Text 1: Luke 8:1-3 1After this, Jesus traveled about from one town and village to another, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God. The Twelve were with him, 2and also some women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases: Mary (called Magdalene) from whom seven demons had come out; 3Joanna the wife of Cuza, the manager of Herod's household; Susanna; and many others. These women were helping to support them out of their own means.
Background information: Being possessed means that evil spirits abide within a person and they express themselves by shouting and raging. This must not be mixed with mental illnesses; it is more closely related to the phenomena that appear in connection with the worshipping of Satan. It is impossible for a possessed person to lead a normal life. The town of Magdala was situated by lake Gennesaret, and fishing and dove raising were its major sources of livelihood. Beacause Mary had means of her own, it has been suggested that she may have kept doves. The Gospels know four different Marys, and Mary Magdalene is not be mixed up with the prostitute who anointed Jesus´ feet, nor with Mary of Bethany, who anointed Jesus´ feet before his death. None of the Gospels portray Mary Magdalene as a prostitute.
Seven evil spirits
Luke mentions that Mary had been possessed by seven evil spirits. Why was this particular piece of information worth mentioning?
What do you think Mary’s life was like while she was possessed by seven evil spirits. (How did it affect her life if she was married? What about if she was not married? )
What kind of things bind the people of our times in the same way as the evil spirits bound Mary?
What things in Mary´s life changed the moment Jesus cast the seven demons out of her?
When a woman is mentioned in the Bible, the names of her husband or sons are usually also given. What can we conclude from the fact that there is no mention of either in connection with Mary Magdalene?
Think about possible reasons why Mary didn´t marry any of the fishermen of Magdala after she was liberated from the evil spirits?
Jesus accepts women in his company
In Jesus´ days, the rabbis never taught women or accepted them in their company. Why did Jesus choose to act against the conventions of his time in this matter?
Think about the motives and feelings of the women who decided to follow Jesus around the country?
What kind of things may have persuaded Cuza to let his wife go and follow Jesus?
Think about the relationships between the women who followed Jesus.
The Bible says: “These women were helping to support them out of their own means.” What did this mean in practice?
What kind of things did Mary learn and experience during the three years that she followed Jesus? (The answer is to be found outside this text)
Mary is mentioned once in this passage but the next mention of her is much later, in the account of Jesus´ death. What does this tell us about Mary?
Mary´s name is mentioned 19 times in the Gospels. Nine out these ninteteen occurences appear in lists of women´s names, and in eight of these lists Mary´s name is mentioned first. What can we conclude from this?
Questions related to The Da Vinci Code:
If Jesus and Mary Magdalene had been married, why was there be no mention of it in contemporary documents? Why would it be concealed?
Extramarital affairs were strictly prohibited in the Law of Moses and the Ten Commandments,which also bound Jesus. If he had had this kind of affair, how would it have affected his followers?
Compare the portrayal of Mary in The Da Vinci Code to how she is describred in this Gospel account.
What are the most impressive things in the picture the text gives us of Jesus?
Text 2: Matthew 12: 14; 15:1-2; 16:1
12: 14But the Pharisees went out and plotted how they might kill Jesus.
15: 1Then some Pharisees and teachers of the law came to Jesus from Jerusalem and asked, 2"Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? They don't wash their hands before they eat!"
16: 1The Pharisees and Sadducees came to Jesus and tested him by asking him to show them a sign from heaven.
Why did Jesus have so many enemies who wanted to do him harm?
In what ways did his enemies try to damage his good reputation?
There is not a single contemporary document testifying that Jesus´ enemies would have accused him of leading an immoral life. (Had the alledged affair in The Da Vinci Code been true, how would Jesus´ enemies have made use of it?)