Monday, April 2, 2012
Note: Today is the 40th anniversary of my public confession of faith and baptism, which occurred on Easter Sunday April 2, 1972. What a tremendous walk with the Lord I've had! In honor of that I'm re-posting something that is very special to me.
In the late 1980s I wrote and performed a dramatic monologue for our church Easter service entitled "Mary Magdalene's Testimony." This photo is from that first performance. I've continued to share it at various churches throughout the years. In 2007 my son uploaded a video of one of my performances onto YouTube and I posted it on my Myspace blog. It just so happened that the movie The Da Vinci Code had been recently released and was still in the mind of the public. Also a T.V. documentary that claimed to have discovered the tomb of Christ aired the week before I posted my video. I did not watch the program and don't recall the title, but the buzz from it created interest in Mary Magdalene. Apparently my unplanned timing for posting my video couldn't have been better. Many people wrote to me asking questions about Mary. To answer them I put together a little summary based on my research and posted it on my Myspace blog as a companion to my video. When I began writing this blog in January 2008, it was one of my first few posts, now buried in my archives. So I deleted that post to re-post it again today, after a little editing and revising.
Mary Magdalene's Testimony
By Tammy L. Hensel
My dramatic monologue "Mary Magdalene's Testimony" focuses primarily on her witness to the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Before writing it in the late 1980s, I spent several weeks researching Mary. To my surprise, I found her to be a controversial figure in church history and denominational debates. I thoroughly studied every word surrounding her in the Bible in several versions. I did not have the Internet then, but did utilize my church and public libraries, Bible commentaries, etc. in my research. I also discussed some of the discrepancies in the Biblical accounts with my pastor.
Finally, with all the research spinning around in my head, I asked the Lord to help me write something glorifying to Him and as true as possible to the Biblical account. I experienced the joy of His Presence as I wrote in a remarkable way that blessed me tremendously. It is my continuing prayer that those with whom I share it will receive that blessing too.
The video below is my presentation at Fellowship of Huntsville Church, Huntsville, TX on Easter 2006. It's not my best performance, but the only one I have on video. Please overlook my bouts of overacting, and focus on the message. Over the years, I've received several requests from people wishing to use the monologue in their own church drama ministry. Feel free to write me for a free copy.
Questions About Mary
Who was she?
* A native of the town of Magdala, a town in Galilee, and a woman out of whom Jesus cast seven demons (Luke 8:1-2)
* One of several women who donated both time and money to help support Jesus' earthly ministry and she was a devoted disciple of His teachings (Luke 8:3).
* An eyewitness to the crucifixion, burial and the resurrection of Christ (Matt. 27:55, Matt 28:1, Mark 15:40, John 20:1-13, Acts 1:14)
Mary was not:
* The woman Jesus saved from being stoned for adultery in John 8:3-11. This woman is unnamed but since this happened in the Mount of Olives region she was most likely a woman local to that region.
* The woman who anointed Jesus' feet with perfume and kissed his feet.
There were actually two separate occurrences of this. In one the woman is identified as Mary of Bethany the sister of Martha and Lazarus. It happened in Bethany at their home (John 12:1-4) Although some tradition would combine the two Marys as one, it is very unlikely given the separate Biblical accounts of these two women.
The other occurred at the home of Simon the Pharisee. (Luke 7:33) The woman is identified merely as a "sinner" and her name is not given. There is no Biblical evidence to connect her with Mary Magdalene or any of the other women who are mentioned by name as being followers of Jesus. It is purely supposition that has done so.
Was Mary a prostitute before becoming a follower of Jesus?
The teaching that Mary was a prostitute came from oral tradition. All we know from the Bible about her past is that she was possessed by seven demons. However, it does not take much imagination to believe that anyone possessed by demons led an unholy life. One cannot deny the possibility that this oral tradition did have some basis in fact, but it cannot be proven through the Biblical record.
Was Mary more intimate with Jesus than any other woman mentioned in connection with Him?
In fact, the women mentioned in the Bible as most intimate terms with Him are his mother, of course, and Mary and Martha of Bethany. It is clear that Jesus was close with that family. Perhaps it is the fact that Mary Magdalene was one of the first people to whom He appeared after the Resurrection that has raised so much speculation about a romantic relationship between them.
I submit, however, that He appeared to Mary first because she was seeking Him! Mary's grief spurred her to seek the truth about what happened to Jesus, regardless of her own safety. When she did find Him and realized He was alive, she did not rush into arms as a lover would have, but fell to the ground and worshiped Him as her Lord God.
The resurrected Christ still makes Himself known to those who seek Him today.
"Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him, and will dine with him and he with Me." Revelations 3:20
Copyright April 17, 2007. Revised April 2, 2012 Tammy L. Hensel All Rights Reserved