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
Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom Jesus was born, who is called the Messiah.Matthew 1:16 (NRSV)
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)
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.
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.