Tyndale House Publishers
Jesus and Mary Magdalene: A ‘Divine’ Encounter
By Belinda Elliott
CBN.com Daily Life Producer
The Da Vinci Code by author Dan Brown remains at the forefront of our culture’s attention three years after it was first published. Although some readers may believe that they have discovered age-old religious “secrets” and cover-ups stemming from biblical days, the novel has actually raised more questions than answers for people unfamiliar with God’s Word. An example of this is the mystery surrounding Mary Magdalene, a woman in the Bible that became an ardent supporter of Christ and His ministry after she was delivered from demon possession.
Many biblical truths are twisted in Brown’s novel and Mary Magdalene, too, is not portrayed accurately. The author suggests that Jesus was not the Son of God , that He married Mary Magdalene, and that she conceived His child. With the release of the movie less than a month away, popular fiction author Karen Kingsbury aims to clarify the relationship between Christ and Mary Magdalene as one of disciple and teacher rather than lovers or husband and wife. She also sets out to refute the false claim that Jesus was not divine.
Unless readers are familiar with The Da Vinci Code and the erroneous theology espoused in it, they may not make the connection between Kingsbury’s story and her refutation of the false claims of Brown’s work. However, whether readers have read Brown’s novel or not, Divine is still a powerful story about Christ’s love and redemption.
The story is set in modern-day Washington, D.C., where the main character, Mary Madison, runs a shelter for battered women. As Mary tells her story to Emma Randall, a single mother seeking refuge at the shelter, readers discover Mary’s history of domestic and sexual abuse going back to her childhood when she was kidnapped and forced into prostitution.
Readers also learn of Mary’s loving Grandma Peggy, who continuously prays for her granddaughter. A scripture that her grandmother placed in a small red purse becomes Mary’s only source of strength to endure the abuse. But not knowing how to find her grandmother once she escapes her captors, Mary grows into a distressed young woman who continues to make unwise decisions that place her in harm’s way.
Kingsbury skillfully explores domestic abuse and the tendency for women living with abusive men to return to them again and again because they so frantically seek love and affection. This is the cycle Mary finds herself in until she meets a man who points her to the One who truly loves her. When she meets Christ her life is changed, and she becomes determined to share this hope and love with other desperate and broken women.
As she shares her story with Emma, readers are given a front-row seat to watch how God rescues people who feel hopeless, alone, and as if their lives are not worth living anymore. They are also reminded that often moments of pain in their lives can later become opportunities for them to minister to others.
The author poignantly shows how, as Christians, we may be called upon to share our own stories of how Christ rescued us and brought healing to our lives. Through Mary’s interactions with Emma, she vividly demonstrates that Christ uses everything we go through for a greater good.
While Kingsbury’s story takes place today, and is representative of many people’s stories being played out each day on the streets of America, hope and salvation are still found in the same place they’ve always been found. Just as the real Mary Magdalene encountered Christ 2000 years ago, He still reaches out to us today. Only He has the power to change lives. Only He can rescue people from the depths of despair and reshape their lives into something beautiful.
“You may not relate to a story about abuse or faithlessness or promiscuity,” Kingsbury writes in the book’s introduction. “But as long as the enemy of our souls exists, all of us will suffer abuse in some form -- fear, doubt, loneliness, addiction, lifestyle sin. We are all in need of a rescue by the only One with the power to do so.”
Divine shares a message that we all need to hear and take to heart.
Learn more about Jesus Christ.
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