Great Women Of The Bible-The Mary Edition Part 1 (Mary & Mary Magdalene )

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

Bible Reference-Matthew 1:1-25; 2; 12:46; 13;55-56; Mark 6:3; 3:31; Luke 1; 2; John 2:1-11;19:25; Acts 1:14

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

Bible Reference-Matthew 27; Matthew 28; Mark 15 ; Mark 16 ; Luke 8; Luke 24; John 19:25; John 20:1-18

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!

 

Stay Blessed

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Great Women of The Bible Challenge- Jemima & Joanna

 

Jemima- Most beautiful and a women of inheritance

Bible Reference- Job 42:12-15

Family Background- Jemima was the daughter of Job, the eldest of three daughters (sister to Keziah and Keren-Happuch)

Name Meaning- Jemima or Jemimah means dove in Hebrew

Who is Jemima?

Jemima was the eldest daughter of Job. Job, was a blessed man who lived righteously. God sings praises of Job and the Devil challenges Job’s character, suggesting that he only served God because God protects him. God removes his protection and allows Satan to take his children, his health and his wealth but not his life in order to test Job.  Despite what Job went through, he continued to serve, worship and praise God. For this, God restored his fortunes and gave him twice more than he had before. Jemima was born to him after his return to prosperity.

Why is Jemima great?

Even though there is little known about Jemima, she is a great character in the Bible. Not only were her and her sisters the most beautiful women of their time, their father granted them an inheritance along with their brothers. This is unusual especially at that time for women to receive inheritance. This demonstrates that Jemima and her siblings were distinguished women of their time. It was expected for men to receive inheritance but not for women.

What can we learn from Jemima?

It is interesting to see that Jemima and her sisters names were mentioned but not her brothers names. What we can take from this story, is that we can all be great regardless of our gender. It does not matter whether you are a woman or a man you have been called to be great. You may think that because you are a female you can not be in a particular position or achieve something that is not expected. You can! Look at Jemima and her sisters, they were not expected to receive inheritance yet they did.

Joanna- Jesus’ Supporter and a woman healed by Christ

Bible Reference- Luke 8:1-3, Luke 23:55-56, Luke 24:1-12

Family Background- Joanna was the wife of Chuza,the manager of Herod’s household.

Name Meaning- Joanna means God is gracious in Hebrew

Who is Joanna?

We are introduced to Joanna in Luke 8. We are told that Jesus travelled from one town to the other preaching the good news. There were twelve with him and some women who had been cured of diseases and evil spirits. This included Mary Magdalene,  Joanna, Susanna and many others. These women were helping to support using their own means.

We are not told whether she was delivered from evil sprits or healed from a disease. However we do know that Joanna gave her life to Christ and followed him.Her husband who held the position of a steward of Herod’s household suggests that Joanna and her husband had social prominence. It also suggests that they were a wealthy couple.

At the burial of the Jesus, Joanna and the women saw the tomb and his body laid in it. They then went home to prepare spices and perfumes. They stayed obedient by resting on the Sabbath.

Joanna and the rest of women took the spices they prepared and went to the tomb. They rolled the stone away from the tomb but the body was not there. They wondered where the body went, then two men appeared, telling them that Jesus had resurrected. The women including Joanna, Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James went to tell the apostles but they did not believe them.

Why is Joanna great?

Before I read this, I did not know much about Joanna. I am so glad I included Joanna as part of the Great Women of the Bible. What strikes me so much about this woman and the others, is their incredible faith. She along with the other women in Luke 24:1-12:

On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee:  ‘The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’ ” Then they remembered his words.When they came back from the tomb, they told all these things to the Eleven and to all the others. It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the others with them who told this to the apostles. But they did not believe the women, because their words seemed to them like nonsense. Peter, however, got up and ran to the tomb. Bending over, he saw the strips of linen lying by themselves, and he went away, wondering to himself what had happened.

Joanna and the women told the apostles that Jesus had risen and they did not believe it. Think about it for a minute, these were the guys that accompanied him everywhere in his ministry, knew him personally and loved him. These same men thought that the women were speaking nonsense.  Yet Joanna spoke boldly to the apostles and told them what she had heard.  She believed that Jesus was crucified and had risen by remembering his words. The bible tells us that faith comes through hearing by Christ which she did. She heard God’s word and believed it. She had great confidence in Jesus. You can tell she cared so much for Jesus by preparing spices and perfumes for his body. The one who cured her disease and her soul became precious to her. She showed this love by supporting him and his followers financially.

Joanna could have lead another life of power and riches, being married to Chuza (manager of Herod’s household). Yet she used the power that she had and found the greatest power of all, Jesus. God then honoured Joanna’s faithfulness by her being one of the first witnesses to the Resurrection.

Joanna was truly great!

What can we learn from Joanna?

The Bible tells us without faith it is impossible to please him. If we wish to draw near to God we must believe that he exists. Joanna and the other women believed in his words, they remembered that Jesus would die and rise on the third day. For this she was rewarded. We can learn from Joanna’s story, to believe in God always. When God tells us something, we should believe, we shouldn’t think it is nonsense like the apostles did or go out and check for evidence like Peter. We should build our confidence in Christ Jesus.

Stay Blessed

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