MARY in the BIBLE


Alonzo Cano - Blessed Virgin Mary with the sleeping Christ child, El Prado, Madrid, 1648.



This page records the passages on Mary in the New Testament of the Bible. It is important to note the Old Testament prefigures the New Testament. Typology in Biblical studies finds an Old Testament story serving as a prefigurement or symbol for an event in the New Testament. For example, the crossing of the waters of the Red Sea from Captivity to the Promised Land in the Book of Exodus prefigures the waters of Baptism transforming one from the captivity of original sin to new life in Christ in the Gospels of the New Testament.

Likewise, Mary is prefigured in the Old Testament. When God speaks to the serpent after the Fall of Adam and Eve, a Redeemer is promised in Genesis 3:15 from the woman:


"I will put enmity between you and the woman,
between your offspring and hers,
He will crush your head,
while you strike at his heel."


Eve herself, "the mother of all the living (Genesis 3:20)" prefigures Mary. The Matriarchs of the Old Testament also foreshadow Mary and Elizabeth in the New Testament, such as Sarah and Hagar, Rachel and Leah, and Hannah and Peninnah. Hagar the Egyptian maid had Ishmael (Genesis 16:15) by Abram, and Sarah had Isaac (Genesis 21:2) when he was called Abraham, after God established his Covenant with him, making him a father of a host of nations. Rachel and Leah were the daughters of Laban, and Leah had six of Jacob's twelve sons, but it was Rachel who had his eleventh son Joseph (Genesis 30:24). Peninnah had many children for Elkanah, but it was the barren Hannah who bore Samuel (1 Samuel 1:20). The hymn of Hannah in the First Book of Samuel 2:1-10 is a source for the Magnificat of Mary.

The books of Esther and Judith portray two heroines of Israel. Each of these women, with their sense of survivability and indestructible spiritual strength, personify Israel itself. In fact, woman and Israel become interchangeable in the Book of Hosea, where the marriage of Hosea to his unfaithful wife is symbolic of God's Covenant of love with the unfaithful people of Israel (Hosea 11:1-9).

The rich background in the Old Testament predisposes one to understand the whole history of Israel as it looks to its fulfillment in the Messiah. Mary, the young Jewish virgin, becomes a symbol for Israel herself, the one that bore Jesus, the Messiah. Mary becomes "daughter Zion" (Psalm 9:14, Isaiah 54:1-10, Zephaniah 3:14, Zechariah 2:10) in the New Testament. The Infancy Narrative of the Gospel of St. Luke is especially full of Old Testament references which indicate that the salvation promised by God has come to pass.

The following are New Testament references to Mary, the Mother of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.




MARY


AN ANGEL APPEARS TO JOSEPH IN A DREAM

Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph,
before they came together she was found to be with child of the Holy Spirit; and her husband Joseph,
being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly.
But as he considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying,

"Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary your wife,
for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit;
she will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus,
for he will save his people from their sins."

All this took place to fulfil what the Lord had spoken by the prophet:
"Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
and his name shall be called Emmanuel"
(which means, God with us) (Isaiah 7:14).

When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him;
he took his wife, but knew her not until she had borne a son; and he called his name Jesus.
Gospel of Matthew 1:18-25



Bartolome Esteban Murillo of Seville, Spain - The Annunciation to Mary, Museo del Prado, Madrid, 1660.



THE ANNUNCIATION

In the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth,
to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin's name was Mary.
And coming to her, he said,
"Hail, Full of Grace! The Lord is with you."
But she was greatly troubled at what was said and pondered what sort of greeting this might be.
Then the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.
Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus.
He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High,
and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father,
and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end."

But Mary said to the angel, "How can this be, since I have no relations with a man?"
And the angel said to her in reply, "The holy Spirit will come upon you,
and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.
Therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God.

And behold, Elizabeth, your relative, has also conceived a son in her old age,
and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren; for nothing will be impossible for God."

Mary said, "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord.
May it be done to me according to your word."
Then the angel departed from her.
Gospel of Luke 1:26-38



THE VISITATION

During those days Mary set out and traveled to the hill country in haste to a town of Judah,
where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth.
When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the infant leaped in her womb,
and Elizabeth, filled with the holy Spirit, cried out in a loud voice and said,
"Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb.
And how does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?

For at the moment the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy.
Blessed are you who believed that was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled."
Gospel of Luke 1:39-45



THE MAGNIFICAT

And Mary said:
"My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord;
my spirit rejoices in God my savior.
For he has looked upon his handmaid's lowliness;
behold, from now on will all ages call me blessed.
The Mighty One has done great things for me,
and holy is his name.
His mercy is from age to age to those who fear him.
He has shown might with his arm,
dispersed the arrogant of mind and heart.
He has thrown down the rulers from their thrones
but lifted up the lowly.
The hungry he has filled with good things;
the rich he has sent away empty.
He has helped Israel his servant, remembering his mercy,
according to his promise to our fathers,
to Abraham and to his descendants forever."
Mary remained with her about three months and then returned to her home.
Gospel of Luke 1:46-56


Noel Nicolas Coypel - The Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, Versailles, France, 1715.


THE NATIVITY

In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus
that the whole world should be enrolled.
This was the first enrollment, when Quirinius was governor of Syria.
So all went to be enrolled, each to his own town.

And Joseph too went up from Galilee from the town of Nazareth to Judea,
to the city of David that is called Bethlehem, to be enrolled with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child.

While they were there, the time came for her to have her child,
and she gave birth to her firstborn son.
She wrapped him in swaddling clothes
and laid him in a manger,
because there was no room for them in the inn.
Gospel of Luke 2:1-7



THE PROPHECY OF SIMEON

"And Simeon blessed them, and said to Mary his mother,
Behold, this child is destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel,
and for a sign that shall be contradicted.
And thy own soul a sword shall pierce,
that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed."
Gospel of Luke 2:34-35



THE FINDING OF THE CHILD JESUS IN THE TEMPLE

And the child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom;
and the favor of God was upon him.
Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the feast of the Passover.
And when he was twelve years old, they went up according to custom;
and when the feast was ended, as they were returning,
the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem.
His parents did not know it,
but supposing him to be in the company they went a day's journey,
and they sought him among their kinsfolk and acquaintances;
and when they did not find him, they returned to Jerusalem, seeking him.
After three days they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers,
listening to them and asking them questions;
and all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers.
And when they saw him they were astonished; and his mother said to him,
"Son, why have you treated us so?
Behold, your father and I have been looking for you anxiously."

And he said to them, "How is it that you sought me?
Did you not know that I must be in my Father's house?"

And they did not understand the saying which he spoke to them.
And he went down with them and came to Nazareth,
and was obedient to them; and his mother kept all these things in her heart.
And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature, and in favor with God and man.
Gospel of Luke 2:40-52



JESUS EXPANDS HIS FOLLOWING

And his mother and his brothers came;
and standing outside they sent to him and called him.
And a crowd was sitting about him; and they said to him,
"Your mother and your brothers are outside, asking for you."
And he replied, "Who are my mother and my brothers?"
And looking around on those who sat about him, he said,
"Here are my mother and my brothers!
Whoever does the will of God is my brother, and sister, and mother."
Gospel of Mark 3:31-35



THE SON OF MARY

"Is not this the carpenter, the Son of Mary?"
Gospel of Mark 6:3



THE WEDDING FEAST AT CANA

On the third day there was a marriage at Cana in Galilee,
and the mother of Jesus was there;
Jesus also was invited to the marriage, with his disciples.

When the wine failed, the mother of Jesus said to him, "They have no wine."
And Jesus said to her,
"O woman, what have you to do with me?
My hour has not yet come."
His mother said to the servants, "Do whatever he tells you."

Now six stone jars were standing there,
for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons.
Jesus said to them, "Fill the jars with water."
And they filled them up to the brim. He said to them,
"Now draw some out, and take it to the steward of the feast."

So they took it. When the steward of the feast tasted the water now become wine,
and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew),
the steward of the feast called the bridegroom and said to him,
"Every man serves the good wine first; and when men have drunk freely, then the poor wine;
but you have kept the good wine until now."
Gospel of John 2:1-10



MARY AND JOHN AT THE CROSS

When Jesus saw his mother, and the disciple whom he loved standing near,
he said to his mother, "Woman, behold, your son!"
Then he said to the disciple, "Behold, your mother!"
And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home.
Gospel of John 19:26-27



THE UPPER ROOM AND THE PENTECOST

Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a sabbath day's journey away;
and when they had entered, they went up to the upper room, where they were staying,
Peter and John and James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew,
James the son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot and Judas the son of James.
All these with one accord devoted themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers.

When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place.
And suddenly a sound came from heaven like the rush of a mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.
And there appeared to them tongues as of fire, distributed and resting on each one of them.
And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
Acts of the Apostles 1:12-14 and 2:1-4



THE WOMAN OF REVELATION

Then God's temple in heaven was opened, and the ark of his covenant could be seen in the temple.
There were flashes of lightning, rumblings, and peals of thunder, an earthquake, and a violent hailstorm.
A great sign appeared in the sky, a woman clothed with the sun,
with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars.
She was with child and wailed aloud in pain as she labored to give birth.

Then another sign appeared in the sky; it was a huge red dragon, with seven heads and ten horns,
and on its heads were seven diadems.
Its tail swept away a third of the stars in the sky and hurled them down to the earth.
Then the dragon stood before the woman about to give birth,
to devour her child when she gave birth.

She gave birth to a son, a male child, destined to rule all the nations with an iron rod.
Her child was caught up to God and his throne.
The woman herself fled into the desert where she had a place prepared by God,
that there she might be taken care of for twelve hundred and sixty days.
Revelation 11:19-12:6



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John William Waterhouse - The Annunciation, London, England, 1914.