Categories: Women in the New Testament
- Luke gives us most of our information about
Mary. Matthew focuses more on Joseph. In Luke,
Mary makes decisions, acts, speaks, and is spoken
- Mary was engaged but not yet married to Joseph
when the angel appeared to her.
- Mary might have been 13-14 years old.
- Joseph might have been as much as 10 years
- Being engaged was legal and binding.
- Both were to be faithful to each other.
- Any transgression would have been considered
adulterous and punishable by stoning.
- Joseph would have had to divorce her to break
- During the engagement, the couple would have
lived with their respective parents, while the
parents (fathers) worked out the details of
the wedding, including the dowry.
- Mary must have been familiar with OT stories
of heavenly visitors because she was "upset"
over what the angel said, not the fact that
an angel was communicating with her.
- Mary thought she was unworthy to be looked
upon with "God's favour."
- Unlike Zechariah, she does not ask for a sign.
- She believed the angel, but wondered how it
could happen since she had known no man.
- Scholars don't see this as doubt, just a query
re: the manner in which this would take place.
- Hearing about Elizabeth's unexpected pregnancy
gave her encouragement and made the words of
the angel reliable. All things are possible
- She told the angel she'd submit to God's will
-- and set out to visit Elizabeth!
- It probably took her 4-5 days to get there.
- Upon arriving, Elizabeth blessed her, reiterating
what the angel had already said.
- The Magnificat is comprised almost
wholly of OT sayings, which means she was very
familiar with the Old Testament prophecies.
- It is a prayer of deepest humility.
- She does not speak of the promise given to
her re: a son; she praises God.
- She knew John's birth would be a major event;
she did not want to be there at that time.
- Joseph could have accused her and had her
put to death when he found out she was pregnant.
He knew it wasn't his baby, but because he loved
her, he planned to send her away quietly.
- No doubt they married shortly after she returned
from seeing Elizabeth - after the angel appeared
to Joseph in a dream.
- Mary did not have to personally travel to
Bethlehem for the census, but if she and Joseph
were familiar with the Old Testament, they knew
the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem.
- Joseph might have wanted her to go along because
he knew that the people in Nazareth would know
the baby was born "early" and perhaps
would give Mary a bad time if he weren't around.
- We don't know for sure the exact date of Jesus'
birth - it's celebrated on December 25th.
- Jesus' actual birth is reported with an economy
- Mary's wrapping the baby in swaddling clothes
is completely normal, and reflects her nurturing
- Following the visit of the shepherds who tell
of the angelic visit, Mary kept "all these
things in her heart."
- Simeon's oracle forewarned Mary that pain
would lie ahead.
Aland, Kurt. Synopsis of the Four Gospels. Germany: Bible Society Stuttgart, 1972.
Beare, F.W. The Gospel According to Matthew. San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1981.
Brown, Raymond. The Birth of the Messiah. New York: Doubleday, 1993.
Gaventa, Beverly. Mary: Glimpses of the Mother of Jesus. Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 1999.
Geldenhuys, Norval. Commentary on the Gospel of Luke. The New International Commentary on the New Testament. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm B Eerdmans, 1977.
Griffith-Jones, Robin. The Four Witnesses. San Francisco: Harper Collins, 2000.
Johnson, Luke Timothy. The Gospel of Luke. Sacra Pagina Series. Collegeville, MN: The Liturgical Press, 1991.
Sallberg Kam, Rose. Their Stories, Our Stories. New York: Continuum Publishing, 1995.
Summers, Ray. Commentary on Luke. Waco, TX: Word Books, 1972.