Posted by: missionventureministries | November 17, 2014


Mary, Joseph and Jesus

At the beginning of the New Testament Mary is revealed to us as a young virgin, through whom Jesus Christ was born (Luke 1:27). She is declared to have found favored with God (Luke 1:27, 30) and as a result was chosen to bear “the Messiah, the Son of the living God” (Luke 1:31-33).

Mary was a young Jewish woman of outstanding moral and spiritual character. Just like Daniel who was a man greatly beloved by God (Daniel 9:23, 10:11). The Bible shows that God highly valued their humble and obedient reverence to Him.

The Bible talks about God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit and that they are eternal. God was never “born” and never had a “mother.” However, Jesus had a beginning to His earthly ministry when He was conceived in Mary’s womb and was born; but from eternity past He has always been the Son of God. (Juan 1:1-5)

Philippians 2:6–7 gives us a bit more insight on what transpired when Jesus left heaven to become man. “Though He was God, He did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, He gave up His divine privileges; He took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being.”

The desire to be the mother of the promised Messiah was common to young women in Israel. So the election of Mary really showed that God was blessing her. But we must not read into that more than the fact that it was a great privilege for her.

It is biblical to say that Mary was the mother of the Lord Jesus Christ during His incarnation on the earth. The human side of Jesus came from Mary, the divine side from the Holy Spirit. Thus while the One whom she bore was God, His Godhead did not come into being through the human process of birth. She was not the mother of His divinity which has always existed.

When studying history we learn that the early church, when discussing the matter at the council of Ephesus (431 AD), came to the decision that Mary should NOT be called ‘the mother of God’, but rather the ‘God-bearer’  (theotokos).  But even this carries with it the danger of seeing Mary as somehow bringing God into the world, whereas it was the Holy Spirit who brought God into the world, in union with the human being that was conceived by Mary. Mary could not in any way conceive Jesus who was eternal, only by an act of God through the Holy Spirit was this possible.

We never find in Scripture where Jesus addressed Mary as mother and at times Jesus reminded Mary of the distinction between their human relationship and His divine origin and mission.

Mary and Joseph took Jesus up to Jerusalem when He was 12 to celebrate the Passover. After the festival was over on beginning their journey back home they discovered that Jesus was not with them, they returned to Jerusalem and sought Him. They found Him in the temple listening to the great teachers, and asking them questions. When his parents saw Him, they were astonished. His mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you.”  “Why were you searching for me?” He asked. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” But they did not understand what He was saying to them.  (Luke 2:41-51). It is clear that Mary was very puzzled.  However, as a mother, she kept it all in and very likely remembered what He had said and finally understood after His resurrection.

At the wedding in Cana (John 2) Jesus called her “Woman.” This was not in disrespect, but was like addressing her as “Lady.” Mary said to the servants, “Do whatever He tells you” (John 2:5). That was Mary’s only commandment.

Even though Mary knew the true identity of her firstborn, we read about an occasion where she allowed herself to be influenced by Jesus’ unbelieving half-brothers (Mark 3:20-21).

Yes, Mary did have other children as the Bible points out. She did not remain a “perpetual virgin.” Jesus had four brothers: James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas (Matthew 13:55). The Bible also tells us that Jesus had sisters, but they are not named or numbered (Matthew 13:56). In John 7:1-10, His brothers go on to the festival while Jesus stays behind. In Acts 1:14, His brothers and mother are described as praying with the disciples. And in Galatians 1:19 it mentions that James was Jesus’ brother.

Yes, Jesus had half-brothers and half-sisters, who were the children of Joseph and Mary. That is the clear and unambiguous teaching of God’s Word.

There is no biblical reason to believe that these siblings are anything other than the actual children of Joseph and Mary. Those who oppose the idea that Jesus had half-brothers and half-sisters do so, not from a reading of Scripture, but from a preconceived concept of the perpetual virginity of Mary, which is itself clearly unbiblical: “But he (Joseph) had no union with her (Mary) until she gave birth to a son. And he gave Him the name Jesus” (Matthew 1:25).

On the cross we see Jesus once more addressing His mother as “Woman.” “Woman, behold, your son!” Then He said to John, “Behold, your mother!” (John 19:26-27). At this point Jesus severed all filial ties with Mary and transferred them to John.

The last time we read of Mary in the Bible, she obeyed the command of Jesus and was in the upper room, waiting for the promise of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:14).

When we study about Mary we realize how humble and devoted to God she was, to have been chosen to be the vessel that would bear her Savior. Here we read her words, “My spirit rejoices in God my Savior” (Luke 1:47). Yes, Mary knew from prophecy that the Messiah was coming and also knew that she needed the Savior; just like we also need Him.

Like all of us Mary was saved through the blood of Christ and found forgiveness in His name. She shares with all ‘saints’, (true believers and followers of Jesus Christ) the benefits from the merits of His death, resurrection and intercession in heaven for us.

It is important to remember Jesus last words recorded in the Bible, which are: I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this scroll: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to that person the plagues described in this scroll. And if anyone takes words away from this scroll of prophecy, God will take away from that person any share in the tree of life and in the Holy City, which are described in this scroll. He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon.” Come, Lord Jesus.

The grace of the Lord Jesus be with God’s people. Amen. (Revelation 22:18-21)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: