Who Was the Woman With Jesus and the Disciples?

When we read the gospels, we often come across a woman who is mentioned alongside Jesus and his disciples. She is referred to as Mary Magdalene, but who was she exactly?

Who Was Mary Magdalene?

Mary Magdalene is one of the most enigmatic figures in the New Testament. The gospels mention her by name at least 12 times, and she is often described as a loyal follower of Jesus. But beyond that, there is much speculation and debate about her life before she met Jesus.

Some scholars believe that Mary Magdalene was a former prostitute or a woman with a sinful past, based on a passage in Luke 7 where an unnamed woman who is described as a sinner anoints Jesus’ feet with perfume. However, there is no evidence to suggest that this woman was Mary Magdalene.

Others believe that Mary Magdalene was one of the women who accompanied Jesus and his disciples on their travels, providing financial support and serving as caretakers. In Luke 8:1-3, it is mentioned that “Mary (called Magdalene)… Joanna… and many others” were among those who traveled with Jesus.

Her Role in Jesus’ Life

Regardless of her past or her exact role among Jesus’ followers, what is clear from the gospels is that Mary Magdalene was present during some of the most significant moments in Jesus’ life.

For example, all four gospels mention that Mary Magdalene was present at the crucifixion. In John’s gospel (19:25), she is described as standing near the cross alongside Jesus’ mother and other women.

After Jesus’ death, it was also Mary Magdalene who discovered his empty tomb. In John’s gospel (20:1), she goes to the tomb early on Sunday morning and finds that the stone has been rolled away. She runs to tell Peter and another disciple, who then come to see for themselves.

Theories About Mary Magdalene

Over the centuries, numerous theories and legends have developed about Mary Magdalene. One of the most famous is that she was Jesus’ wife or lover, based on some passages in the gospels that refer to her as “the one whom Jesus loved” (John 20:2) or “the disciple whom Jesus loved” (John 21:20).

However, there is no evidence to support this theory, and most scholars believe that it is unlikely. In the context of the gospels, the phrase “the one whom Jesus loved” likely refers to a close personal relationship rather than a romantic one.


In conclusion, Mary Magdalene remains a mysterious figure in the New Testament. While much about her life and role among Jesus’ followers remains unknown, what is clear is that she was a loyal disciple and witness to some of the most significant events in Jesus’ life.

Whether we view her as a former prostitute or simply one of many women who supported Jesus’ ministry, Mary Magdalene’s story reminds us of the important role that women played in spreading the message of Christianity from its earliest days.