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Places of Interest


 Mary Magdalene



1. Magdala, also known as Migdal, is located on the northwestern shore of the Sea of Galilee.


2. It was located on the Via Maris (International Highway linking Africa with Asia and Europe).

3. A massive tower foundation was discovered here that may account for the city's name. Both Magdala in Aramaic and Migdal in Hebrew mean tower.


Historical Background


1. Excavations first revealed this buried seaport city in the 1960s. Later, more of Magdala was recently discovered in 2009. It’s believed a flash flood covered it sometime in the latter part of the 1st Century, as there have been no coins or artifacts found dating later than 67 AD.


2. It was a fishing village and had one of the largest fish markets in the northern Galilee area.


3. It has one of the oldest, most well-preserved synagogues in Israel.


4. This synagogue was in use during the time of Jesus, and He certainly would have preached here regularly.
Matthew 4:23: And he went throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction among the people.


5. On one occasion, Jesus came to this area after feeding 4,000 people on the eastern side of the Sea of Galilee.
Matthew 15:38–39: Those who ate were four thousand men, besides women and children. 39 And after sending away the crowds, he got into the boat and went to the region of Magadan (Magdala).


6. Magdala, and the immediate area around it, had an estimated population of around 40,000 people during the time of Christ.


7. It had a boat harbor with a fleet of around 230 boats. Today, it is still used as a boat launch, and many boats are parked just north of this site.


8. It has a rare stone replica of the temple in Jerusalem with detailed carvings showing different aspects of the temple.


9. Magdala was the hometown of the famous Jewish historian Josephus.


10. It was the hometown of Mary Magdalene, from whom Christ cast out 7 demons.

11. It was the largest Jewish city around the Sea of Galilee.

12. The area around Magdala is called "Migdal," the Hebrew name for Magdala.

13. Magdala became a center of rebellion against Rome and a fortified base for rebels during the first Jewish revolt that began in AD 66.

14. In AD 67, three Roman legions commanded by Vespasian reached Magdala and surrounded the city. After its defeat, many of the rebels tried to escape by boat across Galilee with disastrous results. The Romans engaged them in a sea battle and killed so many that the water in the Sea of Galilee turned red with their blood. Another 1,200 were executed in nearby Tiberias. Of the remaining Magdala citizens, 6,000 were sent to build a canal in Greece, and 30,000 were sold as slaves.


Places of Interest


1. Synagogue


2. Beth Midrash (teaching area in the synagogue)


3. Stone with grooves (used for reading the scrolls in the synagogue)


4. A rare stone replica of the temple in Jerusalem in the synagogue


5. Well-preserved mosaics in the synagogue


6. Scroll storage room in the synagogue


7. Marketplace


8. Fishmarket area


9. Residential area


10. Mikvahs


11. Harbor

12. Byzantine Monastery


13. Duc In Altum (Latin for "Put out into the deep") is a spiritual center in Magdala where all can worship. It has a unique Galilean boat as an altar and has a beautiful view behind it of the Sea of Galilee. This center was built in honor of Mary Magdalene. One of its purposes is to honor and support women today.


Magdala (Mary Magdalene) in the Bible


1. Jesus preached here regularly.
Matthew 4:23: And he went throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction among the people.


Matthew 15:38–39: Those who ate were four thousand men, besides women and children. 39 And after sending away the crowds, he got into the boat and went to the region of Magadan [Magdala].


2. Jesus cast out 7 demons from Mary Magdalene.
Luke 8:1–3: 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, 3 and Joanna, the wife of Chuza, Herod's household manager, and Susanna, and many others, who provided for them out of their means.


3. Mary was likely a wealthy widow as she followed Christ everywhere and supported the ministry of Jesus financially.


4. A strong case could be made that Mary was one of Christ’s most devoted and loyal followers. 
She followed Jesus everywhere and supported Him financially, she was present at the mock trial of Jesus, she heard Pontius Pilate pronounce the death sentence upon Jesus, she saw Jesus beaten and humiliated by the crowd, she was one of the women who stood near Jesus during the crucifixion to try to comfort Him, and she was the first woman Christ appeared to after rising from the dead.


5. Mary looked from a distance at Christ’s crucifixion and then moved in closer during His last suffering hours on the cross.
Mark 15:40: There were also women looking on from a distance, among whom were Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James the younger and of Joses, and Salome.


John 19:25: But standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene.


6. Mary Magdalene helped buy expensive spices to anoint the body of Jesus after His crucifixion.
Mark 16:1: When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus’ body.


7. Mary was the earliest witness to the resurrection of Jesus and was sent by Jesus to tell the others.
Mark 16:9: When Jesus rose early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had driven seven demons.


John 20:11-18: But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb, and as she wept, she stooped to look into the tomb. 12 And she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had lain, one at the head and one at the feet. 13 They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.” 14 Having said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know that it was Jesus. 15 Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.” 16 Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned and said to him in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means Teacher). 17 Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” 18 Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”—and that he had said these things to her.


8. Even at the very end, Mary never lost her first love for Jesus.
Revelation 2:4: But I have this against you, that you have left your first love.


9. There is also no doubt that Mary served Christ alongside the apostles for the rest of her life.


Faith Lesson from Magdala and Mary Magdalene


1. Christ cast out 7 demons from Mary. This changed her life forever and filled her with deep gratitude to Jesus. Are we grateful for what God has done for us as well?


2. Mary loved Christ profoundly and was one of His most devoted followers. She is the model of what it means to love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. Are we devoted to Christ as Mary was?


3. Mary supported Jesus’ ministry financially. Do we support Jesus’ ministries as well?


4. Mary never lost her first love for Christ. Have we lost our first love?


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