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Mary, the mother of Jesus the Christ

Greek: Μαρίας

Hebrew: מִרְיָ֛ם —transliteration: Miriam

Mary was the wife of Joseph and the mother of Jesus Christ, who was conceived within her by the Holy Spirit when she was a virgin. She is often called the “Virgin Mary,” though never in Scripture are those two words put together as a proper name (Matthew 2:11; Matthew 1:23; Luke 1:27; Acts 1:14).

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

Topics related to Mary

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 neighborhood 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 immediately gave 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 (Luke 2:6-7). 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’s geneaology

Mary ➤ HeliMatthatLeviMelchiJannaJosephMattathiah (Mattathias)AmosNahum ➤ Esli ➤ Naggai ➤ MaathMattathiah (Mattathias)SemeiJosephJudahJoannas (Joanna)RhesaZerubbabelShealtielNeriMelchiAddiCosamElmodamEr ➤ Jose ➤ Eliezer ➤ Jorim ➤ MatthatLeviSimeonJudahJoseph ➤ Jonan ➤ EliakimMelea ➤ Menan ➤ Mattathah ➤ NathanKING DAVIDJesseObedBoazSalmonNahshonAmminadabRamHezronPerezJudahJacobIsaacABRAHAMTerahNahorSerug ➤ Reu ➤ PelegEberShelahCainanArphaxadShemNOAHLamechMethuselahEnochJaredMahalalel (Mahalaleel)CainanEnosh (Enos)SethADAM (created by God).

Mary’s father was Heli. Mary was a direct descendant of King David which gave Jesus the right to ascend the Jewish throne, both through Mary and through adoption by his foster father, Joseph. Mary’s genealogy is supplied in Luke 3:23-38. Dr. Henry Morris explains how we know this genealogy is Mary’s:

Joseph was clearly the son of Jacob (Matthew 1:16, so this verse [Luke 3:23—says “son of Heli”] should be understood to mean “son-in-law of Heli.” Thus, the genealogy of Christ in Luke is actually the genealogy of Mary, while Matthew gives that of Joseph. Actually, the word “son” is not in the original, so it would be legitimate to supply either “son” or “son-in-law” in this context. Since Matthew and Luke clearly record much common material, it is certain that neither one could unknowingly incorporate such a flagrant apparent mistake as the wrong genealogy in his record. As it is, however, the two genealogies show that both parents were descendants of DavidJoseph through Solomon (Matthew 1:7-15), thus inheriting the legal right to the throne of David, and Mary through Nathan (Luke 3:23-31), her line thus carrying the seed of David, since Solomon’s line had been refused the throne because of Jechoniah’s sin[Dr. Henry M. Morris, The Defender’s Study Bible, note for Luke 3:23 (Iowa Falls, Iowa: World Publishing, Inc., 1995).].

Mary’s other children

Mary’s other sons included Joses (Joseph), James, Judas (Judah, Jude—not Judas Iscariot), and Simon (not Simon Peter). There were daughters, as well, but they are not named in Scripture (Matthew 13:55-56; 1:25; 12:47; Mark 6:3; Luke 2:7; John 2:12; Acts 1:14).

Of the brothers, the next oldest after Jesus was James (Matthew 13:55-56; Mark 6:3). Other verses which indicate the existence of Mary and Joseph's other children: Matthew 1:25; 12:47; Luke 2:7; John 2:12; Acts 1:14.

The Bible reveals that there was some initial skepticism in Christ’s family about his ministry (Matthew 12:46-50; Mark 3:31-35; Luke 8:19-21; John 7:5). This later changed when James personally witnessed the fact of his brother’s resurrection from the dead (1 Corinthians 15:7). James personally talked to Jesus after his resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:7) and became a strong believer and follower of Jesus, and eventually the leader of the Jerusalem church (1 Corinthians 9:5; Galatians 2:9). In Galatians 1:19, Paul referred to James as an apostle, like himself. James also endorsed Paul's ministry (Galatians 2:1-10).

Jesus’ other brothers apparently became missionaries (1 Corinthians 9:5).

Jesus not produced by sexual intercourse

Unlike his younger brothers and sisters, Jesus, the Christ, was not produced in Mary’s womb as a result of sexual intercourse with a man (Mormonism claims that Mary had sex with Adam). Nor did Mary have sex with God, as Islam claims of Christianity. Jesus Christ's conception was a special and unique miracle of God.

Was Mary’s DNA a part of Jesus?

Many Protestants have not thought this issue through carefully. Roman Catholicism has particularly made grievous errors in its doctrines elevating Mary, a repentant sinner saved by grace, like us all—God’s Word gives us no reason to believe otherwise. She needed the Savior, as we all do.

“for ALL have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23—NASB)

Prior to His incarnation as the humble baby Jesus in Bethlehem, He was a Divine Person in spirit form, part of the Trinity that is God. He is called “The Word,” and He existed BEFORE the Creation of the world. In fact, the Apostle John revealed that He is the Person of the Trinity that created the universe (John 1).

“All things were made by Him; and without Him was not any thing made that was made” (John 1:3).

Under Jewish law, baby Jesus was clearly legally the son of Mary and Joseph—to Mary, by being grown in her womb (and then delivered like any other child), and to Joseph by legal adoption) under well-established Jewish law. Both parents, traced their ancestry to King David; so Jesus (the Messiah), too, was solidly a fully legal descendant of David and born of a woman, as prophecy foretold.

There are important differences between baby Jesus and every other human child. Jesus was born of a virgin. Ever since Adam’s Creation, from the dust of the Earth, and Eve’s subsequent formation from Adam’s side, all their descendants have been created at the moment of conception. Each new person, complete with eternal soul, wondrously begins—due to Divine design—at the moment the DNA of a man and woman combine. (Even angels cannot reproduce and create new souls; what an amazing gift the Creator bestowed on Adam and Eve, and their descendants.)

Jesus’ spirit already existed in eternity past—He is God; clearly his spirit did not come into existence on Earth through sexual DNA combination, as do other children. Neither did his body. The physical body of the man Jesus has to have been a special creation of God, placed in Mary’s womb.

“…a body hast thou [God] prepared me…”) Hebrews 10:5

This is the biblical doctrine of incarnation and the virgin birth.

The Father sent “…His own Son in the LIKENESS of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin…” (Romans 8:3 NASB)

For thousands of years, every human child has been born with an inherited corrupted flesh with its sinful nature) (Romans 8:3). This is the result of mankind’s sinful first parents, Adam and Eve, from whom we genetically descended. Each generation has sinned (Romans 3:23) and through reproduction passed on its sinful nature and the curse of death (spiritual and physical), to each succeeding generation.

This is the biblical doctrine of the fall of man and the imputation of sinthe Way of salvation, eternally separates us from God (Romans 5:12-19).

“…flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Corinthians 15:5).

Like Adam, Jesus was not physically derived from any previous human being. Both began as untainted special creations, without a sin nature or corrupted flesh and able to stand in God’s Holy presence. Jesus is just as fully human as Adam. Thus, Jesus is called the Second Adam (and the Last Adam—1 Corinthians 15:45-4). The Second Adam is the great solution humanity desperately needed (Romans 5:12-19).

Although Jesus grew in the womb of Mary, apparently in the same manner as any normal baby, His source was Divine—different from all other human babies. He could not be from the egg of Mary, for it, like all other cells of descendants of Adam, contained the inherited sin nature, corruption and the curse of death that is passed through our DNA—causing us all to be born spiritually dead and doomed to physical death.

Jesus is absolutely PURE and SINLESS. He had to be flawless, since His purpose in becoming a man was to serve as the spotless LAMB OF GOD, without blemish, a worthy sacrifice to pay for our sins (John 1:29).

In summary, it seems clear that neither Christ’s spirit nor his body resulted from the DNA of Mary; she was a vessel (the chosen descendant of David), but not the source. Like all people, Mary’s DNA contained inherited genetic defects, including our unregenerate sinful nature. Our Creator was incarnated (given a HOLY fetal human body) by the Holy Spirit and the power of the Father (Luke 1:35)—a body as human as Adam’s, before sin—totally pure and righteous. He grew and lived a sinless life and then died for our sins (satisfying the need for justice), and arose—defeating the penalty of eternal death for us and ulimately regain Paradise for His chosen people. So amazing is our Creator and Savior!

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