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Who Is Mary, the Mother of Jesus in the Bible?

Learn about the biblical figure of Mary, the Mother of Jesus, in this Howcast video with Reverend Dr. Timothy Coombs.


Hi, I'm Tim Coombs, co-pastor of Trinity Presbyterian Church in Scotia, NY and a member of the network of biblical storytellers. To learn more about its mission, go to

Who is Mary in the gospels? Well, Mary, we are told, is the mother of Jesus. The story in Luke is that the angel Gabriel comes and visits her and says that she is about to become pregnant by the Holy Spirit. When that happens, she goes and visits her kinswoman Elizabeth, who is pregnant with John the Baptist. And Mary sings the song of the great reversal, it's called the Magnifica, where the powerful will be thrown down, and the poor and the weak will be lifted up. She gives birth to Jesus, and in good faith she and Joseph present him in the temple. And she sort of disappears from the story of Jesus for a little bit. There is one account where she and Jesus's brothers and sisters come to rescue him because people are saying he's gone out of his mind, this is in Mark 3, and Jesus questions whether they are his real family or is it all believers, who trust in him, are is family. Mary is with Jesus all the way through the gospel account. Joseph somewhere disappears, we don't know what happens to him. But Mary, we are told, is at the crucifixion. And in fact, from the cross, Jesus tells a disciple whom he loves to take her in as his own mother. And Mary is thought to be one of the women who goes to the tomb, and is therefore numbered amongst the early woman leaders of the church. So Mary, a person we don't know too much about her background, but indeed an important part of the story of Jesus.

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