The Faith of Mary

Bible Book: Matthew  1 : 18-25
Subject: Faith; Mary, Mother of Jesus; Christmas; Mother

Dr. Erwin W. Lutzer writes, “Stop for a moment and think of what it must have been like to be Mary, the young virgin chosen by God to give birth to the Son of God. Tradition says that every Jewish maiden hoped that she would be the one to have the honor of bearing the promised Messiah. And now, by means of an angel, the Lord tells Mary that she will conceive and bear a son who will fulfill all the Old Testament promises. . . . Understandably, the Christian church has always been fascinated with Mary; after all, she did give birth to a baby who is called God.”[1]

There are many fables, fabrications, and falsities about Mary. She is the subject of so much folklore and fiction, due in part to the imagination of those who wish to go beyond the scope of Holy Scripture. While the New Testament records little about her, there are some things we may establish. For example, we read in Matthew 1:18-25, “Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit. Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly. But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, ‘Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins.’ So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: ‘Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel’ which is translated, ‘God with us.’ Then Joseph, being aroused from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took to him his wife, and did not know her till she had brought forth her firstborn Son. And he called His name JESUS.” In addition, we read in Matthew 13:53-58, “Now it came to pass, when Jesus had finished these parables, that He departed from there. When He had come to His own country, He taught them in their synagogue, so that they were astonished and said, ‘Where did this Man get this wisdom and these mighty works? Is this not the carpenter’s son? Is not His mother called Mary? And His brothers James, Joses, Simon, and Judas? And His sisters, are they not all with us? Where then did this Man get all these things?’ So they were offended at Him. But Jesus said to them, ‘A prophet is not without honor except in his own country and in his own house.’ Now He did not do many mighty works there because of their unbelief.”

One outstanding feature about Mary is her faith. There are at least three words denoting or demonstrating faith, namely, reliance, confidence, and obedience. Each of these words will reveal a different aspect of the faith of Mary. Allow me to share three events from the life of Mary to illustrate her faith.

I. Mary had an undesigning reliance upon the Lord.

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, the term undesigning means, “having no ulterior or fraudulent purpose: sincere <a child's undesigning honesty>.”[2]

Mary was not a “designing woman”. Her reliance upon the Lord was sincere. She had a childlike faith. From Luke 1:38 we read that Mary said, “‘Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.’”

Allow me to read this verse in the context recorded in Luke 1:26-38, and 45, “Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. And having come in, the angel said to her, ‘Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!’ But when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and considered what manner of greeting this was. Then the angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name JESUS. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.’ Then Mary said to the angel, ‘How can this be, since I do not know a man?’ And the angel answered and said to her, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God. Now indeed, Elizabeth your relative has also conceived a son in her old age; and this is now the sixth month for her who was called barren. For with God nothing will be impossible.’ Then Mary said, ‘Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.’ And the angel departed from her. . . . Blessed is she who believed, for there will be a fulfillment of those things which were told her from the Lord.”

This event took place before the incarnation of the manhood of Jesus Christ. We read in John 1:1-5, 14, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it. . . . And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.”

Nowhere in Scripture do we read that Mary was a co-mediator with Jesus Christ. Paul the apostle writes, “For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 2:5).

II. Mary had an unswerving confidence in the Lord.

From John 2:5 we read, “[Mary] said to the servants, “Whatever He says to you, do it.”

This event took place before the inauguration of the ministry of Jesus Christ.

Allow me to read this verse in the context of John 2:1-12, where we read, “On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Now both Jesus and His disciples were invited to the wedding. And when they ran out of wine, the mother of Jesus said to Him, ‘They have no wine.’ Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, what does your concern have to do with Me? My hour has not yet come.’ His mother said to the servants, ‘Whatever He says to you, do it.’ Now there were set there six waterpots of stone, according to the manner of purification of the Jews, containing twenty or thirty gallons apiece. Jesus said to them, ‘Fill the waterpots with water.’ And they filled them up to the brim. And He said to them, ‘Draw some out now, and take it to the master of the feast.’ And they took it. When the master of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and did not know where it came from (but the servants who had drawn the water knew), the master of the feast called the bridegroom. And he said to him, ‘Every man at the beginning sets out the good wine, and when the guests have well drunk, then the inferior. You have kept the good wine until now!’ This beginning of signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee, and manifested His glory; and His disciples believed in Him. After this He went down to Capernaum, He, His mother, His brothers, and His disciples; and they did not stay there many days.”

John records seven miracles of Jesus. Jesus turned water into wine (John 2:1-11); healed an official’s son (John 4:43-45); healed someone at the Pool of Bethesda (John 5:1-9); fed 5000 (John 6:1-50); walked on the water (John 6:16-25); healed a man born blind (John 9:1-41); and raised Lazarus from the dead (John 11:1-44). Jesus’ first miracle inaugurated His earthly ministry.

III. Mary had an unquestioning obedience to the Lord.

We read in John 19:26-27, “When Jesus therefore saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing by, He said to His mother, ‘Woman, behold your son!’ Then He said to the disciple, ‘Behold your mother!’ And from that hour that disciple took her to his own home.” Please note the silence of Mary. As His disciple John, Mary obeys her Son without questioning. Allow me to read these verses in the context of John 19:25-30, “Now there stood by the cross of Jesus His mother, and His mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus therefore saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing by, He said to His mother, ‘Woman, behold your son!’ Then He said to the disciple, ‘Behold your mother!’ And from that hour that disciple took her to his own home. After this, Jesus, knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, said, ‘I thirst!’ Now a vessel full of sour wine was sitting there; and they filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on hyssop, and put it to His mouth. So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, ‘It is finished!’ And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit.”

This event took place before the installation of the Messiahship of Jesus Christ.

Moses writes in Genesis 3:14-15, “So the LORD God said to the serpent: ‘Because you have done this, / You are cursed more than all cattle, / And more than every beast of the field; / On your belly you shall go, / And you shall eat dust / All the days of your life. And I will put enmity / Between you and the woman, / And between your seed and her Seed; / He shall bruise your head, / And you shall bruise His heel.’” Of course, the serpent (Genesis 3:14) refers to the devil according to Genesis 3:1-6 and Revelation 20:2. Genesis 3:15 is known as the “Protoevangelium”, or the first gospel. It is the first prophecy of the Messiah. This prophecy finds its fulfillment in Jesus Christ our Lord in His death on the cross, as does Psalm 22. The Suffering Servant in the book of Isaiah is also a prophecy of the mission of the Messiah. It is little wonder that some refer to Isaiah 53 as “the forbidden chapter”.

In the words of the Christmas carol, “Good Christian men, rejoice, / With heart, and soul, and voice; / Now ye hear of endless bliss: Joy! Joy! Jesus Christ was born for this! He hath ope'd the heav'nly door, / And man is blessed evermore. Christ was born for this! Christ was born for this!”[3] Jesus was born to be the Messiah.”

John records in John 17:1-5, where we read, “Jesus spoke these words, lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said: ‘Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You, as You have given Him authority over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as You have given Him. And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do. And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.’”

From the cross Jesus said, “It is finished!” (John 19:30) When He gave up His spirit, He completed His mission as Messiah. On the cross Jesus Christ fulfilled the requirements to be the Messiah. After His resurrection, “Jesus said to [Mary Magdalene], ‘Do not cling to Me, for I have not yet ascended to My Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, ‘I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God’” (John 20:17). This is a part of Jesus’ installation as Messiah. Earlier, Jesus said to Thomas, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6).

Although Jesus came to be the Messiah, the majority rejected Him. We read in John 1:10-13, “He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”

Paul the apostle writes about Jesus Christ, “Who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time” (1 Timothy 2:6). Paul also writes in Romans 5:6-11, “For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.” John shares the following about Jesus in his first epistle, “And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world” (1 John 2:2).

Nowhere in Scripture do we read that Mary was a co-redeemer. Quite the contrary, as we read in Luke 2:34-38, “Simeon blessed them, and said to Mary His mother, ‘Behold, this Child is destined for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign which will be spoken against (yes, a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.’ Now there was one, Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was of a great age, and had lived with a husband seven years from her virginity; and this woman was a widow of about eighty-four years, who did not depart from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day. And coming in that instant she gave thanks to the Lord, and spoke of Him to all those who looked for redemption in Jerusalem.”


While we believe Mary was a wonderful woman of faith, we do not place our faith in her. Everyone but Jesus needs salvation from sin, including Mary. Only Jesus can give salvation. We believe in Jesus Christ, the King of kings and Lord of Lords, who said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6). The Scripture clearly heralds the sinlessness of Jesus Christ (Hebrews 4:15; 7:26; 9:14; 1 Peter 2:22; 1 John 3:5; 2 Corinthians 5:21; and John 8:46), but it nowhere hints that Mary was sinless. Therefore, Mary must confess with the psalmist and each genuine believer, “Not unto us, O LORD, not unto us, / But to Your name give glory, / Because of Your mercy, / Because of Your truth” (Psalm 115:1).

Mary had an undesigning reliance upon the Lord, an unswerving confidence in the Lord, and an unquestioning obedience to the Lord. May we express a personal faith in the Lord, like the faith of Mary.


[1]Erwin W. Lutzer, All One Body-Why Don’t We Agree? (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 1989), p. 51


[2]Available from: Accessed: 12/14/11


[3]Good Christian Men, Rejoice” attributed to Heinrich Suso (ca. 1295-1366) translated by John Mason Neale published in Carols for Christmas-tide (London: Novello, 1853), Carol # 6


By Dr. Franklin L. Kirksey, pastor First Baptist Church of Spanish Fort 30775 Jay Drive Spanish Fort, Alabama 36527

Author of Sound Biblical Preaching: Giving the Bible a Voice Available on and

e-mail: / (251) 626-6210 © December 8, 2011 All Rights Reserved