We return to Matthew’s gospel for the final woman listed in his genealogy—that of the Virgin Mary, within whom was conceived God the Son by the overshadowing of the Holy Spirit. We find this out—according to Matthew—through Gabriel’s reassurance to Joseph in a dream.

The Virgin Mary

Virgin Mary

Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom Jesus was born, who is called the Messiah.

Matthew 1:16 (NRSV)
The Virgin Mary | Grace and Peace, Joanne

Now the birth of Jesus the Messiah took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been engaged to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit.

Her husband Joseph, being a righteous man and unwilling to expose her to public disgrace, planned to dismiss her quietly. But just when he had resolved to do this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said,

“Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”

All this took place to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet:

“Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
    and they shall name him Emmanuel,”

which means, “God is with us.”

When Joseph awoke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him; he took her as his wife, but had no marital relations with her until she had borne a son; and he named him Jesus.

Matthew 1:18-25 (NRSV)
By Philippe de Champaigne – Philippe de Champaigne, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=48195010

Mary’s Genealogy

Luke’s gospel gives us much more information about Mary, undoubtedly because she told him herself.

Luke opted to provide Mary’s genealogy, perhaps (being a medical man) seeing it as a more accurate bloodline. As it happens, Mary was also descended from King David, just through a different son. And here we see a magnificent detail, seemingly small but of great import, taken care of by God.

Joseph’s genealogy provided a royal line to King David, that gave Jesus His qualification to claim the throne of Judah. However, Mary gave Jesus the bloodline to King David that circumnavigated an ancient curse God had leveled against a sitting royal centuries in the past.

Mary also provided a direct line through Abraham, all the way back to Adam, the first man.

  • I Luke 1, Courage in Faith
  • II John 2, Crisis of Faith
  • III Acts 1, Champion of Faith


As the most written about woman in the whole Bible, what is your impression of Mary? There are thousands upon thousands of images of her, the beatific and holy Madonna, mother and child, otherworldly in her serenity; and the grieving mother holding her crucified son, again beatific, serene, otherworldly.

Hidden in Plain Sight

We might get the impression that as a young girl, being visited by Archangel Gabriel she was soft, submissive, gentle, meek. And certainly, she had these qualities, but is it possible we’ve missed the real person underneath the patina of two thousand years’ worth of iconography?

Bold and Courageous

When we first meet Mary in Luke’s Gospel, she seems to take a visit with one of the mightiest beings in the universe almost in stride. Daniel was trembling and speechless when he first saw an angel, so the angel said, “Fear not, I come in response to your prayer.” When Joseph saw an angel, the first words the angel said were “fear not.” What did the angel say to the trembling and speechless Zechariah? “Fear not.”

But to Mary, the first words Archangel Gabriel said were “Greetings, favored one!”

And so, in each succeeding story, a picture emerges of a woman of great faith, spiritual wisdom, a scriptural scholar in her own right, one who believed in the power, provision, and promise of Almighty God.

Images of Mary from around the world | Citations in the video

Great Faith

Through Mary, we learn that

  • Great faith requires both boldness and resiliency
  • Great faith produces wisdom and humility
  • Great faith is ready to break new ground in the power of the Spirit

Each video is designed to offer background scholarship on the topic, including setting, culture, original language, and archaeology, as well as a theological study.

The “Broken, Searching, Trusted, Powerful” video series is a companion to the book, available on Amazon, and published by Wipf and Stock.

6 thoughts on “The Virgin Mary

  1. “Great faith requires both boldness and resiliency”
    “Great faith produces wisdom and humility”
    “Great faith is ready to break new ground in the power of the Spirit”

    Again Sister/Professor Joanne, thank you! This notification came in exactly when I was looking at the screen and you had just sent it. Though I needed to get some sleep and couldn’t study then then at that moment, but it was as I now think about it now a few hours later very timely and a case of perfect timing! Last night I had been watching “The Robe” which did spark some personal revelation that needed to fully ascertain, and then immediately upon my giving this article a cursory viewing those above bullets from this article along with this following excerpt caught my attention powerfully!

    “But to Mary, the first words Archangel Gabriel said were “Greetings, favored one!”

    I do need to study this thoroughly and then see what presents itself to me from that point, but, I can identify here already because I see this strong point you make of how the profits became fearful or had to be warned by the angels appearances, but how Mary was not and was greeted as “So Very Special” which she is! I used to sparingly mention some of my own personal experiences of this nature, but now I see no need to hold back.

    I have seen I believe what had to be angels or at least my own guardian angel that in each occurrence prevented great harm from coming to me! But I also did see two separate visionary glimpses of our Blessed Mother Mary while in a semiconscious state, while my interaction with the angels I was fully conscious and engaged in physical activities. The first time I was home with family and as soon as I saw her, I through my heart and mind was saying or wanting for her to “please let me come with you,” but, like a great loving mother should told me, “I must stay here.” The next time we met this way I was thousands of miles away alone in California when something bad was about to happen to me as I was again semiconscious, but, someone was breaking in where I slept to attack me, and her appearance when all was said and done showed me that her “intercession” stopped this evil from happening. Now I see how what I’ve been contemplating since watching “The Robe” and you publishing this particular article have coincided for “good reason,” which says I must pray about and study this article, before fully responding to it!
    God bless you!
    Brother in Christ Jesus,

    1. This is such a good testimony, Brother in Christ Lawrence, what you have been given is precious indeed. It reminds me of when Jesus taught, “Take care that you do not despise one of these little ones; for, I tell you, in heaven their angels continually see the face of my Father in heaven.” (Matthew 18:10). Surely your angel is before the face of God and has been sent to you as encouragement ad real protection! Remember the time when Elisha’s servant saw “an army with horses and chariots was all around the city.” and he cried out to the prophet Elisha, “Alas, master! What shall we do?” And the prophet replied, “’Do not be afraid, for there are more with us than there are with them.” Then Elisha prayed: ‘O Lord, please open his eyes that he may see.’ So the Lord opened the eyes of the servant, and he saw; the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.” (2 Kings 6:15-17) You have lived the truth of those passages, the spiritual and physical realms intersecting in a visible way.

      These are powerful stories that reflect the glory of God, but also God’s tender care, and intense interest in each person. Thank you for telling me these. Grace and peace, your sister in Christ Joanne

      1. Good Evening Sister Joanne!
        I was actually just thinking about you and planning to respond further as this message came in to my cue; I mean just this minute I was reviewing some of your materials and I have much to contemplate and pray about still before I can fully appreciate all there is in your work here and what I will finally know in my heart needs to be said as in whatever is the Father’s will! As I was doing this I was listening to the “Alone With GOD – 3 Hour Peaceful Music | Relaxation Music | Christian Meditation Music |Prayer Music,” I sent last week and also thinking about watching your video about Delilah; as Victor mature who as you know was in The Robe as Demetrius and did a wonderful job throughout, I recall that movie and such powerful imagery and performances! All of them did such a tremendous job in portraying that time and those real characters that lived with Jesus as the time bring tears to my eyes watching any of them! I identify so much with Marcellus, Demetrius and Peter as far as their character traits and deep hearts as human beings and children of God! I was going to send this portion of a remark I thought of to another blogger but then I thought I may be going overboard; and not seeing the person face to face I can’t be sure if in any way it could leave some ramification I can’t fully, so I edited it but it does work here I think to explain not just more about my faith but also my interest in humanity as just a guy and servant of God!

        “I can relate and it really is a very powerful and important story that you lived as I see it. I was never married but could always relate to the powerful character study in the classic story by the great American Playwright Tennessee Williams in his play “The Glass Menagerie.” I actually used a scene from the play to audition for the American Academy of Dramatic Arts and using that piece of work I was accepted; so I think I was into the character fully; but your story triggered something for sure.”

        “As I read your blog essay I was stirred and flooded with thoughts and emotions. Many from the past in my own situation and travels when I spent a lot of time alone, working to be an artist to also find my true identity, but, moreover what my purpose for being here really was! Tom the older brother in the play I could really understand his wanting to be a poet and a merchant seaman, I guess what I epitomized in my own mind as being the real life of an artist who is an individual and unique, a kind of pioneer facing the world alone! Not Any kind of Road Warrior type at all, but a very sensitive and caring human being that just doesn’t find he can fit so well with convention or the usually humdrum nature of a business like or mechanized societal life! Maybe I had the fool notion that I could have been better off being an original settler of America, but chances are I probably wouldn’t have lasted long with my sensitive traits; that was a hard life! I got the impression that you had a powerful journey to complete and you have; so the future is yours as I see it, to make the best of it, and appreciate every bit of it with all your loved, ones and when having quiet moments alone to truly be able to reflect on the power of this life lived well, how you evolved and grew to be the man you are now; and honestly as I say showing character and integrity!”

        I have something I started to write in response to your video on Mary but I need to contemplate more about that and her!

        Thank you for the very considerate thoughts and great perspective on these things and even my ideas or feelings!
        God bless you and yours!
        Brother Lawrence
        A bit of a lag I can’t type and spell check and make sure I insert the right info as fast as I can talk lol! I would have been off and running long before now if I conveyed this by voice!

  2. “Spiritual and physical realms intersecting in a visible way.” Just last night I was studying a bit about what physicists are delving injto9 these days from where Einstein left off regarding Quantum Psychics and how some theorize that beyond the 4th dimension these is this indefinable piece to the puzzle but they start going into randomness and how a particle of light could sort of reflect off a mirror while at the same time a part of it or its own self would go through the mirror so could end up being in two places simultaneously, sort of the leap into multiverse theory and how right now we are in another realm besides here! Nah I don’t buy it.
    Einstein said it right how “God doesn’t play dice,” and I know he was hip to the fact that this is all a plan as you and I know being people of faith! Those scientists are chasing their own tails as I see it because the component that is missing is God maybe the God particle in a sense, the all-knowing that holds it all together after all He made it; and like my Dad always told me, son don’t you think there are things people are not meant to know or figure out! I go with Dad and Einstein!

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