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MARY, the mother of Jesus
Also Mary Magdalene, Mary sister of Lazarus, Mary wife of Cleopas, Mary mother of John Mark, Mary at Rome

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Easton's Bible Dictionary | Smith's Bible Dictionary | International Standard Bible Encyclopedia | Thompson Chain Reference

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Matthew 1:18-25


MARY [Easton's Bible Dictionary]

Hebrew Miriam.

The wife of Joseph, the mother of Jesus, called the "Virgin Mary," though never so designated in Scripture (Matthew 2:11; Acts 1:14).

Little is known of her personal history. Her genealogy is given in Luke 3. She was of the tribe of Judah and the lineage of David (Psalms 132:11; Luke 1:32). She was connected by marriage with Elisabeth, who was of the lineage of Aaron (Luke 1:36).

While she resided at Nazareth with her parents, before she became the wife of Joseph, the angel Gabriel announced to her that she was to be the mother of the promised Messiah (Luke 1:35). After this she went to visit her cousin Elisabeth, who was living with her husband Zacharias (probably at Juttah, Joshua 15:55; 21:16, in the neighbourhood of Maon), at a considerable distance, about 100 miles, from Nazareth. Immediately on entering the house she was saluted by Elisabeth as the mother of her Lord, and then forthwith gave utterance to her hymn of thanksgiving (Luke 1:46-56; Compare 1 Samuel 2:1-10). After three months Mary returned to Nazareth to her own home. Joseph was supernaturally made aware (Matthew 1:18-25) of her condition, and took her to his own home. Soon after this the decree of Augustus (Luke 2:1) required that they should proceed to Bethlehem (Micah 5:2), some 80 or 90 miles from Nazareth; and while they were there they found shelter in the inn or khan provided for strangers (Luke 2:6,7). But as the inn was crowded, Mary had to retire to a place among the cattle, and there she brought forth her son, who was called Jesus (Matthew 1:21), because he was to save his people from their sins. This was followed by the presentation in the temple, the flight into Egypt, and their return in the following year and residence at Nazareth (Matthew 2). There for thirty years Mary, the wife of Joseph the carpenter, resides, filling her own humble sphere, and pondering over the strange things that had happened to her. During these years only one event in the history of Jesus is recorded, viz., his going up to Jerusalem when twelve years of age, and his being found among the doctors in the temple (Luke 2:41-52). Probably also during this period Joseph died, for he is not again mentioned.

After the commencement of our Lord's public ministry little notice is taken of Mary. She was present at the marriage in Cana. A year and a half after this we find her at Capernaum (Matthew 12:46,48,49), where Christ uttered the memorable words, "Who is my mother? and who are my brethren? And he stretched forth his hand toward his disciples, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren!" The next time we find her is at the cross along with her sister Mary, and Mary Magdalene, and Salome, and other women (John 19:26). From that hour John took her to his own abode. She was with the little company in the upper room after the Ascension (Acts 1:14). From this time she wholly disappears from public notice. The time and manner of her death are unknown.

Mary Magdalene, i.e., Mary of Magdala, a town on the western shore of the Lake of Tiberias. She is for the first time noticed in Luke 8:3 as one of the women who "ministered to Christ of their substance." Their motive was that of gratitude for deliverances he had wrought for them. Out of Mary were cast seven demons. Gratitude to her great Deliverer prompted her to become his follower. These women accompanied him also on his last journey to Jerusalem (Matthew 27:55; Mark 15:41; Luke 23:55). They stood near the cross. There Mary remained till all was over, and the body was taken down and laid in Joseph's tomb. Again, in the earliest dawn of the first day of the week she, with Salome and Mary the mother of James (Matthew 28:1; Mark 16:2), came to the sepulchre, bringing with them sweet spices, that they might anoint the body of Jesus. They found the sepulchre empty, but saw the "vision of angels" (Matthew 28:5). She hastens to tell Peter and John, who were probably living together at this time (John 20:1,2), and again immediately returns to the sepulchre. There she lingers thoughtfully, weeping at the door of the tomb. The risen Lord appears to her, but at first she knows him not. His utterance of her name "Mary" recalls her to consciousness, and she utters the joyful, reverent cry, "Rabboni." She would fain cling to him, but he forbids her, saying, "Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father." This is the last record regarding Mary of Magdala, who now returned to Jerusalem. The idea that this Mary was "the woman who was a sinner," or that she was unchaste, is altogether groundless.

Mary the sister of Lazarus is brought to our notice in connection with the visits of our Lord to Bethany. She is contrasted with her sister Martha, who was "cumbered about many things" while Jesus was their guest, while Mary had chosen "the good part." Her character also appears in connection with the death of her brother (John 11:20,31,33). On the occasion of our Lord's last visit to Bethany, Mary brought "a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus" as he reclined at table in the house of one Simon, who had been a leper (Matthew 26:6; Mark 14:3; John 12:2,3). This was an evidence of her overflowing love to the Lord. Nothing is known of her subsequent history. It would appear from this act of Mary's, and from the circumstance that they possessed a family vault (11:38), and that a large number of Jews from Jerusalem came to condole with them on the death of Lazarus (11:19), that this family at Bethany belonged to the wealthier class of the people. (See MARTHA.)

Mary the wife of Cleopas is mentioned (John 19:25) as standing at the cross in company with Mary of Magdala and Mary the mother of Jesus. By comparing Matthew 27:56 and Mark 15:40, we find that this Mary and "Mary the mother of James the little" are on and the same person, and that she was the sister of our Lord's mother. She was that "other Mary" who was present with Mary of Magdala at the burial of our Lord (Matthew 27:61; Mark 15:47); and she was one of those who went early in the morning of the first day of the week to anoint the body, and thus became one of the first witnesses of the resurrection (Matthew 28:1; Mark 16:1; Luke 24:1).

Mary the mother of John Mark was one of the earliest of our Lord's disciples. She was the sister of Barnabas (Colossians 4:10), and joined with him in disposing of their land and giving the proceeds of the sale into the treasury of the Church (Acts 4:37; 12:12). Her house in Jerusalem was the common meeting-place for the disciples there.

A Christian at Rome who treated Paul with special kindness (Romans 16:6).


MARY [Smith's Bible Dictionary]

Maíry the virgin,
the mother of our Lord. There is no person perhaps in sacred or profane history around whom so many legends have been grouped as the Virgin Mary; and there are few whose authentic history is more concise.
* She was, like Joseph, of the tribe of Judah and of the lineage of David. (Psalms 132:11; Luke 1:32; Romans 1:3)

* She had a sister, named, like herself, (John 19:25) and she was connected by marriage, (Luke 1:36) with Elizabeth, who was of the tribe of Levi and of the lineage of Aaron. This is all that we know of her antecedents.

* She was betrothed to Joseph of Nazareth; but before her marriage she became with child by the Holy Ghost, and became the mother of Jesus Christ, the Saviour of the world.

Her history at this time, her residence at Bethlehem, flight to Egypt, and return to her early home st Nazareth, are well known.

Four times only does she appear after the commencement of Christís ministry. These four occasions are--

The marriage at Cana in Galilee took place in the three months which intervened between the baptism of Christ and the passover of the year 27. Mary was present, and witnessed the first miracle performed by Christ, when he turned the water into wine. She had probably become a widow before this time.

Capernaum, (John 2:12) and Nazareth, (Matthew 4:13; 13:54; Mark 6:1) appear to have been the residence of Mary for a considerable period. The next time that she is brought before us we find her at Capernaum, where she, with other relatives, had gone to inquire about the strange stories they had heard of her son Jesus. They sought an audience with our Lord, which was not granted, as he refused to admit any authority on the part of his relatives, or any privilege on account of their relationship.

The next scene in Maryís life brings us to the foot of the cross. With almost his last words Christ commended his mother to the care of him who had borne the name of the disciple whom Jesus loved: "Woman, behold thy son." And front that hour St. John assures us that he took her to his own abode. So far as Mary is portrayed to us in Scripture, she is, as we should have expected the most tender, the most faithful humble, patient and loving of women, but a woman still.

In the days succeeding the ascension of Christ Mary met with the disciples in the upper room, (Acts 1:14) waiting for the coming of the Holy Spirit with power.


MARY [International Standard Bible Encyclopedia]



MARY [Thompson Chain Reference]
Mother of Jesus,

    General References to
        Matthew 1:16
        Luke 1:27
        Luke 1:38
        Luke 1:46
        Luke 1:56
        Luke 2:5
        Luke 2:16
        Luke 2:19
        Luke 2:34
        Matthew 2:11
        Luke 2:43
        Luke 2:48
        Matthew 12:46
        Matthew 13:55
        John 2:1
        John 2:5
        John 2:12
        John 19:25
    Characteristics of
        Submission
            Luke 1:38
        Faith and piety
            Luke 1:46-55
        Spiritual mindedness
            Luke 2:51
        Maternal confidence
            John 2:3-5
        Maternal love
            John 19:25
        SEE Notable Women

Magdalene

    Matthew 27:56
    Matthew 28:1
    Mark 15:47
    Mark 16:9
    Luke 8:2
    John 20:18
    Life Summarized
        Recipient of a great salvation
            Luke 8:2
        Showed her gratitude
            By ministering to Christ
                Mark 15:40-41
            By her presence at the cross
                John 19:25
            By her presence at the sepulchre
                Matthew 27:61
                Matthew 28:1
        Was the first person to whom Christ appeared after his resurrection
            Mark 16:9
        Given a wonderful revelation
            John 20:11-18

Of Bethany

    Luke 10:39
    John 11:1
    John 11:20
    John 11:32
    John 12:3
    "The Women Immortalized by Christ" Characteristics of
        Spiritual Receptivity
            Luke 10:39
        Spiritual Insight
            Luke 10:42
        Quiet Resignation
            John 11:20
        Three times at Christ's feet
            for Instruction
                Luke 10:39
            for Comfort
                John 11:32
            for Service
                John 12:3

Mother of James

    Mark 15:40
    Mark 15:47
    Mark 16:1
    Luke 24:10

Mother of Mark

    Acts 12:12
    Colossians 4:10

A Roman disciple

    Romans 16:6