Luke's Portrait of Mary, the Mother of Jesus

[Arcabas,

Christ Pantocrator and the Four Evangelists] The Gospel of Luke and Acts give us the essential framework for the beginning of an authentic study of Mary. This Gospel is a Christ-centered proclamation to Christian believers of all times. Mary, the mother of the Lord, is primarily a believer who has been with Jesus from his conception, to his birth, his infancy, childhood, and manhood.

She continues to be a believer after his death and is present when Jesus' promise of his Spirit is given at Pentecost. There is no one person who ever had such a close relationship with Jesus in all of these stages of his life and that of his Church.

26 In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth,
27 to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin's name was Mary.
28 And he came to her and said, "Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you."
29 But she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be.
30 The angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.
31 And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus.
32 He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David.
33 He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end."
34 Mary said to the angel, "How can this be since I am a virgin?"
35 The angel said to her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore, the child to be born will be holy; he will be called Son of God.
36 And now, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month for her who is said to be barren.
37 For nothing will be impossible with God."
38 Then Mary said, "Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word." Then the angel departed from her.

39 In those days Mary set out and went with haste to a Judean town in the hill country,
40 where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth.
41 When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the child leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit
42 and exclaimed with a loud cry, "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb.
43 And why has this happened to me, that the mother of my Lord comes to me?
44 For as soon as I heard the sound of your greeting, the child in my womb leaped for joy.
45 And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her by the Lord."

46 And Mary said,
47 "My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
48 for he has looked with favor on the lowliness (tapeinosen) of his servant. Surely from now on all generations will call me blessed;
49 for the Mighty One has done great things for me and holy is his name.
50 His mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation.
51 He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts.
52 He has brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly (tapeinous);
53 he has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty.
54 He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy,
55 according to the promise he made to our ancestors, to Abraham and to his descendants forever."
56 And Mary remained with her about three months and then returned to her home.

In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered.
2 This was the first registration and was taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria.
3 All went to their own towns to be registered.
4 Joseph also went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judaea, to the city of David called Bethlehem, because he was descended from the house and family of David.
5 He went to be registered with Mary to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child.
6 While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child.
7 And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for him in the inn.

8 In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night.
9 Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.
10 But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid; for see, I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people:
11 to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord.
12 This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger."
13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying,

14 "Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favors!"

15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us."
16 So they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger.
17 When they saw this, they made known what had been told them about this child;
18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them.
19 But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart.
20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.

21 After eight days had passed, it was time to circumcise the child; and he was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb.

22 When the time came for their purification according to the law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord
23 (as it is written in the law of the Lord, "Every firstborn male shall be designated as holy to the Lord"),
24 and they offered a sacrifice according to what is stated in the law of the Lord, "a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons."

25 Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon; this man was righteous and devout, looking forward to the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit rested on him.
26 It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord's Messiah.
27 Guided by the Spirit, Simeon came into the temple; and, when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him what was customary under the law,
28 Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying,

29 "Master, now you are dismissing your servant in peace, according to your word;
30 for my eyes have seen your salvation,
31 which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples,
32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel."

33 And the child's father and mother were amazed at what was being said about him.
34 Then Simeon blessed them and said to his mother Mary, "This child is destined for the falling and the rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be opposed
35 so that the inner thoughts of many will be revealed--and a sword will pierce your own soul too."

36 There was also a prophet, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was of great age, having lived with her husband seven years after her marriage,
37 then as a widow to the age of eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshipped there with fasting and prayer night and day.
38 At that moment she came, and began to praise God and to speak about the child to all who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem.

39 When they had finished everything required by the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth.
40 The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon him.

41 Now every year his parents went to Jerusalem for the festival of the Passover.
42 And when he was twelve years old, they went up as usual for the festival.
43 When the festival was ended and they started to return, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but his parents did not know it.
44 Assuming that he was in the group of travelers, they went a day's journey. Then they started to look for him among their relatives and friends.
45 When they did not find him, they returned to Jerusalem to search for him.
46 After three days they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions.
47 And all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers.
48 When his parents saw him they were astonished; and his mother said to him, "Child, why have you treated us like this? Look, your father and I have been searching for you in great anxiety."
49 He said to them, "Why were you searching for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father's house?"
50 But they did not understand what he said to them.
51 Then he went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them. His mother treasured all these things in her heart.

52 And Jesus increased in wisdom and in years, and in divine and human favor.

19 Then his mother and his brothers came to him, but they could not reach him because of the crowd.
20 And he was told, "Your Mother and your brothers are standing outside, wanting to see you."
21 But he said to them, "My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and do it."

27 While he was saying this a woman in the crowd raised her voice and said to him, "Blessed is the womb that bore you and the breasts that nursed you!"
28 But he said, "Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it!"

12 Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a sabbath day's journey away.
13 When they had entered the city, they went to the room upstairs where they were staying, Peter, and John, and James, and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Simon the Zealot, and Judas son of James.
14 All these were constantly devoting themselves to prayer, together with certain women, including Mary the mother of Jesus, as well as his brothers.

It should be quite evident that the Gospel of Luke and Acts give us the essential framework for the beginnings of an authentic study of Mary (Mariology). This Gospel is not a mariolatry but a Christ-centered proclamation to Christian believers of all times. Mary, the mother of the Lord, is primarily a believer who has been with Jesus from his conception, to his birth, his infancy, childhood, and manhood. She continues as a believer after his death and is present when Jesus' promise of his Spirit is given at Pentecost. There is no one person who ever had such a close relationship with Jesus in all of these stages of his life and that of his Church. Luke has brought to us the mysteries of joy and those of sorrow through this believer. It is at Pentecost that she enters the mystery of the glory of the Risen Lord who is ever faithful to his promises. It is within this Lucan perspective that any study of Mary should begin for he is the only evangelist who has through his own theological purpose developed this portrait of Mary as a woman of faith who speaks, prays, and listens in the name of her son Jesus.


A Parallel Study of Matthew, Mark, and Luke on Mary and the Relatives of Jesus

Matt. 12.46-50

46 While he was still speaking to the people, behold, his mother and his brothers stood outside, asking to speak to him.

[47 Someone told him, "Your mother and your brothers are standing outside, asking to speak to you."] 48 But he replied to the man who told him, "Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?" 49 And stretching out his hand toward his disciples, he said, "Here are my mother and my brothers! 50 For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother, and sister, and mother."

Mark 3.31-35

31 And his mother and his brothers came; and standing out-side they sent to him and called him. 32 And a crowd was sitting about him; and they said to him, "Your mother and your brothers [and your sisters] are outside, asking for you."

33 And he replied, "Who are my mother and my brothers?" 34 And looking around on those who sat about him, he said, "Here are my mother and my brothers! 35 Whoever does the will of God is my brother, and sister, and mother."

Luke 8.19-21

19 Then his mother and his brothers came to him, but they could not reach him for the crowd. 20 And he was told, "Your mother and your brothers are standing outside, desiring to see you." 21 But he said to them,

"My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and do it."


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