Saturday 22 July 2017

Bible Book:

“He went on through cities and villages, proclaiming and bringing the good news of the kingdom of God.” (v. 1)

Luke 8:1-3 Saturday 22 July 2017

Psalm: Psalm 63:1-8


In some parts of the global Churchtoday, Christians are remembering particularly the life and exampleof Mary Magdalene. Mary appears in all four Gospels and isdistinguished from the other women who share her name by theappellation 'Magdalene'. This is not a surname but refers to thetown from which she came, Magdala. This was on the western shore ofthe Sea of Galilee, in the north of modern-day Israel.

Mary Magdalene plays a very importantpart in the story of Jesus' death and resurrection. She is amongthe faithful women who remain with Jesus during his crucifixion (John19:25), she helps with his burial and anointing (Luke20:55-56), and is one of the first to encounter the risenChrist (Luke 24:1-10). John's Gospel tells us that shealone went to the empty tomb on that first Easter Sunday morning,and had the vital task of telling everyone else the good news ofthe resurrection (John 20:1-18).

Mark's Gospel gives us some tantalisingadditional information about Mary, saying that she was among thewomen who used to follow Jesus and "provided for him when he was inGalilee" (Mark 15:40-41). However, it is today's fewverses from Luke that alone give us any information about Marybefore the events of the crucifixion. Apparently, she and the otherfemale followers of Jesus were vital in providing the financialresources for his missionary work (verse 3).

The references in the Gospels to Marymake clear that she was an important woman in the life of the EarlyChurch, and that her example was widely respected. There is noevidence to link her to the unnamed woman in Luke 7:36-50, nor tobelieve she was ever a prostitute, nor to assert that she wasespecially sinful. Like many passages in Acts and the letters ofPaul, this one is a very important reminder of the vital - andsadly often overlooked - role that women played in the ministry ofJesus and the life of his Church.

To Ponder

  • What might you learn from the example of Mary Magdalene in ourGospels?
  • Why do you think the role of Mary, and the other women whofollowed Jesus, has not perhaps been given as much recognition asit should have been by the Church?
  • What might this passage reveal about the different roles we arecalled to play in following Jesus?
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