For the next two Great Women of the Bible Posts (including this post) will be dedicated to the Marys in the Bible. Mary Edition Part 1 is Mary, mother of Jesus Christ and Mary Magdalene.
Mary-The mother of the saviour and a woman honoured above all
Family Background-Mary was of the tribe of Judah and of the line of David. She was married to Joseph, son of Heli and they conceived Jesus by the Holy Spirit. She had sons James, Joses, Simon, Judas and unnamed daughters. Her cousin was Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptist.
Name Meaning-Mary is a Hebrew name meaning bitterness, rebellion
Who is Mary?
Mary was a women from the tribe of Judah and the line of David. She was from the city of Galilee called Nazareth. She was betrothed to a man called Joseph, who also was from the line of David and tribe of Judah. The Bible tells us she was a virgin.
The scripture tells us that an angel of the Lord called Gabriel appeared to Mary and said:
“Rejoice, highly favoured one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!”
Mary was scared and troubled when she saw the angel, wondering why the angel was there. The angel told her:
“Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favour with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.”
Mary asked the angel how this could happen as she does not man (keep in mind that she was a virgin and not married to Joseph yet).
The angel told her:
“The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God. Now indeed, Elizabeth your relative has also conceived a son in her old age; and this is now the sixth month for her who was called barren. For with God nothing will be impossible.”
Then Mary replied, “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.”
After the visitation of angel Gabriel, Mary went to a town in Judea to visit her relative Elizabeth. The Bible tells us that once Mary greeted Elizabeth, the baby in Elizabeth’s womb rejoiced and was filled with the holy spirit:
“Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! But why am I so favoured, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfil his promises to her!”
Mary then replied with a song of thanksgiving in Luke 1:46-55. She stayed with Elizabeth for about three months and then returned home.
Mary was pledged to marry Joseph, but before they come together she was pregnant by the Holy Spirit. As Joseph was a man who was faithful to the law and did not want to disgrace her publically, he made up his mind to divorce her quietly. However an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to him to take Mary as his wife because what she had conceived was from the Holy Spirit.
Soon after this, Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census that everyone had to take in their town. Joseph went with Mary to the town of Bethlehem as he was from the house and the line of David. While they were there, Mary gave birth to her son Jesus. She wrapped him up in cloths in a manager, as there was no guest room available for them.
Why is Mary great?
Mary, as the mother of Jesus Christ, is the most well known female in the Bible. She was called ‘highly favoured one’ and ‘blessed are you among women’. This means that Mary had received so much grace and unmerited favour from God. Undoubtedly, as the mother of saviour she is a great woman. This alone is not her only call to greatness, but her character.
Mary was a humble and young woman who faced losing her fiancé due to being an unwed mother. Even though she was to be honoured as the mother of saviour, she must of known the possibility of being rejected and publically disgraced . Mary’s submission to God’s plans could have cost her rejection from those around her yet she was still willing to submit herself unto God.
What amazes me, is the way Mary received the message from the angel of God. She did not doubt the message but received it in obedience and faith by answering “I am the Lord’s servant…May your word to me be fulfilled”. Mary’s song of thanksgiving showed her gratitude and also spoke of her humility. Mary was mindful of the fact that she was a humble village girl.
What can we learn from Mary?
We can learn from Mary’s submission and obedience to God. Mary must of known the challenges she could have faced by submitting herself to God’s plan. She risked losing Joseph and being disgraced publically as a unwed mother. Mary probably knew the suffering she would go through as Jesus’ mother. She knew that one day she will see her son die in order to save us from our sins. She may not have realised how painful the death was to be, only until she stood there watching her child die on the cross. Still, she willing submitted herself to God and his plans. She rejoiced in his plans. She had faith in his plans. Can we willingly accept God’s plans? Can we rejoice in God’s plans like Mary did, when we know we may face challenges? Can we have faith in his plans? Can we be submissive and obedient to his plans?
Mary Magdalene- A loyal and faithful follower
Family Background-The Bible does not mention her family background.
Name Meaning-Mary is a Hebrew name meaning bitterness, rebellion. The name Magdalene in Hebrew means the tower.
Who is Mary Magdalene?
Mary Magdalene is one of the most speculated woman figures in the Bible. There have been claims that have been made about her which is untrue, such as the claim that she was a prostitute. The Bible does not mention the woman who washed her washed Jesus’ feet was Mary Magdalene.
However we do know that, Mary Magdalene was a woman that Jesus cast seven demons out. She, among other women became followers of Jesus Christ. The bible mentions that these women that followed Jesus helped by supporting his ministry with their own means.
Mary Magdalene witnessed many of the crucifixion events. She was there along with Jesus’ mother Mary and other women who stood near Jesus at the cross. She along with other women went to Jesus’ tomb to anoint his body, the stone of his tomb had already been rolled away. They were told Jesus had arisen and they should tell the disciples and Peter. The disciples did not believe Mary Magdalene and the others as the Bible says ‘their words seemed like nonsense’.
Early on in the first of the day of the week, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and did not find Jesus there. So she told Simon Peter and the other disciple, that they had taken the Lord away from the tomb. The disciples looked into the tomb and found the linen that was used to wrap Jesus’ head was there. Mary Magdalene stood outside the tomb crying, the two angels then asked her why she was crying. She replied that had her Lord had been taken away. Mary Magdalene turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she didn’t realise it was him. She realised that it was Jesus when he said her name. Jesus told Mary to tell the rest that he was ascending to the father. Mary Magdalene told the disciples that she had seen Jesus. Mary Magdalene was the first to see Jesus out of his followers and disciples.
Why is Mary Magdalene great?
Mary Magdalene was great because she was the first person honoured to see Jesus after his resurrection. She had great faith and believed that he had arisen even before his disciples. Later on Jesus rebuked his disciples for their lack of faith in not believing that he had arisen when Mary Magdalene others who told them of his resurrection.
Additionally, Mary Magdalene was a loyal woman who was supportive and generous. She is listed amongst women who helped support Jesus’ ministry with their own money.
What can we learn from Mary Magdalene?
We can learn from Mary Magdalene’s great faith in Jesus. She was obedient in telling the others that Jesus had arisen when the angels of the Lord sent them. She believed when she saw Jesus and did not question him. Her faith did not waver. As a follower of Jesus, we are bound to face difficult times in the world. When Mary Magdalene and the others told the disciples that Jesus had arisen, they thought she was talking nonsense. As Christians, people may think your beliefs is ‘nonsense’ and you may be ridiculed for your beliefs. However you and I must hold onto the truth. We must keep the faith like Mary Magdalene, regardless of whether people think it is nonsense or not. Jesus is worth it all!