Luke 8:1 - 3
ESV - 1 Soon afterward he went on through cities and villages, proclaiming and bringing the good news of the kingdom of God. And the twelve were with him. 2 And also some women who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities: Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out.
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Mary Magdalene was a disciple, but not an apostle. Jesus had many disciples (a title coming from the Latin meaning "learners" or "students"), and whose number included the apostles. But the twelve individuals designated as apostles (a title meaning "messenger", from the Greek verb meaning "to send out") were also the specific ones whom Jesus sent out to evangelize the world. (Even though Paul is not found in the lists of Jesus' apostles that were included in the gospels (Matthew 10:2-4; Mark 3:16-19; Luke 6:14-16), he is also considered an apostle in light of the specific statement of the glorified Christ in Acts 9:15 of the purpose for which He had appeared to Paul (who was still known as Saul at that time) on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:4-8).) (Also, Matthias (Acts 1:15-26) is considered an apostle by virtue of having been specifically chosen for that purpose by the other apostles in order to replace Judas, who had originally been chosen as an apostle, but who had hanged himself following his betrayal of Jesus.) Although Jesus' disciples included both men and women, the apostles were exclusively male, based on factors such as those noted by Paul -- who elsewhere in his epistles (such as Galatians 3:28) affirmed that in Christ there was neither male nor female -- in 1 Timothy 2:12-13. There would have been a widespread bias or resistance with regard to men receiving instruction from women, which would have obscured and hindered the substance and effectiveness of the vital gospel message that the apostles were entrusted with conveying and spreading.
If you remove all the possible sexist connotations from the evidence, looking purely at the facts, Mary was both a disciple AND an apostle. The term "disciple" comes from the Koine Greek word mathētḗs (μαθητής),which generally means "one who engages in learning through instruction from a teacher". And Jesus had many disciples - the 12, so chosen to symbolically judge over the 12 tribes of Israel, (Matt 19:28) the 72 whom he sent out as missionaries, and many others including women like Mary Magdalene, and, of course, Mary of Bethany who was one of the most insightful of disciples often understanding Jesus' teaching more quickly than any of the 12. So as Mary Magdalene learned from Jesus, she was, indeed, a disciple. The term "apostle" is very different and is completely separate from discipleship. The term means an emissary, from Greek ἀπόστολος (apóstolos), literally "one who proclaims", from the verb ἀποστέλλειν (apostéllein), "to send out". The 12, with the exception of Judas Iscariot, all therefore became apostles, as, after Pentecost, they went out to proclaim the Good News of Christ across the Roman Empire and beyond. But many others also proclaimed the Good News too - Paul described himself as "the least of the apostles" (1 Cor 15:9), and he also called Junia, a woman, "prominent among the apostles" (Rom 16:7). It can therefore be argued, based in the definition of "apostle", that Mary Magdalene was the first apostle, because she was the first to meet the resurrected Christ, and proclaim the good news of this to the 11 remaining out of the 12. In many traditions and churches, this has therefore earned her the nickname "the Apostle to the Apostles".
Throughout the good book, when Jesus speaks about a disciple or apostle he acknowledges male or female with he, she or a name. In only one instance has this occurred, Acts 9-36: "Now there was at Joppa a certain disciple named Tabitha, which by interpretation is called Dorcas: this woman was full of good works and almsdeeds which she did." So for anyone to write anything different is very misleading. Mary is no different than anyone else who has received Jesus as their Lord and Savior. Are we smarter than GOD?
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