Last Fall I preached a series of sermons here at St. Margaret’s about ‘Bible People you Might Not Remember’. These were not the ‘stars’ of the biblical stories; they weren’t the people who would have gotten their names up in lights in movies. They were the ‘ordinary people’ in Bible times, the people who were only mentioned a few times in the scriptures. But their stories are still interesting and compelling, and there’s a lot for us to learn from them about how God uses folks just like you and me in his plan to share his love and his message with the world.
Well, I had a lot of good comments about that series, and since there’s no shortage of Bible people to talk about, I thought I’d have another kick at the cat this Fall. So for the next six weeks we’re going to think about ‘More Bible People You May Not Remember’. And we’re going to start today with the story of Mary Magdalene.
Now, I must admit right off the bat that Mary Magdalene is hardly unknown these days. Thanks to Dan Brown and his bestselling book The DaVinci Code, pretty well everyone knows – or at least thinks they know – that Mary Magdalene was secretly married to Jesus, that they had children whose descendants are still alive today, and that there is a secret society, the Priory of Sion, that exists to protect those descendants and preserve this story. And because everyone loves a good conspiracy theory, especially if it involves taking a kick at the Catholic Church, these ideas continue to thrive in our popular culture, despite the fact that the overwhelming majority of historians think there’s absolutely no evidence for them.
I’m not going to spend any time today going through the various theories mentioned in Dan Brown’s book; it would take a good hour just to examine them all, and I don’t think you want to sit here for an hour while I do it. What I want to do instead is simply to examine what we can actually know about Mary Magdalene from the pages of the New Testament, and then ask what her story has to say to us today as twenty-first century followers of Jesus.
Read the rest here.