I promise that these lessons from Mary the mother of Jesus will fascinate and inspire you!
Mary is perhaps the most respected female in all of the Bible. Let’s delve into her life a little and see what we can find to encourage our hearts.
Background to the story of Mary the mother of Jesus
This brief character study of Mary, the mother of Jesus makes a little more sense with more details about the context.
Mary lived at a time when over two decades of war within the Roman empire had destroyed people’s lives.
People’s farm lands and homes were desolate.
The economy was terrible. And with that, crime was at an all time high.
Politics could not get anymore corrupt and their was no such thing as protection from the government.
Does any of this sound familiar?
This is the world into which Mary carried Jesus.
Caesar Augustus, having won the war, became emperor of Rome and brought some stability and economic wealth as well as impossibly high taxation.
This is why Luke tells us that Caesar Augustus mandates a census so that tax could be collected.
8 Interesting facts about Mary the mother of Jesus
Fact #1: Mary comes from the Old Testament name Miriam which carries a meaning of bitterness, sorrow and trouble.
Fact #2: Mary was from the tribe of Judah and the lineage of David. This was a. fulfillment of the prophecy (Isaiah 11:1, Jeremiah 23:5-6)
Fact #3: Mary was poor and was raised in a small, remote village called Nazareth.
Fact #4: Mary was uneducated according to the standard of the world but knew God for herself.
Fact #5: Mary was in the first stage of marriage. In Jewish practices, marriages had 3 stages. In the first step was the signing of the contract called a ketubbah.
The couple was married but were not permitted to have sex. That why the Bible says she was betrothed. A betrothal could only be broken by death or divorce.
Which is why although they had not yet engaged in sex, Joseph was going to divorce her.
Fact #6: How old was Mary when she gave birth to Jesus? Betrothal usually happened right after puberty so Mary was likely in her early teens when she became pregnant and gave birth to Jesus.
Fact #7: Due to her pregnancy Mary did not enter the second stage of marriage until after Jesus was born. In this stage, the marriage was consummated. And in the final stage, a celebratory feast was held.
Fact #8: Jesus was Mary’s firstborn. She had other children afterwards (Luke 2:7.) She had four sons and an undisclosed number of daughters (Mark 6:3; Matt 13:55,56)
Keep these facts in mind as we study Mary’s life.
What does the Bible say about Mary the mother of Jesus?
The story of Mary is found in the book of Luke.
The Bible describes Mary as favored and blessed.
In this post we will explore how these characteristics played out in her life.
But first, let’s answer a pretty popular question about Mary…
What qualified Mary to be the mother of Jesus?
The simple answer is: the quality of her spiritual life.
Luke tells us that when Gabriel appears to Mary, he says
…the Lord is with you (Luke 1:28).
Mary lived her life in such a way that she was always in God’s presence.
Everything she did or said, wherever she was, Mary was always very aware of the presence of God.
For Mary, God wasn’t a grandfather who lived beyond the starry sky.
Unlike the Samaritan woman who thought that God could only be worshipped in one place, Mary knew that God was with her.
All. The. Time.
God was for her a close friend with whom she had a deeply personal relationship.
God was with her because she desired his daily company in her life and did everything she could in her humanness to entertain His presence with her.
Mary knew how to practice the presence of God.
Characteristics of Mary the mother of Jesus
Studying the qualities of Mary is important because there is so much we can learn from her.
Mary was human in every way. There was nothing supernatural or extraordinary about her.
Yet, she was chosen by God for the most important task a human being has ever been chosen for throughout all of earth’s history.
Along with her spirituality, what other characteristics of Mary the mother of Jesus made her ideal for her purpose?
Characteristic #1 – Mary lived in expectation
Another of the characteristics of Mary the mother of Jesus that qualified for the role was that she was living in expectation.
Every young Jewish girl at that time knew of the prophecy of Isaiah 7:14:
Therefore the Lord himself will give you[a] a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.
Mary was no exception. Along with the quality of her spiritual life, Mary lived in expectation.
When the angel Gabriel appeared to her, she was frightened.
And who would not be frightened if a complete stranger popped up out of nowhere in the corner of the room when you are alone?
But she was not surprised about why Gabriel was visiting.
Characteristic #2 – Mary was a woman of faith
One of the most impressive characteristics of Mary the mother of Jesus was the strength and depth of her faith.
Mary believed God’s words. Full stop.
When Gabriel tells her that she will become pregnant, Mary only had one logical question:
How will that happen since I’ve never slept with a man?
Once she got her answer, Mary had no further questions.
From then on, she held Jesus in her heart by faith before she held him in her womb and in her hands.
In Luke 1:45, Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptist comments her faith:
Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!”
Characteristic #3 – Mary was self-sacrificing
By faith, Mary received the word of her pregnancy.
She knew she could die for adultery.
How was she going to explain being pregnant without a man?
Imagine her telling people that a cloud got her pregnant. (The next point explains this).
Mary’s faith and the quality of her spiritual life led her to give up everything for Jesus.
Her body. Her reputation. Her marriage (for a little while). Her comfort.
Characteristic #4 – Mary was Spirit-filled
In response to Mary’s question about how she would become pregnant, Gabriel said
The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. (Luke 1:35)
To overshadow means to cover with a cloud.
If you are familiar with the story of how God stayed with the Israelites in a cloud by day and by night, then this is the same idea.
For this to happen, Mary must have had a very close relationship with God.
Her presence and body was a place where the Holy Spirit could dwell.
Characteristic #5 – Mary was submissive
After being told what would happen to her, Mary’s response is admirable
I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled. (Luke 1:38)
There was no more questioning. She simply accepted her task without asking about any other details.
She knew it was time to serve God at a different level and by faith.
Characteristic #6 – Mary was humble
Although Mary had the most important task ever given to a woman, she remained humble.
Mary did not become lifted up in her heart. She remained aware of her human nature. Mary broke out in song and praise and rejoicing at the fact that God chose her:
My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant.From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me— holy is his name.(Luke 1:46-49)
Lessons from the life of Mary the mother of Jesus
This post would be way too long if we are to explore all the life lessons from Mary.
But let’s try to cover a few…
Lesson #1 – Choose an authentically godly partner
Yes, Mary was marrying Joseph because it was an arranged marriage.
But I could not help but notice that when Joseph considered divorcing Mary, God himself spoke to Joseph.
Joseph had his own personal relationship with God.
Choose a spouse who listens to God.
You will and your God-given calling will be supported, nurtured and protected.
Lesson #2 – God can call anyone from anywhere
Mary was from Nazareth. This was a quaint, tiny rural village that nobody knew.
In fact, if Mary had not been chosen to carry Jesus, Nazareth would probably not have made it into the history books.
But although it was tucked away behind the more esteemed places, God had his eyes on it.
And God called a young girl from this unremarkable place to do a gigantic task.
Lesson #3 – Your current situation does not determine your worth
As I said before, Mary was from a place that nobody knew or cared to know about.
She remained faithful in her walk with God. Developing her skills everyday.
Her worth and value were secure in God. And He called her to be on the world’s stage.
Mary is a role model for us. We do not need to allow our present situation or environment to shape what God can do in your life.
Lesson #4 – Being called does not shelter you from trouble
Although Mary was called to carry out a God-ordained task, she was not immune to struggle.
First, she became pregnant and had an explanation which did not make sense to anybody.
Then she stood to lose her marriage because of the purpose that was on her life.
Then, she had travel nearly a hundred miles being pregnant to escape the savage rumors and shame of being accused of adultery.
Then she had to run from Herod with a new born baby to save his life and basically remain in hiding for a few years.
When God calls us, he almost never reveals the details of the stress that comes with our anointing.
LEARN MORE: Women of faith in the Bible: Characteristics and lessons
Lesson #5 – God will make provision for your purpose
God did not reveal to Mary that she would have a ton load of trouble.
But he did provide for her before he called her.
God provided a faithful, God-fearing husband in Joseph. He defended Mary’s honor by not divorcing her.
He ran with her when he needed to. Joseph was her companion and friend. She was never alone in those difficult times. Mary was covered.
God empowers and qualifies those he calls to purpose. He gives them faith, perseverance, and a solid network to lean on.
Lesson #6 – God wants you to carry something great
Mary had the most important job any human female had ever been given – to carry the Savior of the world in her womb.
This was truly the greatest thing ever.
God wants to put something great inside you as well. Something for you to incubate, birth, and nurture.
Something that will bless the socks off of the people on this planet.
But are you ready to receive that blessing? Are you ready to carry that blessing? Are you prepared to submit to God’s will and way for you?
Lesson #7 – God wants to use your body too
1 Corinthians 6:18-20
Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a man can commit is outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body. Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore glorify God with your body.
Remember how Mary became pregnant? The Holy Spirit overshadowed her.
One reason Mary was chosen was due to her physical purity. She stayed away from sexual sin. And so she was prepared to receive that holy gift that God had in store for her.
Your problem might not be sexual sin, but it might be working yourself to death, not getting enough sleep, eating any old thing, no exercise.
All these things prevent the Holy Spirit from overshadowing you so that you can be filled up with the purpose He has been waiting to lay on your life.
Lesson #8 – Absolutely nothing is impossible with God
When Mary asked Gabriel how she was going to get pregnant without a man, Gabriel called on Elizabeth’s experience and testimony:
Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. For no word from God will ever fail. Luke 1:36-37
Especially if God has ordained something for your life, there is no need to worry about it coming to pass.
God does not make empty promises. He does not speak idle words. And he does not lie.
What happened to Mary the mother of Jesus
Mary became a widow. By the time Jesus was crucified, Joseph had passed away.
How do we know this?
While hanging on the cross, Jesus asked John to be her caretaker (John 19:26-27). Basically, John was to become a son to her and be responsible for her. If she had a husband, Jesus would have no need to appoint someone to take care of her.
Mary gets to see Jesus after he is raised from the dead as she was among those in the upper room (Acts 1:12-14).
No doubt she must have been happy and satisfied that he was alive.
Just like the other disciples, she was a member of the early church.
The Bible does not mention her after the upper room event.
- Other women of faith you might like:
- Mary the Mother of Jesus
- The Widow of Zarephath
- The Canaanite Woman
Conclusion to lessons from Mary the mother of Jesus
Whew…. This was packed with powerful and encouraging lessons.
My hope is that you will delve into the story some more.
Find a good Bible study on Mary the mother of Jesus.
In the meantime, remember that God is with you always and nothing is impossible in your life if you hold Him close to you.