Bible Society of South Africa

Mary, mother of Jesus – 2 September 2021

By Ben Fourie

Bible text(s)

The Birth of Jesus is Announced

26In the sixth month of Elizabeth's pregnancy God sent the angel Gabriel to a town in Galilee named Nazareth. 27He had a message for a young woman promised in marriage to a man named Joseph, who was a descendant of King David. Her name was Mary.

Luke 1:26-27GNBOpen in Bible reader

Among all the people whose lives were touched by Jesus, Mary would stand out, but it is strange that we actually know very little about her. Her name is the Greek form of the Hebrew name Miriam. Thousands of paintings and sculptures have been made of Mary, but nobody really knows what she looked like. The Bible gives us no description of her other than that she was a virgin living in Nazareth who was promised in marriage to a man named Joseph.

In Matthew chapter one, Joseph’s list of ancestors could be traced back to that of Abraham, but we do not hear about the ancestors of Mary. Some Bible interpreters say that she was also a descendant of King David. As the Bible tells us, Jesus comes from the line of David, logically Mary should also be from the house of David as Joseph was not his biological father. We do not really know for sure.

Apart from the announcement by the angel, the visit to Elizabeth, the nativity story, the flight to Egypt and the occasion when Joseph and Mary took the 12-year-old boy to Jerusalem, we only hear about Mary a few times. We know she was at the wedding in Cana and Luke 8:19 tells us that his mother and brothers came to him, but were unable to reach him due to a large crowd. She was also among the women and other followers on the day that Jesus died on the cross. Acts 1:14 recorded that she was one of those who went to the upper room to pray after Jesus’ ascension, so it seems reasonable that she was present when Jesus was taken up to heaven.

One can only wonder how she must have felt when the angel told her that she was to become the mother of the Messiah, and what went through her mind when she was there when he died on the cross. We do not know, but what we do know was that her whole life was completely changed. Just listen to what she said in Luke 1:48-49: “… From now on all people will call me happy, because of the great things the Mighty God has done for me. His name is holy …” Even before the birth of Jesus, she knew that he would not only change her life but the course of the whole world.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, long ago, you used a young woman to bring your Son, Jesus Christ, into the world. Please use me to bring his message of love and redemption to the world. Amen

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