Mary The Mother Of Jesus
Almost everyone has heard of Mary the mother of Jesus. The virgin was only a young woman when the angel of God Gabriel visited, and proclaimed that she would bear a son, whose name would be called Jesus, because He would save His people from their sins. The name Jesus means "Yahweh saves". At the time of the engagement to Joseph, Mary was a virgin. So that Joseph would not divorce his fianc, as he was secretly thinking, an angel visited, telling him not to divorce the Virgin Mary, because she was pregnant by the Holy Spirit. When the angel first visited, fear came upon the virgin. A woman who is pregnant, never having been with a man would have meant divorce and shunning from society. In the culture of those days, a woman who was divorced was shunned by almost everyone. Women in these circumstances had to beg for their living.
Jesus' mother was afraid when the angel visited, but was submissive to God, and said "Let it be unto thine handmaiden according to your word". At about the same time, a cousin Elizabeth was also with child. Elizabeth was considerably older than Joseph's wife, and was without any children because of barrenness. The angel Gabriel also visited Elizabeth, and proclaimed that the child to be born would be called John. The angel declared that John would prepare the people for the Messiah. This is the child who would come to be known as John the Baptist. John was filled with the Holy Spirit while still in the mother's womb. When Elizabeth came to visit Mary, the child jumped within the womb; because of the joy that Jesus would be born. After these events the Virgin Mary begins a prayer of praise and thanksgiving to God. During this time she stayed for about three months with her cousin Elizabeth before returning home.
When the time came for the Virgin Mary to give birth, it was the time of the census. Everyone in those days had to journey to the town of their birth to be counted. So the couple set off to the town of Bethlehem, the birth place of Joseph. The Virgin Mary rode on a donkey, and by this time was very large and to the point of giving birth. In fact, there were birth pains upon arrival in Bethlehem, and so a place was needed to birth the child. Since there were so many visitors in town because of the census which was taking place, no one had a room for them. In desperation Joseph asked an innkeeper if there was any place at all where the couple could rest, and the innkeeper gave them the animal stable in the back. This was the place of birth for Jesus. In the mean time, a great star was shining right over the place where the child was born. Wise men from far countries knew of the prophecy of this child, and followed the star to the birthplace. Some scholars have conjectured that Jesus was about two years old before the wise men arrived to worship the Him.
The years of Jesus' boyhood were not written down, but we do know that his earthly father Joseph was a carpenter. We know that Jesus most likely learned the carpentry trade, since most Jewish sons followed in their father's footsteps regarding family businesses. During these years, Mary may have had many inward thoughts about the ministry of her son once He became a man. The family most likely was very popular among those who believed the prophecy that her son would be the promised Messiah. Perhaps they entertained many people, anxious to hear the story of how it all happened, and to hear Mary the mother of Jesus' thoughts on the matter. One thing can be sure; that she cherished the years spent with her son, and was awed by all of the events that had taken place!
When Jesus began ministry, He was thirty years old. His ministry lasted only three years, but they were certainly full ones, filled with healing, teaching and other types of ministries. As Jesus was hanging on the cross, He looked down at His mother, and John, the disciple whom Jesus loved, and asked John to take care of His mother. The words He spoke to indicate this were "Woman, behold thy son. Son, behold thy mother"(John 19:26,27 KJV). After His death, the Lord's mother was joined by Mary Magdalene to prepare the body as was the Jewish custom of the time. They went to the Lord's tomb early the next morning, to find the great stone which had sealed the tomb was rolled away. Mary Magdalene, not Mary the mother of Jesus, saw a man in the garden and supposed him to be the gardener. However when He spoke, she understood it was Jesus and ran to Him. The story does not include any account of where Mary the Mother of Jesus was while this was happening.
Once the Lord ascends back to heaven, we don't hear much about Mary the mother of Jesus anymore. The Bible also does not say anywhere that she also ascended into Heaven, as some faiths believe. Nor is there any reference in the Bible that prayers are to be prayed to her on anyone's behalf. Mary the mother of Jesus was a human being and not divine. However, she was certainly the most blessed of any woman who ever lived, or who ever will live!
Biblical WomenThe study of Biblical women reveals fascinating lessons about how God used the female gender to accomplish His plans in history and also to fulfill prophecy. Women of the Bible, both young and old, have played valuable roles in pointing to Christ in the redemption story. The Old Testament if full of stories which include female saints that believed a Messiah was coming and these were credited with great faith. The New Testament women usher in a new era; a time in which mothers, wives, and daughters discover their true value in Christ. In this article, well take a look at a few of the famous females found in Bible and discover how their stories weave into God's plans for mankind. This is not an exhaustive study of how God relates to women, but this article will hopefully serve to inspire the reader to take a deep look into the stories of some of the most fascinating characters found in the Bible.
In historic times, women were often treated harshly and considered to be of lesser value than men, even though Scripture reports, "So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them." (Genesis 1:27) But throughout the pages of the Old Testament there are stories of bold and courageous females who made their marks in history. Two Biblical women from the Old Testament and listed in the infamous hall of faith in Hebrews, chapter eleven, are Sarah, the wife of Abraham and Rahab a prostitute. Sarah was ninety years old when she bore Isaac, the son God promised would be seed of a great nation. Rahab was a prostitute who bargained with Joshua's spies for safety in the doomed city of Jericho. Both Sarah and Rahab are in Christ's genealogy. Other women of the Bible who have helped shape history include Ruth, a widowed Moabite who accepts her mother-in-laws God and people, eventually playing a part in the prophetic story of a kinsman redeemer. The story of Esther is one of the most inspiring accounts of biblical women in the Old Testament, as Esther was willing to expose her identity and die to save her people, the Jews.
When Jesus Christ walked on earth, he challenged the culture and the traditional views that placed a woman's value below that of a man. Scriptural accounts prove that Jesus placed high value on the spiritual condition of females. Perhaps one of the most fascinating women of the Bible encounters in which Christ engages a female is the story of the woman at the well. This wife of five husbands was not only a sinner whom most men, especially Jews, would never engage in conversation, but she was also a Samaritan, an ethnic group the Jews considered detestable. But Christ not only talks to this lowly character drawing water from a well, but He witnesses to her and she becomes a believer! Then, the new convert rushes to the city to testify and because of her testimony, many men came to see Christ for themselves. An unclean woman daringly approached Christ in a crowd and touched the hem of His robe. In ancient history, a woman with an issue of blood was not allowed to touch another person. The ill lady's boldness demonstrated that females, too, grasped the reality of who Christ was and we see that they possessed passionate and courageous faith. Other encounters with Biblical women found in the Gospels include Mary and Martha, the sisters Christ befriended and Mary Magdalene, a woman healed of seven demonic spirits.
The Apostle Paul followed Christ's example and treated women with respect and fairness. Paul helped establish women in church history by placing those with leadership and other key spiritual gifts in roles traditionally held by men. On his missionary trip to Europe, the first person Paul converted was Lydia, a successful Jewish businesswoman living in Macedonia. Lydia eventually hosted a church in her home which was a shocking new way to conduct worship for traditionally, only men were allowed to constitute a minyan, a worship service. Paul also worked with a couple and both the husband and wife are cited as clearly explaining the Gospel. Other Biblical women found in early church history are Tabitha, a helper who actively served others in the Christian community and Philips daughters of which Scriptures says, "And the same man had four daughters, virgins, which did prophesy." (Acts 21:9)
God's redemptive plan for mankind includes giving both genders made in His image the opportunity for salvation, sanctification, and certainly the opportunity for bringing glory to Himself. When we look back through the Word, we find ladies in Scripture in a variety of roles and from diverse backgrounds, but all crucial to the Lord's plans and His purposes. The Lord used a bold queen, a poor widow with a coin, an influential business woman, a prostitute concerned for her family, and a teenage girl full of faith to further His kingdom. And while He was on earth, ladies discovered that to their Savior, they mattered. Jesus demonstrated that He valued humanity, regardless of gender and because of this, He changed the world for many women. Every female interested in discovering how her unique purpose in life according to the Lord's will should start with a study of the women of the Bible.