From ancient times Mary Magdalene has been thought to be the sinful woman who repented and anointed Jesus’ feet. However, there has been long standing debate over whether the repentant prostitute is Mary Magdalene.
Valerius Herberger writes, “We do not want to grow grey hairs over this debate…” Neither do I, since mine are already grey.
An examination of Luke 7:36-50 provides no biblical basis for Mary Magdalene being the repentant prostitute.
What we do know for sure is that she saw Jesus die. She also witnessed his burial. And most important of all, she was the first to see Him alive after His resurrection (John 20:11-18). Bernard of Clairveux calls her “the apostle to the apostles.” For as we read in John 20:18, she “announced to the disciples, ‘I have seen the Lord’ - and that he had said these things to her.”
Because John’s gospel reports her as weeping at the tomb, she is often portrayed with red eyes. Icons depict her standing by the tomb holding a red egg.
We sing Your praise for Mary,
Who came at Easter dawn
To look for Jesus’ body
And found her Lord was gone.
But, as with joy she saw Him
In resurrection light,
May we by faith behold Him,
The Day who ends our night!
LSB 855 st. 11, For All the Faithful Women