Did Mary Magdalene Go to Heaven? (What Happened to Mary Magdalene in the Bible?)

I’ve heard a lot of theories surrounding Mary Magdalene. The most prevalent was that she was Jesus’ wife, which earned her an automatic spot in Heaven. As a theology student, this sparked my curiosity; I decided to investigate this claim. A few hours in the library and several conversations later convinced me the theory was false. Decades later, as I taught my theology class on the New Testament, someone asked if Mary Magdalene went to Heaven. Upon further questioning, I learned he, like many others, had read Dan Brown’s novel The Da Vinci Code, leaving them with many questions. In my response, I helped them separate myth from mystery to give a clearer understanding of the issue. So, did Mary Magdalene go to Heaven?

Mary Magdalene likely went to Heaven. She was a devout follower of Jesus (Luke 8:2) and a believer in the resurrection. Mary was probably in the upper room when the Holy Spirit descended (Acts 1:14). For all intent and purpose, Mary was a Christian, filled with the Spirit, and devoted to our Lord. Consequently, we can safely assume she went to Heaven.

This article explores Mary Magdalene’s final destination. I invite you to learn the prevailing theories about her death and what happened to her after the resurrection.

Did Jesus forgive Mary Magdalene?

Yes. Jesus evidently forgave Mary Magdalene. We know this because she was a devout follower of Jesus, listed among the women who traveled and even financed his ministry (Luke 8:2-3).

This question usually stems from an assumption that Mary Magdalene was a prostitute or a sinful woman. Some conflate her with the sinful woman in Luke 7:37 and the adulterous woman in John 8:1-11. However, there’s no Biblical basis for these assumptions.

Nevertheless, Jesus cast out seven demons from her, which made her devote her time and resources to His ministry. We can, therefore, assume that Jesus forgave her for whatever her past sins were.

Where in the Bible does it say Mary Magdalene went to Heaven?

Did Mary Magdalene Go to Heaven? 
Where in the Bible does it say Mary Magdalene went to Heaven? Image source: Pixabay

The Bible doesn’t mention Mary Magdalene’s ascent to Heaven. However, we infer from her life and devotion to Jesus that she went to Heaven. Mary Magdalene believed that Jesus was the Messiah, which aligns with the promise of God in John 3:15 that anyone who believes in Jesus shall have eternal life.

How Did Mary Magdalene Die?

We remain uncertain how she died. Several traditions narrate the death of Mary Magdalene. The most popular are the French and Eastern traditions.

French Tradition

According to this tradition, Mary Magdalene lived in Jerusalem for fourteen years. However, she and other Christians were captured, put in a boat without a sail or oars, and left to drift on the Mediterranean. God guided the boat to France. Mary Magdalene went east and spent 30 years in a cave.

Feeling her end was near, Mary Magdalene traveled to Aix-en-Provence, where she received the Eucharist and died shortly after. Her remains were buried in Saint-Maximin-la-Sainte-Baume.

Eastern Tradition

According to this tradition, Mary Magdalene accompanied the Apostle John and Mary, the mother of Jesus, to Ephesus, where she died and was buried. This theory is the most plausible given that John was charged with caring for Mary. It’s, therefore, not far-fetched that Mary Magdalene would join them.

Was Mary Magdalene murdered like the rest of Jesus’s crew?

Did Mary Magdalene Go to Heaven?
Was Mary Magdalene murdered like the rest of Jesus’s crew? Image source: Freepik

There isn’t evidence that she was murdered like the other disciples. Most traditions agree she died of old age. They differ in where she died and the circumstances surrounding her death. Interestingly, one could argue that not being martyred debunks her prominence in the early church, as the gnostic gospels suggest.

Why do Christians believe that Mary Magdalene went to Heaven?

Christians believe she went to Heaven because she was a devout follower of Jesus and believed He was the Messiah. These align with the promise that whoever believes receives eternal life (John 3:16). The Bible paints Mary Magdalene as a close follower of Jesus and one of the few present during his trial, torture, death, and resurrection. I find it interesting that Jesus chose her to be the first witness of his resurrection, given that she isn’t as prominent in the gospels as the other disciples.

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