Mary was a Jewish woman chosen by God to be the mother of Jesus. She was a virgin when she became pregnant by the action of the Holy Spirit. Along with her husband Joseph, Mary probably played an important role in the education of Jesus during her childhood and later became a follower. She was with Jesus’ other disciples when the Holy Spirit came down on Pentecost.
The Bible does not speak much about Mary’s life but says that she was very blessed, because she was chosen to be the mother of the Savior of the world. In Mary we have a great example of how the perfect and immortal God can dwell within a sinful human being, transforming his life. We can learn a lot from Mary’s life.
Maria discovers that she will become pregnant
Maria was a young woman who lived in the city of Nazareth, in the region of Galilee. She was engaged to a man named Joseph but they had not yet married when an angel spoke to her. The angel was called Gabriel and told Mary that she was very blessed, because God had chosen her to give birth to the Savior of the world ( Luke 1: 30-33 ). This was the king promised by God, which the Jews had been waiting for centuries.
Maria was a little confused about how she could have a child if she was still a virgin. Then the angel Gabriel explained that the child would be begotten by the Holy Spirit, not by natural means, because the child would be truly the Son of God. As proof that what he said was true, the angel told Mary that her cousin Isabel, who was barren and elderly, was also going to have a child soon ( Luke 1: 35-37 ).
Mary believed in the message from God and agreed to become the mother of Jesus ( Luke 1:38 ). As the angel had predicted, she became pregnant while still a virgin, thus fulfilling the Old Testament prophecy: “the virgin will become pregnant” ( Isaiah 7:14 ).
See also: why did God choose Mary?
Maria visits Isabel
When she heard that her cousin was pregnant, Maria went to visit Isabel. The angel Gabriel had prophesied that Elizabeth’s son, John the Baptist, would prepare the way for the Savior’s coming. When Maria, already pregnant, arrived at Isabel’s house, the baby inside Isabel jumped for joy! So Elizabeth knew at once that Mary was pregnant with the Savior ( Luke 1: 42-44 ).
Faced with this event, Mary composed a song glorifying God. She recognized God as her Savior and prophesied that she would forever be recognized as a very blessed woman ( Luke 1: 46-49 ). Mary did not become arrogant but gave all the praise to God.
The birth of Jesus
There came a time when Joseph, Maria’s fiancé, discovered that she was pregnant. He thought she had been unfaithful but an angel explained the situation to him and gave her the boy’s name: Jesus. So Joseph married Mary but they had no relationship until she gave birth ( Matthew 1: 24-25 ).
At the time when Maria should have her son, the couple went to Belém, due to a census. The city was very full, so when the boy was born, they had to put him in a manger, because they had no other place for him ( Luke 2: 6-7 ). Maria was the mother of the Savior of the world but did not have any special treatment at the time of delivery!
When the boy was born, shepherds visited the family, because they had been told about the birth of Jesus by angels. After that, Mary and Joseph dedicated their son to God in the temple, as was the custom among the Jews. There, they received prophecies about how the boy would change the world. Mary kept all these events in mind and reflected on them ( Luke 2:19 ).
After a visit by magicians from the East, Mary and Joseph had to flee with their son to Egypt, because King Herod wanted to kill the boy. They stayed in Egypt for a while, then returned and lived in Nazareth, where Jesus grew up.
Mary loses her son in Jerusalem
Every year, Mary and Joseph went to Jerusalem with other relatives to celebrate Easter. When Jesus turned 12, he also went with them. When the party was over, the parents started their journey home but did not notice that Jesus was not with them! Certainly, the boy would be with one of his cousins. But, after a day of walking, they did not find their son.
Mary and Joseph returned to Jerusalem and searched for Jesus for three days. Finally they found their son in the temple, talking to the teachers who explained the Scriptures ( Luke 2: 46-47 ). Mary scolded Jesus. She and José had been very distressed and worried about him! Jesus explained that the temple was his Father’s house but Mary and Joseph did not understand what he was talking about ( Luke 2: 48-50 ).
In the end, everything turned out well and Jesus didn’t give his parents any more trouble. But this event was also recorded in Maria’s memory.
Find out here: what did Jesus learn from Mary?
Mary and the ministry of Jesus
When Jesus started his ministry, he went to a wedding in the city of Cana and Mary went too. At one point, Mary told Jesus that the wine was gone, a very embarrassing situation for the newlyweds ( John 2: 1-3 ). Jesus had not performed any miracles and explained to his mother that his time had not yet come. It seems that Mary expected him to take his place as King of Israel, but Jesus knew it was too early for that.
Then Mary told the employees that they should do as Jesus commanded them ( John 2: 4-5 ). Jesus had several large pots filled with water and the water became the best quality wine! This was his first miracle.
Later during his ministry, Jesus’ relatives thought he was not right in the head and tried to stop him from continuing to preach. On one occasion, Mary came with her other children to visit Jesus where he was preaching. However, there was a crowd on its way. So they sent a message to Jesus, asking him to stop preaching for a while to talk to them ( Mark 3: 31-32 ). Jesus used the occasion to explain that his true family are all those who do God’s will ( Mark 3: 33-35 ).
Jesus did not reject his mother, but he also did not allow her to hinder his ministry. Despite loving his mother, he had to fulfill God’s will above all else. His disciples were also his family.
Mary was a witness to Jesus’ crucifixion. She stood at the foot of the cross while he suffered, along with the apostle John. Upon seeing them, Jesus commissioned his mother to John’s care. From that day on, John began to receive Mary as part of his family ( John 19:25 -27 ).
As the eldest son, Jesus would have the responsibility to care for his mother in her old age. Even when he was fulfilling his purpose to save humanity, Jesus did not forget to ensure that his mother was well looked after. With this act, he showed that each individual person is important to God. He cares about all the details of our lives.
The day of Pentecost
After Jesus died and rose again, Mary and the brothers of Jesus joined the other disciples in prayer, awaiting the coming of the Holy Spirit ( Acts 1:14 ). The blood family and the spiritual family were finally united, by their faith in Jesus.
On the day of Pentecost, they were all gathered in one place praying, when the Holy Spirit descended on them like tongues of fire. They started speaking in other languages and preaching Jesus to others, and that day, three thousand people were converted!
After that, the Bible tells us nothing more about Mary’s life.
Did Mary ascend to Heaven?
The Bible does not say anywhere that Mary ascended to Heaven. This is just a story that has become a tradition among some Christian groups. But there is no strong evidence that this has happened.
See more: is it biblical to worship Mary and the saints?
Mary needed Jesus as much as anyone else. She was very blessed but she herself recognized that she needed a savior. Mary was a normal woman, a sinner but with faith in God. She followed God with all her heart and was probably a good example of devotion to Jesus as he grew up. But there is no evidence in the Bible that she was perfect or that she ascended bodily to Heaven, as Jesus did.