it has been false or misleading. For example, Dan Brown in his best-selling novel, The DaVinci Code, purports that she was the wife of Jesus Christ and together they had a daughter named Sarah. Ancient teachers of the Church were of the opinion that Mary Magdalene was the prostitute who anointed Jesus’ feet in Luke 7:36-50. But none of these stories are true from what God’s Holy Word reveals to us.

What is obvious is that Mary Magdalene was an important servant of Jesus in the early Church. Whenever the New Testament Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, & John) name the women who were with Jesus, Mary Magdalene is listed first (with the exception of John 19:25), perhaps because she was the first to see the risen Savior alive. Luke 8:2 reports Jesus cured her of being possessed by seven demons. There is no biblical basis that identifies her as the penitent prostitute in Luke 7:36-50, despite early Church historians’ views. Nor is she to be identified with Mary, the sister of Martha, in Bethany. According to the Gospels, Mary Magdalene saw Jesus die; she witnessed His burial; and most importantly, she was the first to see Him alive after His resurrection (John 20:11-18).

Mary Magdalene was present at all the major events in Jesus' life. She was there during His ministry, she heard Him teach, preach, heal, and perform miracles, and she may have been the major financial backer sustaining Him and His disciples. She was there during the crucifixion and death of Jesus, remaining faithful to the very end. Most importantly, she was there at the resurrection, the first witness of this world-changing event, and charged by the angel to go and tell the others. It is for good reason that Bernard of Clairvaux calls her “the apostle to the apostles”. Because of Mary’s witness, all who repent and believe in Jesus as their Lord and Savior receive the promise of eternal life in heaven, “Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life” (Rev. 2:10b).

 

July Blessings!

 

Pastor David A. Feddern