14: “He Shall Rise … with Healing in His Wings” (March 30–April 12)
What do you know about the Marys? That’s right, Marys. There are actually several Marys mentioned throughout the New Testament, and many had a personal connection to the Savior. In this week’s Sunday on Monday study group, we’re going to learn more about four of these Marys: Mary the mother of Jesus, Mary of Bethany, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the wife of Cleopas and their powerful testimonies of the Savior.
Cultural Norms for women in Palestine around the time of the Savior:
- Strictly Patriarchal, women were to be unobserved in public life.
- Prior to marriage, women answered to their fathers.
- The marriage process involved a marriage contract starting at around 11-12 years of age; a one year period of waiting, and then the woman would move into the home of her husband where he then held complete authority.
- Women were obligated to obey their husbands as strictly as slaves obey their masters.
- Women rarely had any formal schooling; literacy rates were low.
- Women could not hold positions in public office.
- Women were discouraged from moving freely or openly in society
- If women were out in public, they were required to wear veils, which also indicated marital status. Veiled: married; Un-Veiled: single.
- Women’s status in society depended on the status of a father or husband (Luke 7).
All of the facts mentioned above are found in this video featuring Ross Baron: Ross Baron, BYUI 2018 Education Week
Daily morning prayer of first century Jewish men:
Blessed are you, Hashem, our God, King of the universe, Who did not make me a gentile.
Blessed are you, Hashem, our God, King of the universe, Who did not make me a slave.
Blessed are you, Hashem, our God, King of the universe, Who did not make me a woman.
Elder James E. Talmage (1862–1933) of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles wrote:
“The world’s greatest champion of woman and womanhood is Jesus the Christ.” (James E. Talmage, Jesus the Christ, 475).
How did Christ’s actions differ from the cultural norms?
- He had deep doctrinal discussions with women.
- He first declared his messiahship to a woman at the well. The woman was both a Samaritan woman and an adulterer, two things that would have ostracized her from society (John 4:5-30).
- Women traveled with him and were invited to be his disciples (Book of Luke).
- He allowed an “unclean” woman to touch him and he did not cast her out. (Luke 8:43-48)
- He allowed women to unveil their heads and anoint him. (Matt. 26:7-13, Mark 14:3-9, Luke 7:37-50)
- Women were witnesses to the resurrection, they witnessed angels and testified to the apostles, compared to some men who were initially unbelieving and were convinced to go to the tomb and look. (Matthew 28:1-10, Mark 16:1-11, John 20:1-18)
Synoptic: Seen with one eye. Though the gospels are separate recordings of events, all four can be seen with “one eye.” (See "synopsis" at Online Etymology Dictionary)
- What John recorded is 93% unique to his writings, meaning 93% of what he wrote is not found in Matthew, Mark, or Luke.
- Mark is the most inclusive, what 93% of what Mark recorded is found in the other three gospels.
- All four gospels tell of Mary Magdalene, Salome, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and other women accompanying Jesus to his death; anointing and burying his body, viewing the empty tomb, and experiencing his risen presence.
“The message first given to women is proof of the historicity of the account because had these accounts been fabricated by over zealous patriarchal men, they would have never included the witness of women in a society that a female witness was not valid or legal. A woman couldn’t be a witness in first century Palestine.” (Ross Baron, BYUI Education Week 2018, Time stamp, 9:18)
During his mortal ministry, the Lord Jesus Christ loved, taught, healed, and interacted with numerous women. More than fifty specific women are introduced in the New Testament, with multitudes of others numbered among the Savior's followers. Whether these women were identified individually by name or simply mentioned as a devout follower in the crowd, their stories of sacrifice and eager service have rich meaning and application for our lives today.
In this well-researched and richly illustrated companion volume to Women of the Old Testament, author Camille Fronk Olson focuses on many of these remarkable women and explores the influence of Jesus Christ and his gospel on women living in the meridian of time.
Genealogy of Jesus Christ: Mathew 1:1-16
There were 42 men and 5 women listed in Christ’s genealogy. Camille Frank Olsen's theory about why women were included in His genealogy includes:
“The women were all in some way accused of behaving scandalously but were later recognized for their wisdom in preserving the Messiah’s lineage.” (Camille Fronk Olsen, Women of the New Testament, pg 46)
Who were the different Mary’s?
- Mary, Mother of Jesus
Mother of Jesus (Matthew 1:16)
- Mary Magdalene
Seven devils were cast out of her (Luke 8:2)
All 4 gospels agree that Mary was at the tomb, and the first to see Jesus post-resurrection (Mark 16:1,9).
- Mary, sister of Martha and Lazarus
- Mary, mother of James and Joses
Commonly known as “the other Mary.”
Her husband is Cleopas from the road to Emmaus.
- Mary, mother of Mark
She was the mother of Mark (Acts 12:12)
Even though there are many books written about Mary, most of the information we have about Mary, the mother of Jesus, is apocryphal.
Apocryphal: “A story or statement of doubtful authenticity, although widely circulated as being true” (see Lexico Dictionary).
"6 And whoso receiveth not by the Spirit, cannot be benefited. Therefore it is not needful that it should be translated. Amen" (D&C 91:1-6).
Glorious Truths About Mary, Mother of Jesus, Susan Easton Black
Throughout the world, millions of devout followers of Christ look to the Virgin Mary as a sacred figure, a woman to be revered and worshipped. While Latter-day Saints do not worship this chosen vessel of the Lord, we do esteem Mary as one of the most influential people in history. Her faithfulness changed the course of the world, but even so, much detail of her life remains unknown to most. In Glorious Truths about Mary, Mother of Jesus, readers are invited to join distinguished LDS scholar Susan Easton Black on a journey of discovery spanning the life and legacy of this unparalleled faith-filled giant. Discover, through scriptural and historical sources, the compelling look at how Mary, mother of Jesus, has been characterized over the centuries and the true story and lasting influence she has had—this woman whose incomparable example continues to guide and inspire religious women today.
What do we know about Mary?
- Isaiah prophesied about her when he said: “ Behold a virgin shall conceive and bear a son” (Isaiah 7:14).
- Mary was the only woman mentioned in holy writ by name, before her birth (1 Nephi 11:13-15, 18, Mosiah 3:8, Alma 7:10).
- Mary is the only mother who has known the joy of rearing a sinless son.
- Mary was chosen of the Lord before her birth.
- Mary led a life of humble obedience.
- Mary visited Elizabeth, the wife of Zacharias and mother of John the Baptist, where she bore her testimony of the Savior (Luke 1:39-56, Testimony: Luke 1:46-56).
“To date, there is not a trustworthy or canonized (a collection or list of sacred books accepted as genuine) history of Mary (Susan Easton Black, Glorious Truths about Mary, Mother of Jesus, Covenant Communications, 2018).
When Mary is told by the angel Gabriel that she is to be the mother of the Son of God, she replies:
"And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her" (Luke 1:38).
Magnificat: Means a song or a hymn, essentially “Mary’s Song” (see dictionary.com).
"50 And his mercy is on them that fear him from generation to generation.
"53 He hath filled the hungry with good things; and the rich he hath sent empty away.
What are some of the trials Mary faced?
- She had arduous travel to Bethlehem to pay taxes to Caesar while she was with child.
- She gave birth in a limestone cave in the desert that bordered Bethlehem.
- She journeyed back to Nazareth after an angel told Joseph in a dream to return home. (Matthew 2:19-23)
- She endured losing her son for three days during passover from caravan, while Jesus was at the temple in Jerusalem talking with learned scholars.
Interpolate: Adding information about what would have happened in similar situations, which sheds light on what it might have been like for Mary (see dictionary.com).
Mary and the Crucifixion:
She was among women who followed him as disciples and were present at his crucifixion (John 19:25-27).
What do we know about Mary of Bethany, the sister of Martha and Lazarus?
- She sat at the Savior’s feet and listened while Martha cooked. (Luke 10:37-42)
- She sent for Jesus when her brother died (John 11).
- She anointed the feet and head of Jesus with ointment (Matthew 26:6-13, Mark 14:3-9, John 12:3-8) (This is not the same woman in Luke 7 who anointed his head and bathed his feet with her tears whom Jesus said “though her sins are many”).
Anointing Christ’s Head and Feet: John 12:3-8
Bethany is 2 miles from Jerusalem.
(John 12:1) 6 Days before Passover, Saturday night, it is the Savior's last observed Sabbath week (which starts Friday sundown and ends Saturday sundown) before the Savior is crucified.
The price of the ointment is nearly a year's wage. In the King James Version of the Bible, denarii is translated into “pence,” and the ointment is described as costing 300 pence (John 12:5, Mark 14:5). For reference, in Matthew we learn that one days labor is around 1 denarius (King James Version translates into “penny”). 200 denarii (or pence) could provide a meal for 5,000 men. (Mark 6:37,44).
"Some of the people present interpreted her actions as anointing him as the Messiah—as prophets, priests, and kings were anointed on their heads in connection with a call to serve (ex. 28:41) Her service focusing on his feet, indicates that she knew he was to die and would live again" (Camille Fronk Olsen, Women of the New Testament, pg. 164).
One biblical scholar teaches that in antiquity (historical writings), one anointed the head of a live person and the feet of a corpse. In other words, this was the anointing that one would typically receive at one’s burial (Camille Fronk Olsen, Women of the New Testament)
*John 12:12 the next day was Sunday, or Palm Sunday, the triumphal entry
"8 For the poor always ye have with you; but me ye have not always" (JST John 12:7-8, footnote A).
JST for footnote A of verse 7: "for she hath preserved this ointment until now, that she might anoint me in token of my burial" (John 12:7).
“Again Jesus announces that the Lord Jehovah shall die (Isaiah 53:9), and in doing so lets us know that Mary at least, foreknew and realized what her beloved Lord would soon face” (Bruce R. McConkie, Doctrinal New Testament Commentary Vol 1, 700).
Pope Gregory the 1st, of St. Clement in Rome, was one of the first to incorrectly identify the sinful woman in Luke 7:37-50 as Mary Magdalene, using the term peccatrix, which means a female sinner or transgressor. (see Latin dictionary). He did not use the term for a prostitute, which is meretrix (see Merriam Webster). Pope Gregory quoted John 8, calling her the penitent prostitute and conflating all of the Marys into one. This has influenced many perceptions of Mary Magdalene, except for the Eastern Orthodox faith. She has been venerated for centuries in their faith because they read the original Greek.
Mandy’s 3 Myths About Mary Magdalene Busted
1. She is not the sinful woman mentioned in Luke 7
Pope Gregory the 1st, of St. Clement in Rome, was one of the first to incorrectly identify the sinful woman in Luke 7:37-50 as Mary Magdalene, using the term peccatrix, which means a female sinner or transgressor (see Latin dictionary). He did not use the term for a prostitute, which is meretrix (see Merriam Webster). Pope Gregory quoted John 8, calling her the penitent prostitute and conflating all of the Marys into one. This has influenced many perceptions of Mary Magdalene, except for the Eastern Orthodox faith. She has been venerated for centuries in their faith because they read the original Greek.
Peccatrix: A female sinner or transgressor (see Latin dictionary).
Meretrix: A prostitute (see Merriam Webster).
2. What does Magdala mean?
Magdala is usually thought of as a city, but there was no city of this name at the time, according to Josephus in “The Jewish War.” (Josephus’s The Jewish War, Martin Goodman, 2019, Princeton University Press). The city was actually thought to be named Tarichea. It was a fishing town with a hippodrome, there were around 40 thousand inhabitants. The city was destroyed in 67 A.D. by emperor Vespasian. (Margaret Starbird, Bride In Exile 2005, pg 54)
Migdal: tower (see Bible Hub Lexicon)
Migdalah: feminine version of tower (see Bible Hub Lexicon)
Ma Gadol: Mary the Great (see Bible Hub Lexicon)
3. Seven Devils
"3 And Joanna the wife of Chuza Herod’s steward, and Susanna, and many others, which ministered unto him of their substance" (Luke 8:1-3).
Daimon in greek is defined as: “1. a god or goddess, a divine power 2. power that controls one's fate or destiny, 3. being that is higher than man, lower than god. 4. a demon or an evil spirit” (See Liddell Scott Lexicon and Thayer’s and Smith’s Bible Dictionary).
Mary Magdalene was the first Witness to the Resurrected Savior:
"2 Then she runneth, and cometh to Simon Peter, and to the other adisciple, whom Jesus loved, and saith unto them, They have taken away the bLord out of the sepulchre, and we know not where they have laid him.
"3 Peter therefore went forth, and that other disciple, and came to the sepulchre.
"4 So they ran both together: and the other disciple did outrun Peter, and came first to the sepulchre.
"5 And he stooping down, and looking in, saw the linen clothes lying; yet went he not in.
"6 Then cometh Simon Peter following him, and went into the sepulchre, and seeth the linen clothes lie,
"8 Then went in also that other disciple, which came first to the sepulchre, and he saw, and believed.
"10 Then the disciples went away again unto their own home.
"11 ¶ But Mary stood without at the sepulchre weeping: and as she wept, she stooped down, and looked into the sepulchre,
"13 And they say unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? She saith unto them, Because they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him.
"15 Jesus saith unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou? She, supposing him to be the gardener, saith unto him, Sir, if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away.
"18 Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord, and that he had spoken these things unto her" (John 20:1-18).
JST for footnote A of verse 17: "hold me not" (John 20:17).
Apostolos: the one who is sent forth. (See Bible Study Tools).
Rabboni: Master (see Merriam's Webster).
What do we know about Mary, mother of James and Joses?
- She is referred to as the “other Mary” (Mark 15:47)
- She was present at the cross,(Matthew 27:56, Mark 15:40) the burial (Matthew 27:28, 56; Mark 15:40 16:1, Luke 24:10) and at the tomb in the morning (Matthew 28:1, Mark 16:1; Luke 24:10)
- She is also referred to as the “the wife of Cleopas.” Cleopas was Joseph’s brother, making Cleopas an uncle to Jesus. (John 19:25).
Women as Witnesses of the Resurrection
Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Salome the mother of James and John, and other unnamed women were some of the first people to hear and witness the resurrection of the Savior. It was women who were honored with a visitation from the resurrected Lord, and they were also sent as messengers to tell Peter and the other disciples (Matthew 28:1-10).
"14 And they talked together of all these things which had happened.
"17 And he said unto them, What manner of communications are these that ye have one to another, as ye walk, and are sad?
"18 And the one of them, whose name was aCleopas, answering said unto him, Art thou only a stranger in Jerusalem, and hast not known the things which are come to pass there in these days?" (Luke 24:13-18)
Sister Linda K. Burton’s invitation to us:
"When life seems unfair, as it must have seemed to Martha at the death of her brother—when we experience the heartaches of loneliness, infertility, loss of loved ones, missing opportunities for marriage and family, broken homes, debilitating depression, physical or mental illness, stifling stress, anxiety, addiction, financial hardship, or a plethora of other possibilities—may we remember Martha and declare our similar certain witness: “But I know … [and] I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God.” (Linda K. Burton, "Certain Women," April General Conference, 2017.)
There are so many Marys in the narrative of the Savior's life and it used to really confuse me. And I'm going to totally be honest with you, I think I even confused myself whenever I taught it in seminary, so sorry to all my students, if any of you are listening. But as I was thinking about this lesson, the one that you guys are going to have for two weeks, I wanted to dig into it because it's the Easter break lesson in the Come, Follow Me manual.
And I thought it would be so powerful to study it through the eyes of the Marys. We'll talk about these women and the role they played in the Savior's life, in His crucifixion, in His burial, and in His resurrection.
Welcome to the Sunday on Monday Study Group, a Deseret Bookshelf PLUS+ original brought to you by LDS Living where we take the Come, Follow Me lesson for the week and we really dig into the scriptures together. I'm your host, Tammy Uzelac Hall.
Now, if you're new to our study group, we want to make sure that you know how to use this podcast. Maybe you're an overachiever, not like me, who likes to get your scripture study done all in one day. Well you can listen to the full study group discussion all at once, but you could also listen to it in segments, which I think is pretty nice. One segment per day as you study, and a segment lasts around 10 to 12 minutes. At the end of each segment, you're going to hear some music play, like remember those storybooks when you were a little kid and it played "bling," that's kind of what we do. At the end of the segment, you're going to hear that so listen for the music, and then you'll know the segment is over.
Another awesome thing about our study group is that each week we're joined by two of my friends. And it's a little different each week because I get to invite new people. Today we've got two people that I love, Sharon Staples and Mandy Green. Hi, friends.
Hello, my friend.
Hello, welcome to all our listeners.
Okay, I'm really excited about this episode. Sharon?
Yes, I am too. I have never studied so hard in my life about Mary, and I have a testimony of her now.
Yes, well, and Sharon and I are so excited because we have Mandy Green, who is our Hebrew teacher. And we've known each other for what, five years now? We've been studying Hebrew together in your house at your kitchen table. And when I thought about what the lesson was, I mean, it really did come with very clear to me, "Study Easter through the eyes of the Marys," and then of course joking I'm like, "I'm going to call it 'Have a very Mary Easter.'"
Perfect, oh yeah great.
Because I'm such a goof. So that's what we're gonna do, we're going to have a very Mary Easter. Now if you want to know what these ladies look like, you can find pictures and more information about them and about each study group that we have every week, you'll find that in our show notes, which is at LDSLiving.com/SundayonMonday.
Or Sports Illustrated. Totally kidding.
Or People. No, probably not People.
What's the other one?
Globe. That's where Sharon's gonna be. Us Weekly.
So this lesson this week covers the crucifixion and the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Now women played a very important role in these events, especially the Marys, and I knew I needed Sharon and Mandy to help me. Normally I'm the one who teaches everything, but I just didn't feel like we could do that this time because you both know so much about your Marys. Sharon knows about Mary more than I do, about Mary the mother of Christ, and Mandy, you have made Mary Magdalene you're, I don't even know what...
She is my holy grail in more ways than one.
I learn more about her from you than anything. All right, let's talk about it. You ready to do this?
Okay. Friends, grab your scriptures. Let's dig in. Here we go. I think it's super important for us to talk about women at the time of Christ, and how they were seen and how they were valued. And it kind of made me think back to like my own experience in this world as a woman. Like I remember the first job I had out of college, and I was just ready to hit the ground running. And I remember I had a male... what's the word?
Mentor, tutor, boss.
Boss. I couldn't think of the word. I could not think of the word "boss." My boss, maybe that's why it was so bad, I'm like, "You're not my boss." It was awful. Like it was really bad. I never had anyone treat me as a subordinate like he did. I was really worth nothing in his eyes and it was shocking to me because I thought I was the bomb. You know, I'm ready to like save the world and be a humanitarian as a social worker.
And I'm not sure if it was because he was a man or because he was in charge, I just know how it made me feel and it was an awkward feeling because I'd never felt that way before. And I really felt like I had to prove myself, and that was really surprising to me. Have either one of you had something like that or felt that way?
I think I was in first grade when I told my dad I was no longer going to read the Book of Mormon because it always said "man" and "men" and I'm like, "I'm out. I'm tapping out." I remember the horror on his face and trying to explain that this is like a plural, but even from a very, very young age, I was always aware that I was not seeing this as the same, I didn't have things to contribute, I didn't, you know, when I thought and felt was always well to others less than, but I knew it wasn't in my heart. And I think that's at the core of womanhood is knowing who you are.
And mine was reading Superman comic books, and I remember asking clearly my mom and dad, "Isn't there a Superwoman? Isn't there a Superwoman comic book?" And that was my first indication that there was a difference and that a woman could be super too. So that was my only back flash that when you reminded me of it just then, so I wanted there to be a Superwoman in addition to a Superman, equality.
Absolutely. Well, when I was studying this, and I found these things about women at the time of Christ, I was dumbfounded. I mean, I knew some of them already, but there were even some of them like, "Ah, what it must have been like." So as we go over some of the cultural norms for women in Palestine at the time of Jesus Christ, add anything else that you have.
So here are some of the things that I found, and it's interesting to note that the Savior didn't necessarily conform to these cultural norms.
At all. He's the ultimate like, champion of women. No wonder women wanted to follow him and I mean, we'll get there but... He's so outside the norm.
Well, because the society is strictly patriarchal, first of all, and so women were to be unobserved in public life. And if they were out in public, they had to have their face veiled, if they were married. It was unveiled if they were single, which is interesting, sort of as a sign that they were available.
Yeah, absolutely. Prior to marriage, she always answered to her father, but then when a woman was married, there was like a two-step process. So there was first a marriage contract that happened about the age of 11 or 12 years old.
Yeah, I mean, my daughter's 12 right now, I can't even imagine.
I can't even imagine my 20 year old, but anyway.
Totally. So she would be assigned to a man for about a one-year period. And then the woman or the girl would move into the home of her husband where he had now complete authority over her. So she always had someone, a male in authority over her, her entire life.
The other thing is that she was obligated to obey her husband strictly as a slave obeys his master. That was interesting to me, just the verbiage that is used to describe the relationship between the husband and wife. Females, if they had any formal schooling, it was very rare. So it was difficult and this is interesting, what a lot of these facts come from a professor by the name of Ross Baron, and he teaches up at BYU-Idaho, and I will include in my show notes his name and a link to a talk he gives where a lot of these facts are found because I love him. He was raised as a Jew his whole life, and then he joined the Church. So I love his perspective on a lot of this.
He also talks about how women could not hold public office, they were discouraged from moving freely or openly in society. And this is interesting, in the first century, Jewish men would pray daily this prayer, "Blessed are you, Hashem, our God, King of the universe, Who did not make me a gentile, a slave, or a woman." And in that order.
It's interesting that the worst thing to be of those three was a woman.
Yeah, feeling it, feeling it.
Luckily, there were some exceptions. Like Chloe, who wrote all her letters to Paul, and she financed the Church, she was a businesswoman, she held the Church together. I mean, there are one or two of those women who stand out if you study them, you know.
That's what's so cool about the women we're going to study today, none of this was jived with them. They knew inside that they had power and beauty as a woman. They didn't need to be a man, they needed to stand in their womanhood. And that's what's going to be exciting about what we'll talk about today.
Well, and I wonder, Sharon, when you brought up the example of Paul, I wonder if it was the Savior's first example with women that allowed men to feel like they could do that. I mean, that's a great story in there because when you look at the way that the Savior taught the women and the way he treated the women. Elder James E. Talmage says, in Jesus the Christ, “The world’s greatest champion of woman and womanhood is Jesus the Christ.” (James E. Talmage, Jesus the Christ, p. 475.)
So here's a couple cool things about the Savior and how he treated women. He had deep doctrinal discussions with women, he declared his Messiahship first to a woman before anyone at the woman at the well, women traveled with him and were invited to be as disciples, he allowed ritually unclean women to touch him which was an absolute no-no.
Women were witnesses of the resurrection, they beheld angels, and they testified to the apostles. At first men were unbelievers and then they were convinced to go to the tomb and look because of women. He also allowed women to unveil their heads to anoint him, and we'll talk about that too later on.
Oh my gosh, there's so much to talk about.
How are we gonna do this?
I don't know, we can't do it all.
So one of the things that we have to make sure we understand is because we're now going to get into the scriptures and we're going to talk about these women. So there's a word that I want to teach you that will help us understand how the story about women in scriptures is true and valid. And it's called the word synoptic, and that means "seen with one eye."
And so we have the gospels, they are all synoptic. That means that Matthew, Mark, and Luke pretty much share all the same stories, and John has a few of the same stories as well, but it's interesting to know that 93 percent of John's writings are exclusively his. That means what he wrote is not found in Matthew, Mark, or Luke, but then Mark is the most inclusive and that means 93 percent of Mark is found in the other gospels.
Now all the four gospels tell of Mary Magdalene, Salome, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and all the other women who accompany Jesus to his death, they anointed and buried his body and they viewed the empty tomb and experienced his risen presence.
Now, why is this so unique to synoptic writings? I love how Ross Baron puts it, he says, “The message first given to women is proof of the historicity of the account because had these accounts been fabricated by overzealous patriarchal men, they would have never included the witness of women in a society that a female witness was not valid or legal. A woman couldn’t be a witness in first century Palestine.”
Okay, so then with that let's lead into the women who were witnesses of Jesus Christ. That is who these Mary's were. In the next segment, we are going to introduce you to the Marys.
So I mentioned at the very beginning that I did not know who all the Marys were or even how many there were. Can you guys name all the Marys?
No, but I know there were five because I looked it up, but I can't name them all. I know Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of Jesus, Mary the wife of Cleophas.
Mary of Bethany, wife of Cleophas.
Yeah, and I think that's it.
I'm sure there's another Mary.
Some people say six. From what I've been able to study, five Marys, but we're going to talk about just four of them. So let me introduce you to these four Marys.
The first thing we need to do, I want us to look at the genealogy of Jesus Christ because we just got done talking about how women weren't witnesses, women didn't have authority, women really were looked down upon. And it's so fascinating to me that right out of the gate in Matthew chapter one, verse one, it's the introduction of the genealogy of Jesus Christ. It is so interesting because it includes women, which is unheard of. The genealogies in scripture do not include women ever. And this is crazy.
And some pretty interesting women at that.
Yes. Tell us why Mandy?
Well, you've got tomorrow you've got a Batsheva, you got Rahab, and you have Ruth, three of those are involved in illicit relationships with men, so that alone raises my brain to say, "Why are they here? The Savior's using them. They're an important part of this bloodline." It raises a lot of questions for me, and shows me, guess what, it doesn't matter repentance is actually real.
That imperfect makes perfect, and Mandy, there are 42 men listed in this genealogy and only five women. There is an idea or hypothesis about why these women are included. I think that it's pretty interesting and worth noting, and Camille Fronk Olson writes this in her book, Women of the New Testament, I highly recommend everyone buy that book. It's so good, and Women of the Old Testament, I love her writings.
But she says that the reason why, I like how she includes this theory, "The women were all in some way accused of behaving scandalously but were later recognized for their wisdom in preserving the Messiah’s lineage.” (Camille Fronk Olson, Women of the New Testament, pg 46)
And this goes back to what you said Mandy that the Atonement of Jesus Christ works for everyone. And I like how Camille Fronk Olson wrote that the Atonement of the Savior, Jesus Christ, salvation of Jesus Christ, not only came through Mary, but it came for Mary. And we see that in the story that we hear about her today and through this genealogy.
Well, and also it's the men writing the story, so I happen to think that Tamar is very heroic, and she's claiming the blessings that were promised her and she shouldn't be looked at that way along with about Batsheva, I mean, that means "daughter of the covenant" in Hebrew, so we don't even know her actual name. What's going on there?
Can we just say that word because that was my favorite thing to learn was "Bat" is girl or woman or daughter and "Sheva" is covenant.
So it's kind of like Noah's wife, daughter of the covenant. So we're getting at this very particular point of view when women are very multidimensional. There's probably a lot more going on than is in two verses for us to make conclusions from. Rahab, I was just reading about her how she tied the red string, made me think of Christ, or the sacrificial lambs that were saved for the temple, they would dye the red thread around the string, and I was like, "There's something to this that we aren't getting in our, you know, non-translated correctly version of King James. There's more there."
One-hundred percent. I love the story of Rahab. So we get this genealogy and then we are introduced into Mary in verse 16. And so you can go there and just write, "Mary of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ." That's our first Mary that we're introduced to, Mary the mother of Jesus Christ. Let's read the verse in Matthew chapter one, and let's read verse 16, where we were introduced to Mary, I'm gonna let you do that, Sharon because you are gonna tell us about Mary.
"And Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ."
There we go. So there's our first Mary, put a little number one there if you want if you're going to go through the scriptures, that's our first Mary, we're introduced to. The second Mary is Mary Magdalene. Do you want to give a little snippet about her because we're gonna turn the time over to you Mandy in a bit.
The most underrated player in human history.
There you go. That's a good, that's a good hang. I can't wait to... cliff.
Cliff, and I'm not exaggerating. That's the great part.
Yes, it is. The third Mary is Mary the sister of Martha and Lazarus. So I get to talk about her, which I'm super excited about and the role that she played because it was a small one. She wasn't actually at the crucifixion or the resurrection, but what she did before is incredible in light of what we know about women at the time. The fourth Mary is Mary the mother of James and Joses. That's what you heard me right. It is Joses.
But it's so easily confused with Joseph. And so most people make the mistake of saying, "James and Joseph," and then we search the Scriptures for this James and Joseph pair, and we can't find them. So thank you for clarifying that. That's helpful.
Yes, she's also known as the other Mary, and we'll talk about her and who her husband was. I really like the story about that woman. And then the last Mary is Mary the mother of Mark, and we read about her in Acts and it's really one verse so we will not be talking about her today because we don't really think or know that she had anything to do with the resurrection or the crucifixion.
Did you know about the Marys? Like I didn't know.
I didn't know anything about the Marys until we decided to have this for the podcast, and then I realized that there was more than one Mary, in addition to Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Jesus. So it was very enlightening to me. I had no idea. I had not studied the scriptures enough to know about all the Marys.
Just about five years ago, I started studying Mary Magdalene and there is no end to the depth of this amazing human, so our girls and our boys need to hear these stories, everyone needs to hear these stories because we need to understand what actually went on instead of reading the words we think are there, read the words that are actually there. Like who would want to be called, "The other Mary?"
"Oh, you're ‘the other Mary,’ you're the spare Mary."
The spare Mary.
"I'm the other Mary, I'm the other..." I mean, come on. Is that the best we've got?
And I like that you just said we need to bring girls into, like, start teaching them these stories and this narrative and I mean, I really did not know there were five Marys. I really didn't, and it's fascinating when I read this, and I started thinking about how important it was for us to teach the resurrection and the crucifixion through the eyes of the Marys. They were there.
They are the witnesses, the witnesses.
Yes, of all this important things, the most important thing to happen to all of humanity, the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ to be witnessed by women. And one of the things that I like about Camille Fronk Olson's book is that the end she'll say, "What's between the lines?" She'll give us, “here's what we're not seeing that maybe you might want to consider,” and I think that's really important for us when we're reading scriptures is to start looking words up in Greek and in Hebrew, and finding out what is not being said.
And I would add a caution to that, because a lot of the things that we read about Mary is apocryphal, and "apocryphal" means "a story or statement of doubtful authenticity, although widely circulated as being true." There are hundreds of books, hundreds, written about Mary the mother of Jesus, and the majority of them are 95 percent apocryphal. They have not been canonized, they are not scripture, they are not doctrine. We are speculating, we are reading between the lines in such a way that may not be as positive as it could be.
In fact, maybe I can mention right now what the Prophet Joseph Smith said about apocryphal readings, apocryphal books. He said in the Doctrine and Covenants, section 91, verses one through six, that's the whole section.
I was just actually gonna go there because I'm gonna use it as an argument for apocrypha.
So the Prophet Joseph Smith said, "Verily, thus saith the Lord unto you concerning the Apocrypha—There are many things contained therein that are true, and it is mostly translated correctly;"
"There are many things contained therein that are not true, which are interpolations by the hands of men."
That means inserting things that are different from what's actually there.
And he says, "...it is not needful that the Apocrypha should be translated."
And then he goes on to say, "Therefore, whoso readeth it, let him understand, for the Spirit manifesteth truth;"
"And whoso is enlightened by the Spirit shall obtain benefit therefrom;"
"And whoso receiveth not by the Spirit, cannot be benefited. Therefore it is not needful that it should be translated."
So the actual apocrypha, which is a list of books, the main one being the proto genna...
Protoevangelium of James, which has a lot of information in there about Mary and about her parents, about her temple work. It's all that kind of stuff, but it hasn't been canonized. And so I think we have to be careful when we read between the lines, and I think you have to do what the Prophet Joseph Smith said, and that is to let the Spirit guide us as to whether it is true or not, and if it's true, great, if it isn't, go on your way and stick to the scriptures that which has been canonized.
It was enlightening to me as I began to read Camille Fronk Olson and I read another lady who has All of the Women in the Bible, that's the name of her book by Edith Deen, d-e-e-n. And she talks about Mary and but she does the same thing. She says, "Mary could have done this if she may have been there," that sort of thing. So anyway.
I think it is important to underline though that okay, in verse four, it says that "it doesn't need to be translated," but I don't read anything there that says "you shouldn't read it."
Absolutely. Absolutely. No.
There's a lot of good stuff.
Oh, it is good stuff. And I really enjoyed reading it.
And like anything.
There have been times when I have read apocryphal and I have been enlightened, I have felt the Spirit and I'm like, "This is true." And there's other apocryphal writings. I'm like, "I don't know." And if you want a list of some of the apocryphal books, it's a fun thing to look up in the Bible Dictionary, look up the word "apocryphal writings," and so if you’re bored in sacrament meeting, read the Bible Dictionary. It's my favorite thing to tell people to do.
Thank you so much for all of your comments. That was a great discussion. Okay, so in the next four segments, here we go. We are going to learn about the four main Marys and what they may have viewed the crucifixion and the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
The first Mary that we are going to talk about is Mary the mother of Jesus. And I have asked Sharon to teach us about her because Sharon, you know more about her than I do, and you actually gave me a book about her and I haven't even had a chance to read it, but you loved it.
I loved it. Yeah.
And it's by...
Susan Easton Black and the name of the book is Glorious Truths about Mary, Mother of Jesus. She has some great things to say about it.
Tell us what you know.
Okay. So first of all, Isaiah prophesied of her, in Isaiah 7:14. She was the only woman mentioned in Holy Writ before her birth, and that's in first Nephi 11, it's in Mosiah three and it's in Alma seven. She is the only mother who has known the joy of rearing a sinless son. She was chosen of the Lord before her birth. Hers was a life of humble obedience, and we'll get into that a little bit more as I talk about it, but when she was told by the Angel Gabriel, in the book of Luke, that she was to be the mother of the Son of God, she replied, "Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word."
What's the reference for that?
That is Luke one, chapter one, verse 38. And then she goes into the, what's known as the Magnificat, and the Magnificat is her testimony of God and it is...
It's worth marking, can we go to that? Where is that found?
Okay, it's in Luke one, and her Magnificat starts in verse 46. And she begins and “Mary said,” so we have what she is actually saying not somebody's quoting her.
And you called it...
Which means song, right?
This is a hymn.
It's a hymn, it's a song. It's a song and a hymn to God the Father.
She sings this after she finds out she's giving birth to the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
And she says, "And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour. For he hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden..."
She's so humble I didn't.
"...for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed."
"And his mercy is on them that fear him from generation to generation."
"He hath shewed strength with his arm; he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts."
"He hath put down the mighty from their seats, and exalted them of low degree."
"He hath filled the hungry with good things; and the rich he hath sent empty away."
"He hath holpen his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy;"
"As he spake to our fathers, to Abraham, and to his seed for ever."
"For he that is mighty hath done to me great things; and holy is his name."
And then it goes on to talk about what she did, but she bears testimony of the Savior of what she's going to go through. Okay so...
And that's her foundation.
It is her foundation.
For all that she's going to experience.
In addition to that, we know of her visit to Elizabeth, who is the wife of Zacharias, the mother of John the Baptist, and she endured many trials. She had an arduous traveled to Bethlehem to pay taxes to Caesar when she was with child, she gave birth in a limestone cave in the desert that bordered Bethlehem.
Okay, I have to stop there for a minute because in my mind I always thought she gave birth in a stable and I imagine this wooden stable with hay, but this is new for a lot of us.
That's an interpolation. It shows up about 700 to 800 AD from the Catholic church, there weren't animals at all besides the donkey. I don't want to kill our current manger scene but it actually was nothing like the actual scene.
She's in a limestone cave.
Yeah because people came by on caravan, where they came in caravans and so they had what's known as caravaneers or caravan places and they were enclosures where people could go where the animals were. There wasn't even room there. They had to go to a limestone cave, and the baby was placed in a manger, but it was for whoever was passing by in the desert of that particular time for that cave. So, you know...
Well some say people say it's an ancient temple cave. Margaret Barker calls it a temple cave, if you want to look at Mother of the Lord, and there's a lot there we don't know. And it just says, "kataluma," is the Greek and it just means "an inn" but it can also mean, it could mean a lot of things.
Thanks, Sharon. I love that.
Okay. And then in addition to that, she had the journey back to Nazareth after the angel told Joseph in the dream to return home that's Matthew chapter two verses 19 to 23. And then she ended up losing her son, the Savior for three days during the Passover in the caravan. I mean, you wake up one morning, "Where's my son?"
That blows my mind because I wonder if that whole time she was thinking back to the experience she had, the vision, then the song she sings while she's looking for her son because let me tell you right now, I've lost a child many times.
I have too.
And I go from zero to kidnapped in three seconds. I mean, it is so fast. And I can't even imagine three days of not knowing where your child is. I lose it and I couldn't find my daughter for 10 minutes. True story. And then as I went out to go call the police to find out to start because I called the whole neighborhood, everybody. I walked outside to call the police and the Spirit truly said to me, "You dropped her off at a friend's house four hours ago."
Oh my gosh.
I totally forgot. But I wonder if the spirit was like, "Mary, it's gonna be okay. I'm in control. You knew this." And I wonder if she sang that song.
I don't know, but they had to make the trip back to Jerusalem to find him and they found him of course, in the temple in Jerusalem, talking to the learned scholars. After that, there's a little scripture about Mary until the feast of the Marriage of Cana. And then there's not much after that until the crucifixion and the resurrection. So we have very little of actual Mary in the scriptures, but thanks to people like Susan Easton Black and Camille Fronk, we have what it would have been like for other women, other young women of her age at that time, and so it is interpolation, but it's not apocryphal.
So okay, we've used the word "interpolate" a couple times. So what does that word mean?
Well, "interpolation" is "the insertion of something of a different nature," almost a speculation, but not quite. So when you interpolate, you say, "Well, other 12 year olds..." and so we then start interpolating about the 12 year olds who were there and about the living conditions.
So this is what it might have been like for Mary. She may have been betrothed at age 12.
Yeah, so we have those interpolations. So we can say that 12 year old women in Jerusalem at this point were dot dot dot dot... but it's adding information about what would have happened to other young girls at that particular time given where they lived and how they lived, you know?
So Sharon, tell me then of all the stuff you read and studied, get us to the crucifixion then, what was that like? Because Mary was there, is that right according to scripture?
She was there, and she was there for two reasons. One, she was known throughout the scriptures as a disciple of Christ, and she was at some of his miracles, when he created, you know, performed miracles. They're not sure if she was there at the Sermon on the Mount. They're not sure because it doesn't say, but if she were a disciple, she could have possibly been there.
And it makes me think, I mean, you know, Mandy, can you imagine being a disciple of your son?
I am a disciple. He goes on a mission in a week and they just shut down the MTC and my mom heart is feeling it, but yeah, that would be interesting.
Your house is going to be the MTC.
Oh, boy. We got to change some things at home. Take down the... I just bought a sign, it says... well, we won't get irreverent, but I did just find a sign that said, "Maybe swearing would help," that I just put up in the kitchen.
It's coming down because you've got a disciple in your house now.
I gotta yeah, I think my kids definitely are an improvement on me. So it says a lot about her ability to learn and be tutored and taught by truth, however it's manifest in. I mean, she is singular, no one. No woman has had that process.
Because I mean, you can imagine, I know you've done this. I have too sometimes where my kids do things and I'm like, "Where did you come from? Like, how do you know that?" Like I'm amazed sometimes at what kids know and do, but to have it be the Savior, you'd be saying that all day long.
Well and this, you know, "from the mouth of babes." I think that's very, very true. I learned tremendous truth from the mouth of a babe or a nursery kid who isn’t even like verbal.
Mary would be learning from her son. Yeah, absolutely.
And the way I identify with Mary at the crucifixion is I imagine my mother on the cross or a child, and what heartbreak that would be to me to have my loved one, my loved one, going through that pain. What she endured is beyond my comprehension. To watch her beloved son who she reared, you know, for 30 years, and was his disciple and fed him and washed his clothes and taught him and played with him, and then to see him on the cross, it's unbearable. It's unbearable.
I think she's so steely though, don't you think? To stand there and just be like, "yeah."
You are interpolating.
I am interpolating, but boy you'd have to be steely. No I mean, you'd be weeping, but your heart would say, "There is no other way." All these women follow that pattern, there is no other way.
She knew. She knew what was to come, and she knew he was the Savior of the world. And they, you know, they talked about that in the scriptures and I didn't note it down, but she knew what was coming. But even if I know that I'm going to have to go in for surgery, knowing doesn't make pain any less.
No, no it doesn't.
And well, and I wonder if it, what I loved about this story and studying it is I wonder if the words resonated in her mind that were said to her when she presented Christ at the temple. In Luke chapter two, when she brings him to Simeon, I'm fascinated. And I love the word when he says to her in Luke chapter two, verse 35, he sees this babe in her arms and he says, "Yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also."
And I just wonder if that was, if she had remembered it that came back to her and thought, "Yep, this is it." And that feeling and just what you described, Sharon, I think sums that up definitely. Wow. Thank you, Sharon.
You're very welcome. Thank you.
That's Mary the mother of Jesus. Beautiful.
She turned her will, she turned her life over to her son and the Savior of the world. And she was the chosen one to do that. She was a humble, obedient, willing, stalwart, disciple, mother.
Doesn't get any better than that.
It doesn't. Well, thank you.
That was beautiful. So now we're gonna move on to our second Mary -- Mary of Bethany, and we'll talk about her in the next segment.
You guys remember “The Brady Bunch,” right?
Anyone listening, do you remember The Brady Bunch? Every time I think of the Mary of Bethany, the way I remember this Mary is I think in my head, "Martha, Martha, Martha," because don't you remember that one, "Marsha, Marsha, Marsha."
Yeah, I was like, "Wasn't it Marsha, Marsha, Marsha?"
Well, Mary's sister is Martha. And so I'm like, "Martha, Martha, Martha." That's how I remember the second Mary. Her sister is Martha and her brother is Lazarus. And if you think about all of those stories that involve the two of these people, you've got Mary who's sitting at the feet of Jesus, Martha's hurrying as fast as she can to cook food, and I don't even have time to go into that story, but boy, would I like to.
Yeah, we will.
I hate the way that's told. Anyway, but we're not gonna talk about that because Mary was the one sitting at the feet of Jesus. That story is found in Luke chapter 10. Then we also have that she sent for Jesus when her brother died. That story is in John chapter 11, and there are so many things to say about that story and just parallels to the Savior.
Then we have the last story that Mary's involved in and that's what we're going to focus on. And this takes place in Matthew chapter 26, in the book of Mark chapter 14, and then in John chapter 12, but let's go to the one in john chapter 12, verses three through eight. That's the narrative I want to share with us today when we talk about this Mary, and we're going to go through a couple of verses as we tell the story because this is the only place we have her in the story of the Savior's crucifixion and resurrection.
She could have been part of the other women, but she's not named, and so this is one of the only places she's named, but I think it's one of the most important. She's my woman. I love her. Now one of the things we have to know in this story, this is a story where she anoints the feet and the head of Jesus with ointment.
Now, this is not the same woman who's in Luke chapter seven. There's two women who anoint his head and bathe his feet. The woman in Luke chapter seven is the one where she brings in the expensive oil, and then the Savior says, "Though her sins are many, she is forgiven," that is not this Mary. And that's not even a Mary. We don't even know that woman's name. So I always was confused because I thought that was the same one, and then I thought it was Mary Magdalene, and we'll talk about that.
So it's not the same Mary. It's a completely different story with the ointment. So let's go to John chapter 12, and we're going to start in verse one. That's where we want to start. So Sharon, will you read that verse for us?
"Then Jesus six days before the Passover came to Bethany, where Lazarus was which had been dead, whom he raised from the dead."
"There they made him a supper; and Martha served: but Lazarus was one of them that sat at the table with him."
Okay, we're gonna pause there for a second. So they are in Bethany. That's why her name is Mary of Bethany. Bethany is about two miles away from Jerusalem just to give you an idea of where we are in the story, and it's six days before Passover. So this would be on a Saturday evening, the sun has gone down, and so some people believe this is kind of late, and Martha would not be able to start cooking until the sun went down until the Sabbath is over. And so the sun goes down and then she is hurrying as fast as she can to cook and get food ready and while she's hurriedly cooking and getting food for them, in walks Mary, and this is where her story starts to take place. Mandy, I'm gonna have you read, will you read verse three?
"Then took Mary a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair: and the house was filled with the odour of the ointment."
Okay, there's a couple things we need to know about that ointment first of all. The pound is about 12 ounces is what they believe that it weighed, and the ointment is super expensive. There's a couple of other cross references you can put next to this verse, and it's the story found in Mark 14 and Matthew 26, but in those verses, they're going to tell you that it was costing 300 denarii.
And in the book of John and Mark that word is translated into "pence" in the King James Version. And so here's what you need to know about that. That one denarius was a day's labor pay, just one denarius, and 200 denarii could provide a meal for 5,000 men, according to Mark chapter six, verse 37. That's expensive ointment that she is bringing for this one moment with the Savior six days before he dies.
And then it says in this verse that "she anointed the feet of Jesus," but in Mark chapter 14, and the story in Matthew 26, it also says "she anointed his head." So it wasn't just his feet, she's going to anoint his head and his feet, which is so important to know.
Well, I'll just read you this quote. "Some of the people present interpreted her actions as anointing him as the Messiah, in that very moment, the way that prophets, priests, and kings were anointed," and you can see that in Exodus chapter 8, verse 41. That quote is found in Camille Fronk Olson's book Women of the New Testament.
Well, Messiah means the "anointed one."
It is a critical component of him being the anointed one.
Mmhmm. And she's anointing him as the Messiah, who the next day will have the triumphal entry with palm leaves. Now, why the feet? This was what was so interesting to me, so I think this is cool. She anoints his feet because the reason you would anoint feet is you would do that to dead bodies. And so she's anointing his feet, in sign or symbol that he is going to also die in six days. So one biblical scholar teaches in antiquity, which is historical writings, that one anointed the head of a live person and you anointed the feet of a corpse.
So in other words, this was the anointing of the one that would typically receive at one's burial. And they'll do that to him again when he's buried, but she's pre anointing his feet to be buried. So then we have in this next verse, I like how Judas Iscariot in verse four, he has issue with this. Isn't this interesting? Because right after this dinner, he's going to leave and actually sell the Savior, right after this meal.
And so when we talk about this in John chapter 12, verses seven and eight, I like how the Savior totally supports Mary and what she's doing and Mandy, will you read verses seven and eight?
"Then said Jesus, Let her alone:"
The Greek there's pretty strong, he's like, "Don't touch her."
"...against the day of my burying hath she kept this."
We're going to pause for a minute there. In the Joseph Smith translation of John chapter 12, verses seven and eight. Here's what it reads, "Let her alone, for she hath preserved this ointment until now that she might anoint me in token of my burial. For the poor always have with you, but me ye have not always."
That would have been an awesome moment.
Yes it would've, yeah. Can you imagine anointing the Savior?
No, and that a woman anoints the Savior.
Well, that's a sense we don't think about a lot, but I've been thinking about it a lot more how it fills the house. You know, we used to burn incense and it would fill the house and it would give you this sense of like holiness. And I was just talking to a woman and she said, "In the Far East, they burn incense, and that it comes onto you and it represents the Spirit. And so when the spirits with you, then you go out on the street, and you carry that smell, when people smell that smell, the spirit and the moment of being in the temple comes with them too. It's a way to share it." But anyway, it fills the house, this is beyond just regular in you know, ointment.
Yes, and what's so great about is in verse three, when it says, "she wiped his feet with her hair," is that in a way she's actually also anointing herself through his power. And I wonder what that must have been like and what is she anointing herself to, being a disciple of Christ, or a witness? I don't know.
Then she would leave and people would smell that ointment, and ask, "Why do you smell like that?"
"Oh I just anointed the Savior's head and feet. And he anointed me." Conjecture, of course, but...
You know, it gives new meaning to when you were when you're anointed in the temple. I think we need to make that transition, you know, to think about what that anointment really means.
Well, in fact, Facsimile 3, it's right in our scriptures, Facsimile 3. Behind the king is the queen. She's the one who says, "This is the king, this is that..."
And that a woman is the one that...
I'm going to read this quote by Bruce R. McConkie and I just love the way he writes this about Mary.
“Again Jesus announces that the Lord Jehovah shall die (Isaiah 53:9), and in doing so lets us know that Mary at least, foreknew and realized what her beloved Lord would soon face” (Doctrinal New Testament 1:700)
And so that's Mary, Mary of Bethany. Okay, that's Mary number two. So what we're going to do is we're gonna move on to the next Mary and she is one the most publicized, well known, and often misunderstood of all the Mary's. Wouldn't you agree?
I'm so excited know so much about her.
You know so much about her I can hardly wait.
We'll talk about Mary Magdalene in the next section.
Mandy, Mary Magdalene has always eluded me, and it wasn't actually until I met you that I had never even given this Mary much thought. I thought in my mind I knew like, "She's a sinner, she's a harlot, she had devils cast out of her, she's probably not that important." You know, I don't know. I just never really put in the time to learn about her until I met you and it's game changer. So you're here, teach us about Mary Magdalene.
Okay, here we go.
Mary number three.
Mary number three, I'm going to go myth busters on you guys. So first of all, I think we have to wipe the slate clean of all of this garbage that got piled up on her that's not even true. So many things that we know about her come from Pope Gregory I in 591. So Pope Gregory I of the Church of St. Clement in Rome, identified Mary as the sinful woman in Luke seven.
No one had before then?
Well, no, no one had at all. He also conflates her with all the other Mary's, and the woman in Luke seven is the one who anointed him before that we don't have a name for, but he's just a sign that said, "Oh, by the way, that's Mary Magdalene."
So that's where we get the idea that she's the...
That's where we think she’s a harlot.
Yeah, but he's not even using the right word for a "harlot." He's using the word for a "sinner." So I wanted to point that out that it's not even the right word. And even in the Latin he uses "peccatrix" which is a "sinful woman," instead of a "meretrix" which in Latin is a "prostitute." Just like "harmartolos" or "pornea," pornea would be a harlot, and the sinner is harmartolos.
And "pornea" is where we get pornography from.
But the word "sinner" in Greek is what again?
"To miss the mark,” "harmartolos."
Oh and that's what it means.
Yeah, so if you sin, you miss the mark.
Okay. So even if, even if this was Mary, it's the wrong wording anyway.
It's the wrong one. The other thing that's interesting to note about the ancient world is that if you went outside of this the established tradition, if you were a Samaritan or a Rechabites or an Essene they also referred to them as "prostitutes" because they were mingling with unclean, impure people. So it can also be used that way. So really, the very, very last way you could ever take looking at the Greek is that, it's simply not in the text.
So she's not that woman A. and she's not an adulterer or a harlot. Neither of those is true. So Pope Gregory also conflated her with Mary of Bethany, and that's where we get that whole mix up, and Pope Gregory is not reading the Greek anyway, so there you go.
He doesn't even know Greek.
And I wanted to read this scripture in Doctrine and Covenants 93:39. I think this is really important as we look at traditions and we look at our own traditions and where we get them and where are these things show up.
So this is where we read earlier in Doctrine and Covenants.
No, it's not.
Oh, that was 91. So this is Doctrine and Covenants section 93, verse 39. Okay, I'm gonna go there.
And it says, "And that wicked one cometh and taketh away light and truth, through disobedience, from the children of men, and because of the tradition of their fathers."
Isn't that interesting? So I want to throw that out. If you're of an Eastern Orthodox faith, they venerate her from day one. They're reading the Greek, she's an amazing pure disciple of Jesus Christ. This never is part of the discussion.
Okay, I'm glad you wiped that clean.
All right. There is one. We've got a couple to do.
She's not wicked, she's not evil.
She's a wonderful woman. Okay. All right. So myth number one I hope is busted. She's wonderful. All right, Sharon, let's go to Luke chapter eight, and I want you to read verses one through three.
One through three?
"And it came to pass afterward, that he went throughout every city and village, preaching and shewing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God: and the twelve were with him,"
"And certain women, which had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities, Mary called Magdalene, out of whom went seven devils,"
"And Joanna the wife of Chuza Herod’s steward, and Susanna, and many others, which ministered unto him of their substance."
Alright, so I need to bust up myth number two, Magdala. Everyone says that she's from the city of Magdala, around Tiberius, in the Sea of Galilee in that time. There was never a city named Magdala at that time, it was Tarichaea. It was a Greek town, according to Josephus in the Jewish war. It had about 40,000 inhabitants. It was a fishing town with the hippodrome. So again, they're considered these outcasts like these crazy pagan people who don't get what the gospel's really about.
That city was destroyed in 67 AD by Emperor Vespasian, and so It's not even there. Where we get "magdala" comes from the Hebrew "migdal" which is "tower." "Migdalah" is the feminine version of "tower." So it's Mary and even in some scriptures that I've read she's called "Mary the Migdalah" -- "The Tower."
Yeah, uh huh.
So get rid of that. Still you can visit Magdala on your Egypt, I mean on your Jerusalem tour, I take my people there, there's a lovely church, but she isn't from Magdala, that's not her roots, that has nothing to do with her.
In the Greek, "Magdalane" comes from a woman who is "elevated or honored." So this is like someone who's really really venerated. Here's my two Hebrew students. I had this epiphany today, it was so awesome. If I take off the "mi", what's left in "Migdal?"
"...gdal". What does "gdal" mean?
Great, and the "M" prefix means "from greatness or strength." So even in the Hebrew you have this tremendous woman from greatness and strength, not the fishing village.
How did I never see that? It is "Ma Gadol." What?! That gave me chills.
All right. Last one. Seven devils.
Mary the great, Mary the honorable, the tower, the example.
And if you need scripture study go study the tower, like the "tower of the flock" in Micah 4, and all kinds of stuff. All right the last one I want to briefly hit on, literally there's so much more so and I'm not a scholar, I'm kind of like the Mater of Greek and Hebrew, you know, I just kind of bumpy and get around.
This also went up seven devils I want us to look at this idea of "out of whom went seven devils." The Greek word there is "daimon" and according to the Liddell and Scott Lexicon, an Lexicon is a dictionary of another language that shows me all the meanings of the word. So the Liddell and Scott is really kind of the authority on Greek words and then it will show you everywhere it shows up in classical literature like the Iliad or the Odyssey, or things like that. So according to Liddell and Scott, a "daimon" is actually the first definition is a "god or a goddess or a divine power."
Now what were you defining?
Daimon. It says, "Seven demons when out of her." I would say that the Greek verse, the end of verse two, the Greek there really doesn't support that. I think it's talking more about all of the goodness that she's come out of, or that she is.
Well does the number seven mean the same thing in Greek as it does in Hebrew? "Complete or whole."
Yeah, completeness, wholeness, like magnificence. There are seven days of the week, right? Everything's this seven. So if "out of seven daimon" would mean a "god or a goddess," that's the first definition. The second is "a power that controls one's fate or destiny." The third one is "a beam that's higher than man, but lower than God." And then the last one is "a demon or an evil spirit."
So that's your very last try. And as I pondered this, and I looked at this, I was like, "Well, seven is completeness or wholeness." And then if I, as I was looking for references of that in the Old Testament, in Psalms chapter 12, verse six, we have this, "The words of the Lord are pure words as silver tried in a furnace on the Earth refined seven times." And then we also have, "Wisdom hath builded her house, she hath hewn out her seven pillars," in Proverbs chapter nine, verse one.
So ladies, now that we busted those three myths, how do you feel about her? How does that change your perception of her?
I mean, it's a game changer for me.
It is for me too.
Especially I love the Hebrew, I can't believe I was so, I never even considered "Ma Gadol." Like Mary the Great. That makes so much more sense. And before, I did like I said earlier I thought she was this harlot, evil spirits in her.
I did the same thing, a sinner...
Mmhmm. "Probably needed Jesus." Yeah.
"Jesus was probably just nice and like looked at her," no, this is like a beautiful, strong, valiant woman in her own right as her own person.
And I think even seven year old me when I first learned about her thought, "Why would Jesus hang out with her? That doesn't even seem right. She's yucky. Like that doesn't even make sense."
Yeah. And later in that verse, it says, "They supplied for Jesus of their own means." These are women of means. They're the ones paying for the whole ministry of the Savior.
Right. And there's many examples, I mean, Lydia did that, there's countless examples of the women paying.
Alright, so the tower. The one of greatness.
So now I need to know. I'm so excited, her role in the crucifixion and the resurrection. So in the next segment, I want you to teach us what that was like and where she was and everything that happened.
Okay, for those of you who are just joining us, we just got done talking about Mary Magdalene, and our guest Mandy completely helped us wipe the slate clean of who she is, and maybe anything we've thought about her. And now we have a completely new perspective of who this woman is. And so now I want you to teach me, where was she at the crucifixion? And why was she the one that got to see Jesus first at the resurrection?
Well, she's right there at the cross, and whenever she's mentioned, she's actually mentioned first, which I think is really incredible considering his mother is in the same company, which should be a big clue to us that we need to be paying attention to who this woman is. And then she's the first and original witness of the resurrected Lord.
Let's go to John chapter 20. I will read verse one. "The first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre, and seeth the stone taken away from the sepulchre."
I want you to picture this woman, we talked all about women in Palestine. Here's a woman walking through the streets of Jerusalem at a time when everything's breaking loose, right? There's been this crazy crucifixion, things are polarized, the holiday. Here she is walking in the dark to see her Lord. Just think of her. All right?
And she sees the stone taken away, and then in verse two, up through the next several verses, it says that "she came and got Simon and Peter, the disciple Jesus loved, they ran, one out ran Peter," he must have been a little older, like me drinking a lot of Coke and out of shape. And they come to the tomb and they see nothing. And then verse 10, is really instructive, "Then the disciples went away again unto their own home."
This part's really interesting. They left, she stayed. That should teach us a lot about her and ourselves. Tammy, do you want to read verse 11 through let's say 17.
Yay, thank you. I love these verses.
"But Mary stood without at the sepulchre weeping: and as she wept, she stooped down, and looked into the sepulchre,"
"And seeth two angels in white sitting, the one at the head, and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain."
"And they say unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? She saith unto them, Because they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him."
"And when she had thus said, she turned herself back, and saw Jesus standing, and knew not that it was Jesus."
"Jesus saith unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou? She, supposing him to be the gardener, saith unto him, Sir, if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away."
"Jesus saith unto her, Mary. She turned herself, and saith unto him, Rabboni; which is to say, Master."
"Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God."
Awesome. There's some really beautiful things. This word "Rabboni" I means "master," but it can also have other connotations to it. We're in a garden, there's trees, there's some going back to the Genesis story. But what I want to focus on here is the Joseph Smith translation of "hold me not," and that she didn't see the Savior until she turned herself around. And I think that's so critical to us as we are in the mortal world, and we're looking at these tombs of our lost hopes and of death and of sin and of all of these things, and the Savior is right behind us saying, "Turn around, turn yourself around." And it is when she turns herself around, that she receives him and that this beautiful embrace happens, and she becomes the first witness.
That's why she's called the "Apostle to the Apostles" because in verse 18, Jesus gives her the assignment to go be the first witness, and "Apostolos" in Greek means "the sent one, the one who was sent forth." So she is sent forth to the ones who were sent for. That's a preeminent place. And I just wanted to ask you both about what happens when you turn around from the tomb. I mean, I think our world is always like, "Focus in on what's wrong, what's missing. Your son's not in the MTC."
Right? Whatever it is, like your loss and your hope, and it isn't until we turn away from the world and the things that we've lost, that we get this really beautiful, clear picture and witness of the Savior. What do you guys have to say about that?
Go ahead, Tammy.
Well I think it's interesting because we actually talked about that on our way here, and we talked about how we get so consumed in these ideas and things in the world, maybe injustices, things that we don't like that are being said or even in our own religion. And we talked about how sometimes we're so quick to react, that maybe we just need to stay like Mary did, weep and cry, and then turn around to Jesus.
"I know that just it's gonna be okay. Let's just relax and not run back to wherever we came from and try to figure it out." I think for me, I need to just relax and just stay, sit with it, weep and be sad knowing that if I just turn around Jesus's there to make it all right.
Well, and we talked about having our own opinion of what should be done and what shouldn't be done, and we dictate to the Lord what we think should be done, instead of turning around and listening to what the Lord is dictating to us, and getting his will not ours. It's all about his will. Which all the Marys that we've talked about have done. They're doing his will, not their own will.
Well and my last point in this is ladies, do not write yourself out of this story. You write yourself in there. Right? This is a woman, she is the first witness. There is nothing here that said, "Jesus is a respecter of people," at all. I think that's just such a powerful thing. And we read over it in 20 verses and we're like, "That's all fine and good."
Guess what? He's standing right behind you too, asking you to turn around and take him into yourself. So clearly the most underrated player in human history. And I think it's our work to individually unveil her and some of the truths surrounding her. And as the Book of Revelations chapter 22, verse 17, says, "The Spirit and the bride say, Come," there's the invitation.
And it's just like President Nelson says, "Hear him," turn around.
Well, and that makes me think of the last Mary that we have, and this is the Mary mother of James and Joses. She's also known as "the other Mary," and she's also called "the wife of Cleophas." And the reason why I wanted to end with her was because you said that Mary Magdalene was the very first witness of his resurrected Lord and Savior, and I think that Mary, the other Mary the wife of Cleophas, may have been the one of the last, in this beautiful narrative that takes place at the road to Emmaus.
So if you go to Luke chapter 24, we're going to look at verses 13 through 18. We're going to end with this story. And in verse 13 through 18, it says, "And, behold, two of them went that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was from Jerusalem about threescore furlongs."
So circle the word "two," there's two who are walking around now. The Savior, it's interesting because he's been resurrected, they've seen him, now they're talking about all these things that had happened. There's two of them, and they're just talking about, "Can you believe this? This is crazy. It really happened, what he said would happen, happened."
And as they're walking in verse 14, and then Sharon, will you read 14 and 15, please?
"And they talked together of all these things which had happened."
"And it came to pass, that, while they communed together and reasoned, Jesus himself drew near, and went with them."
Keep going, actually.
"But their eyes were holden that they should not know him."
"And he said unto them, What manner of communications are these that ye have one to another, as ye walk, and are sad?"
And of course they're sad, right?
Yes. And the the next verse.
"And the one of them, whose name was Cleophas, answering said unto him, Art thou only a stranger in Jerusalem, and hast not known the things which are come to pass there in these days?"
So mark the name "Cleophas." So in this, it's really cool because his wife is Mary, and there is a belief that this is the uncle of Jesus Christ. It's Joseph's brother Cleophas, married to a woman named Mary, and that the two walking on the road to Emmaus are a married couple. How beautiful to think that these two are the ones who are going to have this experience with the Savior Jesus Christ and talk to him, and that this woman would then be another witness.
And it made me just think as we end the narrative of the Savior of his crucifixion and resurrection, and it just made me think, and I want you guys to answer this question, what is your witness of Jesus Christ if you were to share it right now?
He's magnificent beyond all magnificent. I tend to ascribe all of these human traits to him. But J. Reuben Clark said that he's created worlds without number. I mean, in the book of Moses, he says, "Worlds without number have I created, and worlds without number have I destroyed," and he's this cosmic God.
And I think he's all of those things, whether I believe it or not, but his power in my life is power in believing in him and going to him and turning around and exchanging my crappy earthly currency for eternal treasure is what he's all about. He's all about converting this into beautiful, eternal treasure, and the more I look to him, the more that treasure becomes real and more beautiful and desirable to me.
Thank you, Mandy.
In a sacrament meeting, many many years ago, there was a young boy, a Down syndrome boy and he had a hard time expressing himself, and it was testimony meeting and he got up and stood and he said, "Father, it's good. Family's good. And Father, Father, you know what I mean," and sat down.
So, when I think of my relationship with Jesus, it's always, "You know what I mean." It's like, "You've got my back, you're there. You know me, you know what I want, you know what I yearn for, you know my weaknesses. You know what I mean." That's him to me, is he knows what I mean.
Wow. Thank you, Sharon.
I want those of you listening to think about what your witness of Christ is and what you say of him and what you believe of him. I really like this quote by Sister Linda K. Burton, "When life seems unfair, as it must have seemed to Martha at the death of her brother—when we experience the heartaches of loneliness, infertility, loss of loved ones, missing opportunities for marriage and family, broken homes, debilitating depression, physical or mental illness, stifling stress, anxiety, addiction, financial hardship, or a plethora of other possibilities—may we remember Martha and declare our similar certain witness: “But I know … [and] I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God.” (Linda K. Burton, “Certain Women,” April 2017 general conference)
I love how she said that because you know that story we talked about, we could talk for ages about the Mary, Martha story. And I feel like I'm a "Martha" in the narrative for sure because I would be busy cooking, definitely. But I think like, "What is my certain witness? What is my witness of Christ?" And I just think for now, it's that I love him. I love him so much, and I'm so grateful for who he is, for what he did, and for the role that he's played in my life. I mean, never has the Atonement become more real than when I used it, and I'm grateful that I use it, and I have such a strong testimony of that piece that comes when you go through that process.
Sweet. Thank you, Tammy for sharing that.
So thank you ladies for being here. That was powerful. I loved talking about the Mary's so I'm gonna ask you this question then, what was your takeaway?
I thought that there are Mary's in my midst, and I don't know who they are, and I need to find them. I need to look at the people in my ward that I write off, you know, and say, "Oh, she did this. She did that. Oh, no, it should have been..." And I need to look past that and say, "Is she a Mary?"
So as I was driving here I was listening to a song called "Songs My Mother Taught Me" by Dvorak. It's beautiful. And I was thinking about how there truly is this song inside of all of us, that "you know what I mean." And I want to be better about listening to that song within myself because I think it tells me how to sing the song of redeeming love, and how to be a witness of Christ and these Mary's and to go about doing good as he did, and so I am going to work on obtaining that witness and listening to that beautiful song that my mother has instilled within my own soul and spirit.
My takeaway was Mary Magdala, Mary the Great of greatness of goodness because it made me think about how I thought about her before and maybe looking at someone who I have an opinion of, and maybe just viewing their name differently, and trying to find out who they really are.
I'm going to look at every woman from now on and think "Mary the great." There's greatness in all of us, so I loved, I knew you would teach us something good about her, but that, hadn't even considered the Hebrew. I love that. So thank you for sharing that.
You're so welcome.
Wow, this was a great day.
Well, that's it. That is our special Easter study and it's just a little bit ahead of our general conference. We're going to be back with the Come, Follow Me lesson after Easter, so keep on keeping on. Study your scriptures, find out as much as you can about other Mary's metaphorically speaking in the scriptures, study those.
In the meantime, I would love to hear what your big takeaway was from this episode. I want to know what you learned. And what was maybe new to you. If you haven't already joined us on Facebook, or you're not following us on Instagram, you should because it's such a great place to ask questions. And it's been really fun. People have been asking questions and sharing what they're learning. And I read everything. And I want to try to answer all those questions that I can during the week.
And I do it at the end of every week because we'll ask you usually on Sundays, there will be a post that says, "What's your big takeaway?" So share it with us. Comment on the post that relates to this lesson, and let us know what you learned. And I just love reading what everyone's learning. You can get to both our Facebook and our Instagram by going to the show notes for this episode on LDSLiving.com/SundayonMonday, and it's not a bad idea to go there anyway because that's where we have all the links to all the references, as well as a complete transcript of this discussion. So check it out.
The Sunday on Monday study group is a Deseret Bookshelf PLUS+ original and it's brought to you by LDS Living. It's written and hosted by me, Tammy Uzelac Hall, and today our awesome study group participants were Sharon Staples and Mandy Green. You can find more information about these ladies at LDSLiving.com/SundayonMonday.
Our podcast is produced by KaRyn Lay with post production and editing by Katie Lambert. It is recorded and mixed by Mix at Six Studios and our executive producer is Erin Hallstrom. Thanks for being here. We'll see you in two weeks and remember, you are God's favorite.