Mary, the mother of Jesus, is one of the most admired figures in Scripture. She was a willing servant who trusted God and obeyed His call. While her life held great honor, her calling also required great suffering. Though there was joy in motherhood, there was great pain in the privilege of being the mother of the Messiah. Despite these things, she responded to God with great obedience and submission to His Will. Her life never robbed Jesus of His glory because her mission was to witness the glory of the Son of God. Here are six incredible facts about Mary, mother of Jesus.
We Learn About Mary Before the New Testament
Mary’s life and role in the history of salvation is foreshadowed in the Old Testament and the events of her life are recorded in the New Testament. The prophecy of Isaiah 7:14 speaks of the virgin mother of Emmanuel, a name that has special Biblical meaning: “Therefore, the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and His name shall be called Emmanuel.” Later in Isaiah, Emmanuel is referred to as the future Savior of His people. The prophet foretells an extraordinary future sign: that a virgin, without the cooperation of a man, would give birth to a child who will be “God with us”. This child would remedy the great trials of division facing the people of Israel. Isaiah’s prophecy predicts the Virgin of Nazareth and the birth of Jesus.
She Was an Average Woman
Mary loved God and wanted to serve Him with all her heart. But she was just a poor girl in an insignificant town, from a humble family, with little expectations that her life going to be any different than most. When the angel Gabriel came to Mary to tell her she was chosen and favored by God to be the mother of His son, despite her own fear, she exhibited great courage and character: “I am the Lord’s servant…May your word to me be fulfilled” (Luke 1:38). She also exhibited great courage and character during Jesus’ earthly life and ministry. She pressed Jesus to provide wine when it ran low at the wedding in Cana, she approached Jesus when He was left behind at the temple, she went from Nazareth to Capernaum when she learned what was being reported their about Jesus, and she attempts to protect Jesus in some of the stickiest of situations. She was a person of discipleship and faith, and the first true follower of Jesus.
She Followed Jesus
There are indications throughout the Bible that show that Mary, as a mother, was interested in what her son was doing. At the time of Jesus’ crucifixion, she was among the group of disciples who followed Him. What was she thinking as she watched her son die in such an excruciating manner? Did she remember Simeon’s prediction just after Jesus’ birth? Simeon said, “This child is destined for the falling and the rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be opposed so that the inner thoughts of many will be revealed – and a sword will pierce your own soul too” (Luke 2:34-35). As Jesus hung on the cross, His hands and feet pierced, her soul was being pierced by the sword of grief. His words meant that God knew Jesus would be crucified and had a plan to use Jesus’ suffering. Even though she didn’t completely understand His call, she remained by His side because of her unconditional love for Him.
She Played a Big Role in Jesus’ Ministry
The first recorded miracle of Jesus was performed at a wedding in Cana. In John 2:1-2, we are told, “When the wine ran out, the mother of Jesus said to Him, ‘They have no wine.’ And Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, what does this have to do with me? My hour has not yet come.’ His mother said to the servants. ‘Do whatever he tells you.’” Mary was instrumental in calling Jesus’ attention to the need and these verses remind us of Jesus’ true purpose. She was also present at the Crucifixion in Jerusalem. There, she was given into John the Apostle’s care. She was also present with the disciples in the days before the Pentecost.
She Remained by Jesus’ Side, Even at the Cross
Mary remained by Jesus’ side from His first breath to His last, her loyalty to Jesus was steadfast. As is true with Jesus, we know nothing of Mary’s physical appearance or demeanor. However, the historical sources give us a rather detailed picture of Mary’s character. Mary seems on the surface to be an ordinary Jewish woman whose life was indistinguishable from many others. She cooked, sewed and cleaned. She prayed, conversed and served the needs of her family. Yet, what we see in her biblical stories of Jesus’ birth shows that Mary’s life was extraordinary. This didn’t lie in herself; it was a divine gift. By the free choice of God the Father, she was predestined to be the mother of the Redeemer. By His mercy, God filled her soul with His grace and His presence.
She is Considered a Saint by Some
Mary, often called the Blessed Mother is considered by many to be the greatest of all saints because she was chosen and prepared by God to be the mother of His Son. She is also considered a great saint because she freely chose to cooperate fully in the graces given to her and in the vocation she received. In the Magnificat, also called Mary’s Song of Praise, she says, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for He has looked on the humble estate of His servant. For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for He who is mighty had done great things for me, and holy is His name” (Luke 1:46-49).
Mary was not only played vital roles in the incarnation and birth of Jesus, but also the first miracle, passion and death of Jesus. She is one of the most profound biblical characters who had been great honor, but also great duty – the mother to the Messiah and the Savior of mankind. It’s hard not to admire her life and her role in Jesus’ life. We can learn many lessons from her.