Did Mary Believe in Jesus?

 

Mary was a direct witness of the angelic pronunciation of Christ’s kingship.

  • Luke 1:26-35 26Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city in Galilee called Nazareth, 27to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the descendants of David; and the virgin's name was Mary. 28And coming in, he said to her, "Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you." 29But she was very perplexed at this statement, and kept pondering what kind of salutation this was. 30The angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary; for you have found favor with God. 31"And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus. 32"He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David; 33 and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and His kingdom will have no end." 34Mary said to the angel, "How can this be, since I am a virgin?" 35The angel answered and said to her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy Child shall be called the Son of God.

Notes:

  1. According to verse 29 Mary was perplexed and trying to understand what was going on.
  2. She was told the son would
    1. Be great
    2. Called Son of the Most High
    3. He would possess the throne of David
    4. He would reign over Israel
    5. His reign would never cease
    6. He would be called the Son of God

 

Later, at His birth the shepherds showed up talking about angels and strange doings and the Bible says the following about Mary.

  • Luke 2:17-19 When they had seen this, they made known the statement which had been told them about this Child. 18And all who heard it wondered at the things which were told them by the shepherds. 19But Mary treasured all these things, pondering them in her heart.

Notes:

  1. Her idea of Jesus’ greatness was confirmed by the shepherds.
  2. However, shepherds were not held in high esteem. Their testimony was not considered in court.
  3. The angels’ message did not contradict her idea of Jesus as a political king.

 

Twelve years later, when Jesus was able to hold His own against the Temple scholars, showing Himself to be a child prodigy the Bible says…

·        Luke 2:51 And He went down with them and came to Nazareth, and He continued in subjection to them; and His mother treasured all these things in her heart.

Notes:

  1. Again it was the fact that He was a prodigy that she focused on.
  2. The fact that He could discuss the Scriptures with authority still fed her preconception of Him as a king. The Levitical law, in discussing the job of a king, commanded the following:

·        Deuteronomy 17:19-20a “He must always keep this copy of the law with him and read it daily as long as he lives. That way he will learn to fear the Lord his God by obeying all the terms of this law. 20This regular reading will prevent him from becoming proud and acting as if he is above his fellow citizens. It will also prevent him from turning away from these commands in the smallest way.

 

When Jesus began His ministry though, she began to get an inkling that her expectations were going awry:

  • Mark 3:14-21 And He appointed twelve, so that they would be with Him and that He could send them out to preach, 15and to have authority to cast out the demons. 16And He appointed the twelve: Simon (to whom He gave the name Peter), 17and James, the son of Zebedee, and John the brother of James (to them He gave the name Boanerges, which means, "Sons of Thunder"); 18and Andrew, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus, and Simon the Zealot; 19and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed Him.  20And He came home, and the crowd gathered again, to such an extent that they could not even eat a meal. 21When His own people heard of this, they went out to take custody of Him; for they were saying, "He has lost His senses."

Notes:

  1. The phrase “His own people” is literally the term “His kinsmen” or “His family”
  2. Notice that His kinsmen did not reject Him until He began to get serious about His ministry. It wasn’t until He began to turn from the path they had laid out for him that they rejected Him.
  3. They believed He had lost His senses! Hardly the vote of confidence that would lead you to think they believed in His status as Messiah.

 

Lest you think that the people who thought He had lost His senses were not direct family but members of His tribe or village; or perhaps His brothers and sisters chose to disbelieve but Mary had faith, look just a few verses later in the same passage.

·        Mark 3:31-35 Then His mother and His brothers arrived, and standing outside they sent word to Him and called Him.  32A crowd was sitting around Him, and they said to Him, "Behold, Your mother and Your brothers are outside looking for You." 33Answering them, He said, "Who are My mother and My brothers?"  34Looking about at those who were sitting around Him, He said, "Behold My mother and My brothers! 35"For whoever does the will of God, he is My brother and sister and mother."

Note:

  1. Mary came with his brothers. She was standing by them – not Him.
  2. Mary was listed as also desiring His attendance, not merely His brothers.
  3. Jesus refused to even go outside to talk to them or invite them inside. This doesn’t help those who believe that Mary has influence over her Son.
  4. Jesus’ rejection of their invitation specifically included His mother (vv. 22-35)

 

This rejection by His own kinsmen and people was confirmed by John.

·        John 1:10-11 He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. 11He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him.

 

Jesus’ family were not the only ones to reject Him. Here is a classic example of the old saying “familiarity breeds contempt.”

  • Mark 6:1-6  Jesus went out from there and came into His hometown; and His disciples followed Him. 2When the Sabbath came, He began to teach in the synagogue; and the many listeners were astonished, saying, "Where did this man get these things, and what is this wisdom given to Him, and such miracles as these performed by His hands? 3"Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon? Are not His sisters here with us?" And they took offense at Him. 4Jesus said to them, "A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown and among his own relatives and in his own household." 5And He could do no miracle there except that He laid His hands on a few sick people and healed them. 6And He wondered at their unbelief. And He was going around the villages teaching.

Notes:

  1. They acknowledged His wisdom and His miracles (v.2) but they could not wrap their minds around the fact that a local boy could be the Messiah.
  2. The entire village rejected Him and the text specifically states that their unbelief was based on their familiarity with His family (including Mary) and that this familiarity fed their contempt.
  3. Jesus’ half-sisters were apparently part of the unbelieving crowd. (v.3)
  4. Jesus, in referring to His lack of honor or respect, made sure to mention His own relatives and household. Relatives could include distant cousins but “household” can only mean immediate relatives.
  5. The few miracles He was able to do did not include His family.

 

As a result of His own family’s rejection Jesus found it necessary to establish the following principle.

  • Luke 14:26 "If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple.

·        Matthew 10:36-37 and A MAN'S ENEMIES WILL BE THE MEMBERS OF HIS HOUSEHOLD.  37" He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.

 

It is admittedly difficult to understand how Mary, who had seen the angel and the miracle at Cana could fail to believe in Him. However, even His closest disciples did not believe even though they had seen hundreds of miracles including raising dead Lazarus! And today we are faced with the same decision. We have the witness of the Apostles, the hundreds of others who say the resurrected Christ, the Scriptures and two thousand years of Christian testimony telling us that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God. What do you believe?