Women of the Bible – Mary, Mother of Jesus

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Mary, Mother of Jesus

Her name means: Bitterness

You can find her story in: Luke 1 & 2; Matthew 1 & 2, 12:46;  John 2:1-11, 19:25;  Acts 1:14

Mary, did you know  – that your baby boy will one day walk on water?
Mary, did you know – that your baby boy will save our sons and daughters?
Did you know that your baby boy has come to make you new?
This child that you’ve delivered, will soon deliver you.
Lyrics by Mark Lowry

Mary, did YOU know…

  • that the story of the birth of Christ in the book of Luke is told from Mary’s point of view?

Luke starts the book named after him with “Many people have tried to tell the story of what God has done among us. They wrote what we had been told by the ones who were there in the beginning and saw what happened. So I made a careful study of everything and then decided to write and tell you exactly what took place.  Every good reporter interviews the eye witnesses. Luke must’ve interviewed Mary because he shares intimate details that only she could know.

Mary, did YOU know…

  • that her family tree is found in Luke 3?

It’s Joseph’s family tree that is listed in Matthew 1. The two lines are the same except Mary came from David’s son, Nathan and Joseph’s line comes through King Solomon. So Jesus’ human blood line through Mary was clear of the so-called “curse of Jeconiah” (found in Jeremiah 22) but through His “legal father” Joseph, Jesus was from the line of kings. 

Mary, did YOU know…

  • that she was a humble peasant girl?

“She was just a poor girl in an insignificant town, from a humble family, with no great expectations that her life was going to be any different from her mother’s or from that of the other women in her town.”

But God chose her to give birth to the Son of God and to be the “most blessed among women.”  What difference can one woman make? A lot if she believes. Elizabeth said Mary was blessed because she believed what God told her.

Mary, did YOU know…

  • that her blessing included total surrender?

When Mary understood the angel Gabriel’s message, she replied, “I am the Lord’s slave.” The original word here is doula meaning a female slave, bondmaid, handmaid, a servant, an attendant – one who gives herself up wholly to another’s will – devoted to another to the disregard of one’s own interests. Mary trusted even when she didn’t understand and was willing to sacrifice all for God.

The first thing she had to sacrifice was her reputation. In our day and age, it’s no big deal for a single woman to be pregnant (and if she doesn’t want to be she just gets an abortion because of the inconvenience of it all.) But in Mary’s day it was a scandal for her and for her fiancé, Joseph, for her to be pregnant before their engagement period was over. God had to come in a dream to Joseph and let him know he should not divorce Mary. 

Mary, did YOU know…

  • that she was a trusting traveler, going wherever God sent her?

Some are called to ordinary lives of faithfulness, never leaving their own hometown. But others, like Mary, are called to live extraordinary lives. To do that, Mary had to travel. A lot. First to her cousin Elizabeth’s house alone, then on to Bethlehem with Joseph, then to Jersusalem for the temple presentation, then running for their lives in the night to Egypt and finally back to Nazareth.

Mary, did YOU know…

  • that she was a poet?

Some commentators hypothesize that someone else wrote what has become known as Mary’s Magnificat – her beautiful song of praise to God. These “experts” think that a simple peasant girl like Mary could not possibly have spoken such eloquent, theologically correct poetry. But like Hannah before her, Mary knew God’s Word and had obviously hid it in her heart. With Elizabeth’s encouragement Mary’s mouth opened and her soul proclaimed the greatness and favor of God towards her and her nation. 

Mary, did YOU know…

  • that she was a thinker?

But Mary was treasuring up all these things in her heart and meditating on them. Luke 2:19
His mother kept all these things in her heart. Luke 2:51 

Mary had a lot to think about: What the angel said to her. What Elizabeth said to her. What the shepherds said to her. What the Wise Men said to her. What Simeon said to her – especially what he said to her about suffering.

Mary, did YOU know…

  • that her blessing included suffering?

Simeon told Mary that a sword would pierce her own soul. And it’s true, she would have to stand by and watch as: her other sons doubted Jesus (not becoming believers until after He rose from the dead), her hometown of Nazareth wanted to throw her Son off a cliff and finally as her beloved firstborn died in excruciating pain on the cross.

Mary, did YOU know…

  • she was a good mom and a good advice giver?

“A child who is not taught to obey his parents will not obey God.” Herbert Lockyer

Mary had mothered Jesus all his life – and he was an obedient son all his life. At Capernaum, however, she pointed out to him that their hosts had run out of wine. Jesus had to separate Himself from his mother, gently rebuking her that He would do things in God’s time not hers. She didn’t seem to take offense at his words but gave the servants the best advice for every servant of God:

“Whatever Jesus says to do, do it!”

Mary, did YOU know…

  • that she is not a god?

Revered as the Mother of Jesus, Mary has been made famous in numerous paintings of Madonna and child. She also has more women named after her than any other woman in the Bible (think of all the derivatives of Mary in all the different languages – Marie, Maria, Marianne, Miriam, etc.) 

Mary was “blessed among all women” but she was still just a human being – not a god to be worshipped or prayed to. John MacArthur says that in certain faith cultures Mary is worshipped and considered more approachable than Jesus. This statement completely shocked me. Why pray to Mary when you can go straight to the Son of God Himself?

I couldn’t help but notice a couple of correlations to some Old Testament women. We already learned that Elisheba, Elizabeth in Hebrew, was married to Aaron the first of the priestly line. Miriam (which is the same name as Mary), was the sister of Moses. Just like Mary, she looked after the savior of her people when infant Moses was set adrift in a little basket on the Nile. Just like Mary, she leads God’s people in a beautiful song of worship after they crossed the Red Sea.

But then Miriam goes and ruins it all – grumbling and leading a rebellion against her brother Moses. God punishes her severely for her lack of humility. She failed to recognize that God had sent Moses alone to be the Deliverer. Not her. If people pray to Mary, Jesus’ Mother, its like Miriam all over again. Mary becomes a usurper of worship that should only be directed to her Son, Jesus Christ the Messiah.

How is Jesus involved in the story of Mary?

The coming of Mary’s son, Jesus, quite literally split time in two. Up until recently we measured time as BC and AD. BC stands for Before Christ and AD stands for Anno Domini – in the year of the Lord/in the year of our Lord. Some, who do not believe in God, would like to do away with marking time around the birth of Jesus so they have devised new labels for time: BCE which stands for Before the Common/Current Era and CE which stands for the Common/Current Era.

Me? I like the old way of marking time and am looking forward to the triumphant second coming of Christ. This time he won’t come as baby in the arms of a humble virgin . He will come as a conquering king. And who knows, maybe it will be sooner rather than later. After all, 2018 is the 70 year anniversary of Israel becoming a nation. 70 years is an important number in Israel’s history.  Something to think about.

Questions to Ponder

  1. Are you a doula/servant of God as defined above? If not, what is holding you back?
  2. What do you treasure in your heart? What do you meditate on?
  3. Do you know what Jesus says? Do you do what He says, obeying His Word?


Lord, the last mention of Mary in the Bible is in the book of Acts where she is praying in the upper room. Help me to be a committed prayer warrior like Mary. Help me to be a committed servant like Mary – one who quickly gives herself up wholly to Your will – devoted to You even to the point of disregarding my own interests. This is not easy but we learned in the story of Mary that with You all things are possible. Make it so. Amen

The Bottom Line:

Things I learned from Mary:  God can use women who are fully submitted to Him.

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