Meet Mary: Mother of Jesus

Mary Mother of Jesus
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Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ, was a young girl, probably only about 12 or 13 years old when the angel Gabriel came to her. She had recently become engaged to a carpenter named Joseph. Mary was an ordinary Jewish girl, looking forward to marriage. Suddenly her life changed forever.

Mary, Mother of Jesus

  • Known for: Mary was the mother of the Messiah, Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world. She was a willing servant, trusting in God and obeying his call.
  • Bible References: Jesus' mother Mary is mentioned throughout the Gospels and in Acts 1:14.
  • Hometown: Mary was from Nazareth in Galilee.
  • Husband: Joseph
  • Relatives: Zechariah and Elizabeth
  • Children: Jesus, James, Joses, Judas, Simon and daughters
  • Occupation: Wife, mother, and homemaker.

Mary in the Bible

Mary appears by name in the Synoptic Gospels and in the book of Acts. Luke contains the most references to Mary and places the greatest emphasis on her role in God's plan.

Mary is mentioned by name in the genealogy of Jesus, in the annunciation, in Mary's visit with Elizabeth, in the birth of Jesus, in the visit of the wise men, in Jesus' presentation in the temple, and in the Nazarene's rejection of Jesus.

In Acts, she is referred to as "Mary, the mother of Jesus" (Acts 1:14), where she participates in the community of believers and prays with the apostles. The Gospel of John never mentions Mary by name, but refers to the "mother of Jesus" in the account of the wedding at Cana (John 2:1–11) and standing near the cross at the crucifixion (John 19:25–27).

The Calling of Mary

Fearful and troubled, Mary found herself in the presence of the angel Gabriel listening to his announcement. She could never have expected to hear the most incredible news—that she would have a child, and her son would be the Messiah. Although she could not comprehend how she would conceive the Savior, she responded to God with humble belief and obedience.

Although Mary's calling held great honor, it would demand great suffering too. There would be pain in childbirth and motherhood, as well as in the privilege of being the mother of the Messiah.

Mary's Strengths

The angel told Mary in Luke 1:28 that she was highly favored by God. This phrase simply meant that Mary had been given much grace or "unmerited favor" from God. Even with God's favor, Mary would still suffer much.

Although she would be highly honored as the mother of the Savior, she would first know disgrace as an unwed mother. She nearly lost her fiance. Her beloved son was rejected and cruelly murdered. Mary's submission to God's plan would cost her dearly, yet she was willing to be God's servant.

God knew that Mary was a woman of rare strength. She was the only human being to be with Jesus throughout his entire life—from birth until death.

She gave birth to Jesus as her baby and watched him die as her Savior. Mary also knew the Scriptures. When the angel appeared and told her the baby would be God's Son, Mary replied, "I am the Lord's servant ... may it be to me as you have said." (Luke 1:38). She knew of the Old Testament prophesies about the coming Messiah.

Mary's Weaknesses

Mary was young, poor, and female. These qualities made her unsuitable in the eyes of her people to be used mightily of God. But God saw Mary's trust and obedience. He knew she would willingly serve God in one of the most important callings ever given to a human being.

God looks at our obedience and trust—typically not the qualifications that humans consider important. God will often use the most unlikely candidates to serve him.

Life Lessons

Mary was willing to submit her life to God's plan no matter what it would cost her. Obedience to the Lord's will meant Mary would be disgraced as an unwed mother. Surely she expected Joseph to divorce her, or worse yet, he might even have her put to death by stoning (as the law permitted).

Mary may not have considered the full extent of her future suffering. She may not have imagined the pain of watching her beloved child bear the weight of sin and die a terrible death on the cross. But surely she knew that her life would hold many sacrifices as the mother of the Messiah.

Being chosen by God for a high calling requires total commitment and a willingness to sacrifice everything out of love and devotion to one's Savior.

Question for Reflection

Am I like Mary, willing to accept God's plan no matter the cost? Can I go a step further and rejoice in that plan as Mary did, knowing it will cost me dearly?

Key Bible Verses

Luke 1:38
"I am the Lord's servant," Mary answered. "May it be to me as you have said." Then the angel left her. (NIV)

Luke 1:46-50
(Excerpt From Mary's Song)
And Mary said:
"My soul glorifies the Lord
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has been mindful
of the humble state of his servant.
From now on all generations will call me blessed,
for the Mighty One has done great things for me—
holy is his name.
His mercy extends to those who fear him,
from generation to generation."

Source

  • Mary, Mother of Jesus. The Lexham Bible Dictionary.