Author’s Note: Interested readers can find all previous volumes of this series here. News Flash: The first 56 volumes are compiled into a book titled “Bible Study For Those Who Don’t Read The Bible.”
Welcome to the final study of Advent Season culminating in the “advent” (arrival) of Yeshua — a Jewish infant with the anglicized name of Jesus.
Our three-part series began with Vol. 90 — the conception and birth story of John the Baptist. Then, last week in Vol. 91, we studied Joseph, the earthly father of Jesus, and learned that Joseph had no biblical quotes, and thus, “no voice.” And, that is why today we will examine all the Bible’s direct quotes attributed to Mary — the Jewish mother of Jesus.
But first, some direct quotes from my Jewish mother — Gloria Cohen Kahn — who died in 2016 at age 90. For over a year before her death, Gloria attended a weekly Bible study offered at her nursing home conducted by a Messianic Jewish pastor. But we were shocked when she accepted Yeshua and asked to be baptized.
My older sister — a loyal, long-time member of the Unitarian church — falsely accused my husband and me of “brainwashing” Gloria. Later, proving my sister wrong, on Sundays at the nursing home, my mother chose to attend Mass over Bingo held at the same time — when previously she was a regular, enthusiastic participant.
In the months preceding my mother’s baptism, Gloria made some interesting statements and asked one jaw-dropping question. First, the statements:
While I was driving her somewhere, unprompted and totally out of the blue, Gloria said, “I have never read the Bible, but I enjoy learning about Yeshua.”
My mother’s first step in warming to Jesus was when she learned his Hebrew name was Yeshua. On another occasion, Gloria announced that she had been “praying to Yeshua” and then regularly started invoking His name and asking me questions about Him.
Then one day, Gloria asked a jaw-dropping question: “Why do Jews hate Jesus?” It was evident that my mother projected how she used to think before learning about Yeshua. For decades, my parents criticized my wearing a cross after converting to Christianity in 1975. Both were non-religious “cultural” Jews. They knew little about Christianity or Judaism and absolutely nothing about Jesus beyond “We are Jews and Jews don’t believe in Jesus.” Our home did not have an Old or New Testament.
Moreover, as I wrote in Vol. 15, during a religious argument with my father, I asked him what Jesus’s religion was, and he angrily answered, “Jesus was Catholic.”
Fast forward to the Christmas season about 15 years later. I told my mother that she and Mary had something in common and asked: “Did you know Mary was a Jewish mother?” Looking perplexed, she said, “Really? I thought Mary was a Catholic statue.”
And that, my friends, is a roundabout way of bringing us to today’s study topic — the few but significant “speaking parts” attributed to Mary.
We begin with God sending the angel Gabriel to inform Mary that she soon will be pregnant with Jesus. Gabriel tells Mary:
“‘He [Jesus] will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end’” (Luke 1:32-33). For believers, Gabriel spoke God’s truth then and now.
The message prompted Mary to speak for the first time and asked the angel:
“‘How will this be since I am a virgin?’” (Luke 1:34).
After Gabriel explains the miraculous circumstances, Mary states her obedience to God and His will for her:
“‘I am the Lord’s servant,’ Mary answered. ‘May your word to me be fulfilled’” (Luke 1:38).
Luke’s next “scene” was when Mary visited her older relative, Elizabeth, discussed in Vol. 39. Although thought to be barren, Elizabeth was pregnant with John the Baptist through a Divine intervention we studied in Vol. 90. Elizabeth’s exuberant reaction to Mary prompted Mary to pray her famous “Magnificat” or “Mary’s Song” discussed in Vol. 19:
“‘My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me — holy is his name. His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation. He has performed mighty deeds with his arm; he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts. He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble. He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty. He has helped his servant Israel, remembering to be merciful to Abraham and his descendants forever, just as he promised our ancestors’” (Luke 1:46-55).
After reading her “song,” you understand why Mary was “highly favored by God” and chosen to bear Jesus.
The next time we hear directly from Mary is when Jesus is age 12. A frantic Joseph and Mary realized that Jesus was missing from their caravan and raced back to Jerusalem. Three days later, they found Jesus in the Temple holding court with the Jewish high priests. But, reacting like any mother, Mary scolded Jesus, saying:
“‘Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you.’ ‘Why were you searching for me?’ he asked. ‘Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?’” (Luke 2: 48-49).
The last time Mary is quoted was when she prompted Jesus into doing his first miracle — turning water into wine at the wedding feast in Cana. The story is recorded in John 2: 1-11 and discussed in Vol. 87.
Apparently, Mary was close to the wedding party and wanted to save them from what would have been a humiliating situation. Thus, she turns to Jesus and says:
“‘They have no more wine.’” But Jesus is not cooperating:
“‘Woman, why do you involve me?’ Jesus replied. ‘My hour has not yet come ’” (John 2: 3-4). One could say that Mary asserts her motherly authority and overrules Jesus:
“His mother said to the servants, ‘Do whatever he tells you.’” And Jesus performed his first miracle. (Learn why it was his first, besides having the wedding party like it was 1999.)
Mary’s last biblical quote — “Do whatever he tells you” — is our takeaway lesson for the Advent Season. You might pray about that verse, paired with Mary’s second direct quote: “I am the Lord’s servant,” and then, “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas.”
Myra Kahn Adams is a media producer and conservative political and religious writer with numerous national credits. Her new book, “Bible Study For Those Who Don’t Read The Bible,” reprints the first 56 volumes of this popular study. Myra is also Executive Director of SignFromGod.org, a ministry dedicated to Shroud of Turin education. Contact: MyraAdams01@gmail.com or Twitter @MyraKAdams.
Cross-Posted at Townhall and Substack.
Liberty Unyielding does not belong to a particular religion, and welcomes readers regardless of their religion.