The recent Bible miniseries that showed on cable television and it’s sequel, the movie Son of God, gave the very definite idea that Mary Magdalene was one of Jesus twelve disciples. She is seen with Jesus shortly after the calling of Peter and then is visible with Him throughout his journeys and during His years of ministry. She is give as much importance in the film as any of the disciples. Was Mary a disciple? Did she travel with Jesus during His ministry? Was she there among the twelve as another close disciple of Jesus?
The gospels give absolutely no indication that Mary traveled around, participated in Jesus ministry or sat under His long term teaching. Mary Magdalene was a follower of Jesus. She was probably one of the 120 disciples that gathered together after Jesus’ death and resurrection. She was probably part of the first church in Jerusalem. We know she was one of the ladies who went to Jesus’ tomb on Sunday morning and found it empty. She was one of the ladies who first told the disciples about the resurrection. She was the first person to see Jesus after He was restored to life. Mary Magdalene was definitely one of those who loved Jesus and worshiped Him as God the Savior.
However, Mary Magdalene was not a disciple. The Bible gives us a definite list of the twelve disciples. Matthew, Mark, Luke and Acts each give a list of the disciples. Mary is not mentioned in any of those lists. Mary isn’t mentioned in the next anywhere close to those lists. Instead, Mary Magdalene is mentioned in only three Biblical scenes. Mary Magdalene first shows up in the gospels about a year and half into Jesus’ ministry. She is not in the picture for at least the first half of Jesus’ public ministry. The earliest reference to Mary is in Luke 8:2-3. She is part of a group of ladies that provided food for Jesus as He preached throughout Galilee. The only other direct references to Mary Magdalene are found in connection with Jesus’ death and resurrection. She is most likely a part of the group of believing women mentioned in Acts 1. Aside from this, we have no other direct information about Mary Magdalene.
Mary Magdalene loved and served Jesus. He healed her, driving seven demons out of her. She worshiped Him and believed Him to be God and the promised Savior. She was not one of the twelve. She had no special position or relationship with Jesus other than that held by every Christian.