Welcome to the final edition in the Mothers of the Bible Series! I am amazed at the lessons I’ve learned this year in spite of the thousands of years that separate us from these incredible women. Today, let’s study Mary, the Mother of Jesus, and the lessons she can teach us.
We all hold Mary in high esteem, after all, she mothered the savior of the world. She was chosen to carry the son of God, the redeemer, the long-awaited Messiah. No matter how distant you feel from such an honor, keep reading, and discover the lessons from Mary, the mother of Jesus, that will grow your faith and encourage your heart.
What Was the Character of Mary the Mother of Jesus?
We know nothing about Mary other than that she was a young woman engaged to Joseph. She most likely spent her days cooking and cleaning, not unlike us today. She was probably dreaming of the day that her and Joseph would be together and she would be caring for her own home and surrounded by their children.
We get a glimpse into her character right from the beginning.
Mary, the Mother of Jesus, was Willing
Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary.
And having come in, the angel said to her, “Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!”
But when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and considered what manner of greeting this was. Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor 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.”
Then Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I do not know a man?”
And the angel answered and said to 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.
Then Mary said, “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her. (Luke 1:26-38)
I am most in awe at Mary’s willingness. She accepts this strange will for her life with her only question being that of simple biology (how can this be since I’ve not been with a man?).
Of all these lessons from Mary the mother of Jesus, I can honestly say that I pray the most for this one.
Mary was Humble
We could expect Mary to get a big head, after all, she was carrying within her the long awaited for promised Messiah. The one the prophets had promised would deliver them from bondage and set up an everlasting kingdom of peace.
But Mary’s second notable characteristic is seen when she visits her cousin Elizabeth. Her words of praise show that she remains a humble and willing vessel even after she’s had time to think about it.
And Mary said:
“My soul magnifies the Lord,
And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.
For He has regarded the lowly state of His maidservant;
For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed.
For He who is mighty has done great things for me,
And holy is His name.
And His mercy is on those who fear Him
From generation to generation. (Luke 1:46-50)
Mary was not Loud and Boastful
If any woman throughout history had the right to be boastful and the center of attention, it would be Mary! Everything surrounding her first child was miraculous and significant. The shepherds leave baby Jesus praising God and telling everyone they meet about what they experienced. But the Bible says that Mary “kept all these things and pondered them in her heart” (Luke 2:19)
She did not call up her girlfriends or flaunt her favor in front of anyone. She quietly pondered these things in her heart. Sure, they didn’t have phones in those days, but you get my point. This lesson from Mary the mother of Jesus is totally applicable in our lives today.
Mary, the Mother of Jesus, was Obedient
We see that Mary and Joseph are dedicated to the Law of the Lord.
Now when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were completed, they brought Him to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord (as it is written in the law of the Lord, “Every male who opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord”), and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the law of the Lord, “A pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.” (Luke 2:22-24)
Mary was obedient to the Law of the Lord. We see this again when Jesus is 12 and they make the yearly pilgrimage to Jerusalem.
Mary Turned to Jesus Right from the Beginning
We see Mary’s faith in John 2 when she asks Jesus to perform his first miracle. He protests and she ignores him.
On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there.
Now both Jesus and His disciples were invited to the wedding. And when they ran out of wine, the mother of Jesus said to Him, “They have no wine.”
Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does your concern have to do with Me? My hour has not yet come.”
His mother said to the servants, “Whatever He says to you, do it.”
Mary’s Faith Held Strong
We see her faith again in the beginning of Acts.
And when they had entered, they went up into the upper room where they were staying: Peter, James, John, and Andrew; Philip and Thomas; Bartholomew and Matthew; James the son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot; and Judas the son of James.
These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers. (Acts 1:13-14)
What can I Learn from Mary, Jesus’s Mother?
So now that we’ve covered a few characteristics of Mary, the mother of Jesus, how do we apply these to our lives? What can we learn from this strong woman of God?
- Be a willing vessel to do the Lord’s will, no matter how it changes the path you thought your life was taking. How often do we pout and complain when circumstances change and we find ourselves not where we want to be. Be a willing vessel. God will work out all of the details.
- Humility is a theme we see over and over again throughout the Bible. Pray and ask God to make your heart humble. Repent of any obstinance and pride and take Mary’s example of a lowly handmaid.
- Praise and worship God from your place of humility. This praise will open your heart to acceptance of His will as well as enable you to hear directly from Him. Praise closes the gap between you and your creator. (Check out this post from Aryn the Libraryn about praising with your kids!)
- Keep some of those thoughts to yourself. I am a chatterbox and pretty much everything I think flows out my mouth. It is NOT my best characteristic. Mary quietly pondered things in her heart. She was not quick to share these miraculous events with everyone. Sometimes we need to be quiet and introspective. Mary quietly accepted it as God’s will and waited patiently as it unfolded.
- Study God’s word. Mary was obedient to the law of God. She knew what was expected of her as a child of God. She followed the law and was obedient to all that God asked of her. I have heard people say that the Bible is a book of dos and don’ts which is not altogether true but some have tried to sugar coat it to make it more acceptable to those who don’t like rules. Studying God’s word will bring you closer to Him in many ways.
- Turn to Christ as soon as you have a problem. How often do we struggle and complain and try to figure things out on our own? Skip all the drama and go straight to Jesus.
- Even when circumstances make things feel impossible, continue to trust God. Mary witnessed her son, the supposed savior of the world, be crucified. She wept as he died. Yet, her faith held her strong and she dedicated the rest of her life to him.
Lessons from Mary, Mother of Jesus
Which characteristic of Mary do you feel most connected to? Which of these 7 lessons from Mary, mother of Jesus speaks to you today? I’d love for you to share in the comments below!
For myself, I am going to focus on praising and worshipping God with a humble heart. I am drawn to this because it is so easy to become overwhelmed when looking at the world around us. Focusing on the greatness of my creator will pull me out of that discouragement and fear. What about you?
I hope you check out the other amazing women whose stories God has preserved for us to connect to and learn from. Whether you are learning to be persistent in your prayer life or in need of accepting God’s will for your life, you are not alone.
Take my hand and walk with me on this crazy journey we call life. I cannot help you through your trials, but I can remind you of the one who can. I cannot take away your heartache, but I can walk beside you and remind you of the hope that comes from Christ. I cannot produce happy moments for you, but I can rejoice beside you, praising God for His goodness.
Let us reach out to the women around us who are also seeking and may we reach back through the thousands of years that separate us from these women of faith, and hold tightly to their wisodm and guidance.
Check out the other 11 Mothers in the Series!