Profile of Mary the Mother of Jesus:
Mary was a young girl, probably only about 12 or 13 years old when the angel Gabriel came to her. She had recently become engaged to a carpenter named Joseph. Mary was an ordinary Jewish girl, looking forward to marriage. Suddenly her life would forever be changed.
Mary was fearful and troubled in the presence of the angel. She could never have expected to hear the most incredible news — that she would have a child, and her son would be the Messiah. Although she could not comprehend how she would conceive the Savior, she responded to God with belief and obedience.
Although Mary's life held great honor, her calling would demand great suffering as well. Just as there is pain in childbirth and motherhood, there would be much pain in the privilege of being the mother of the Messiah.
Mary was the mother of the Messiah, Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world. She was a willing servant. She trusted God and she obeyed his call.
The angel told Mary in Luke 1:28 that she was highly favored by God. This phrase simply meant that Mary had been given much grace or "unmerited favor" from God. Even with God's favor, Mary would still suffer much. Though she would one day be highly honored as the mother of the Savior, she would first know disgrace as an unwed mother. She would nearly lose her fiance. Her beloved son would be rejected and cruelly murdered. Mary's submission to God's plan would cost her dearly, yet she was willing to be God's servant.
God knew that Mary was a woman of rare strength and obedience. She was the only human being to be with Jesus throughout his entire life — from his birth until his death. She gave birth to him as her baby and watched him die as her Savior. Mary also knew the Scriptures. When the angel appeared and told her the baby would be God's Son, Mary replied, "I am the Lord's servant ... may it be to me as you have said." (Luke 1:38). She knew of the Old Testament prophesies about the coming Messiah.
Mary was young, poor and female. These qualities made her unsuitable in the eyes of her people to be used mightily of God. However, God looked upon the quality of her trust and obedience. He knew she would willingly serve God in one of the most important callings ever given to a human being. Just like Mary, God looks at our obedience and trust--usually not the qualifications that man might look upon. God will often choose and use the most unlikely of choices.
Mary must have known that her submission to God's plan would cost her. If nothing else, she knew she would be disgraced as an unwed mother. She must have thought that Joseph would divorce her, or worse yet, he might even have her put to death by stoning. Mary may not have considered the full extent of her future suffering. She may not have imagined the pain of watching her beloved child bear the weight of sin and die a terrible death on the cross. Still, she willingly submitted to God's plan. Can we willing accept God's plan? Can we even rejoice in God's plan, like Mary did, when we know that it will cost us dearly?
Hometown:Nazareth in Galilee.
Referenced in the Bible:
Mary is mentioned throughout the Gospels and in Acts 1:14.
Occupation:Wife, mother, homemaker.
- Luke 1:38
"I am the Lord's servant," Mary answered. "May it be to me as you have said." Then the angel left her. (NIV)
- Luke 1:46-55 (Mary's Song)
And Mary said:
"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.
His mercy extends to those who fear him,
from generation to generation.
He has performed mighty deeds with his arm;
he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.
He has brought down rulers from their thrones
but has lifted up the humble.
He has filled the hungry with good things
but has sent the rich away empty.
He has helped his servant Israel,
remembering to be merciful
to Abraham and his descendants forever,
even as he said to our fathers." (NIV)