Character Bible Study on Mary the Mother of Jesus

In this Bible study on Mary the mother of Jesus, we dive into the life of the most popular Mary in the Bible and in human history. She was an extraordinary young woman of faith, and there are so many valuable and rich lessons we can learn from her life. 

Mary was humble and willing to surrender to God’s purpose for her life. She was used as a vessel of the Lord and showed bravery and courage. There are not many chapters in the Word of God about her life, but we do know that she was present both at the beginning and end of Jesus’ life revealing her understanding and appreciation of her Son and His mission. 

Mary played a significant role in Jesus’ life as His mother, and therefore, a key role in God’s plan of salvation through her Son, the Saviour of the world!

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Bible Study on Mary the Mother of Jesus?

We can’t speak of salvation history without mentioning Mary the mother of the Messiah. The Gospel writers of the New Testament introduce Mary as she is having an interaction with the angel Gabriel. But who was she?

Mary is believed to have been about thirteen or fourteen when she met the angel of the Lord. In those days, Jewish custom allowed young girls to get married at twelve or thirteen years old to guarantee virginity and ensure they could bear children. She had been engaged to Joseph for a year. That means when Jesus Christ was born she was about fifteen years old. 

Mary was born to the Jewish community in Nazareth Galilee during the reign of Herod the Great. She was the daughter of Heli, from the tribe of Judah, the prophesied line of the Messiah.

The names mentioned in Mary’s lineage include Isaac, Jacob, Judah, Boaz, and David. Therefore, Mary’s Son would be qualified to bear the title “Son of David,” and be known as being descended from the tribe of Judah (Hebrews 7:14).

Mary likely already knew of the prophecy of the Messiah in the Old Testament and was waiting for its fulfillment without knowing that she would play a part in it. In the Bible the first mention of the gospel, prophesing Jesus’ coming and His role as Savior, is given at the fall of man when Adam, Eve, and the serpent received the consequences of their sin from the Lord God. 

And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.

Genesis 3:15

This scripture shows that the Seed of the woman would have a battle with Satan. This was the prophecy of Jesus. He was the Seed who ultimately defeated the devil and crushed him. Satan would wound Jesus on the cross, but ultimately Jesus Christ would be victorious, proven by His resurrection and defeat of death. This was the salvation plan already foretold. 

The name Mary (in English) or Miriam (in Hebrew) means “drop of the sea,” “bitterness,” “beloved,” and “wished for a child.” Mary the mother of Jesus gave birth to the wished-for child Jesus Christ who had been prophesied in the Old Testament that he would come and be the Messiah and Savior of the world. 

Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.

Isaiah 7:14

The virgin’s name was never mentioned in the prophesies, but we find out in God’s perfect time that Mary would be this virgin. 

What Qualified Mary to Be the Mother of Jesus?

For Mary to be chosen as the one to carry the Messiah into the world, she must have been a unique and special girl. To understand and appreciate why Mary was qualified to be the mother of Jesus let’s take a look at her interaction with the angel of the Lord. This is the first time she is introduced to us in the Word of God. 

And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.

And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be.

And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God.

Luke 1:28-30

While Mary was initially troubled and afraid when the angel Gabriel first appeared to her, he told her that she had found favor with God. God had chosen her. Mary was blessed among other women, because she had been handpicked by the Lord for a special assignment. 

And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name Jesus.

He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David:

And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.

Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?

And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.

And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren.

For with God nothing shall be impossible.

And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.”

Luke 1:31-38

Mary was a young girl, yet the Lord trusted her and told her that she would be the one to birth the Saviour of the world. As a young virgin, she wondered how this would happen, and after the angel explained that the power of the Most High would overshadow her, she willingly agreed to cooperate with the Lord God’s plan and purpose. 

She was a courageous young woman who was faithful and willing to obey God’s instructions despite at first being afraid when the angel approached her. Mary was the Lord’s servant…surrendered, ready, and willing to do the will of God. 

Beyond that, there are a few physical facts that made Mary the right candidate as the mother of God. She came from Nazareth a place looked down upon. The Jews considered it unclean because the Romans had a military post there. Even Jesus’ future disciples looked down upon this town. 

Philip findeth Nathanael, and saith unto him, We have found him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.

And Nathanael said unto him, Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth? Philip saith unto him, Come and see.

John 1:46

With its humble surroundings and nothing prestigious, Nazareth was the ideal town for Jesus to come from to fulfill the prophecy about Him. Coming from Nazareth also helped Jesus identify with the lowly and all the people He came to save. 

He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

Isaiah 53:3

In the Gospel of Matthew, the Word of God details the genealogy of Jesus.  Mary was engaged to be married to Joseph whose lineage and ancestry came from the house of David. Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are patriarchs of faith in the Bible and are also included in Joseph and Jesus’ lineage (Matthew 1). Mary also belonged to the tribe of Judah as mentioned earlier. 

Jesus Christ would qualify to be called the Son of David by His earthly father and mother. This shows that the Lord God cares about all the details of His plan and physical ancestry was another major reason why Mary was selected as His mother.  

Mary was also a virgin who was pure, no man having known her. The Messiah had to come through someone who had not known a man. This would be a miraculous conception!

When the angel approached Mary, she may have had questions and doubts, but she chose to trust that the Lord knew what was best. Her courage was rooted in her deep relationship with the Lord. 

Mary knew she would face shame and abandonment from the community for having a child outside of marriage. What would she tell Joseph to whom she was engaged to marry?

After the encounter with the angel Gabriel, Mary went to see her relative Elizabeth. She went to celebrate the good news of the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy given that Elizabeth had previously been barren.

Mary’s presence led to Elizabeth being filled with the Holy Spirit, and the baby in her womb leaped with joy. Mary magnified the Lord and rejoiced at being chosen as the mother of Jesus as we read in Luke 1:46-55. This shows that praise, worship, and giving glory and honor to the Lord were something she did regularly.

Later, we see that she was a strong woman, as she journeyed to Bethlehem in Judea where her husband Joseph came from. She gave birth to her firstborn Son Jesus Christ in a stable, because they could not find lodging anywhere. 

What Was the Relationship Between Jesus and Mary?

God’s Word doesn’t give us much detailed information about how Jesus related with His mother, but we can be sure that they had a loving mother-son relationship. Jesus lived with His parents in His early, and likely in His adult, years until He began ministry when He was thirty. 

While Jesus was clear on His mission and identity as the Son of God, He obeyed His parents and subjected Himself to their rules and instructions. 

Mary was a present mother in Jesus’ life. We see a few significant instances below where she is not only present but plays a part in fulfilling God’s plan in Jesus’ life. The Lord Jesus honored his mother until the very end of His life. He cared for her well-being as well. 

While Jesus was Mary’s Son, He was also the Savior of the entire world. He loved and respected His mother, but it’s important to note that His view of family extended beyond that of His immediate family. We are His disciples and His family as well. 

And he stretched forth his hand toward his disciples, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren! For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.

Matthew 12:49-50

Mary’s Role in Jesus’ Early Years

Mary and Joseph faithfully followed the Jewish customs at the time. At eight days old, they circumcised Mary’s baby boy and named Him Jesus in obedience to God’s instructions given through the angel Gabriel. (Luke 1:31) Then they brought Him to Jerusalem for their purification according to the Law of Moses, offered sacrifices, and presented Him to the Lord. 

There they met a man called Simeon, full of the Holy Spirit who acknowledged who Jesus was, and prophesied what would happen to Him later. 

And Simeon blessed them, and said unto Mary his mother, Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against;

(Yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also,) that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.

Luke 2:34-35

When Jesus was 12, He went with His mother and Joseph to the Feast of the Passover in Jerusalem. This was something his family attended faithfully. When the event was finished, they could not find Jesus and looked for Him for three days. Then they found Him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions.

Mary expressed her distress as a mother to which Jesus explained that He had to be in His Father’s house. God was His Father, and He was on assignment. As the Son of the Most High God, Jesus’ purpose and His relationship with His Heavenly Father was more important than any earthly relationship. Mary observed Jesus’s life in detail and stored all that He said in her heart. 

And when they saw him, they were amazed: and his mother said unto him, Son, why hast thou thus dealt with us? behold, thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing.

And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business?

And they understood not the saying which he spake unto them.

And he went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject unto them: but his mother kept all these sayings in her heart.

And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.

Luke 2: 48-52

While we aren’t given very many details about Jesus Christ’s early years, we know that He was obedient and wise. He listened and obeyed His parents. He had favor with both man and God.

Mary at the Wedding in Cana

In John 2:1-11 at the wedding of Cana, we learn of Mary’s role in Jesus’ very first miracle. His mother was instrumental in the beginning of his public ministry. In those days, a wedding was the biggest event of a person’s life, and it lasted for several days. 

For more help growing in your walk with God, you’ll want to be sure to check out all these Practical Ways to Get Closer to God Today!

Mary, Jesus, and His disciples were invited to the wedding. The wine ran out at the wedding. We don’t know how Mary found out, but when she did, she turned to the only person she knew Who could help with this situation. While Jesus told His mother that His time had not yet come, Mary’s response was to tell the servants to do everything Jesus told them. 

Jesus asked the servants to bring empty jars and fill them with water. He then miraculously changed the water into wine! In this compassionate act of love, Jesus saved the day and began His public ministry. 

As Jesus’ mother, Mary showed trust in His power as her God and Savior. She showed her care for other people and their well-being. Mary’s faith in God and willingness to surrender to Him is evident in this story. 


Mary at the Cross of Jesus

Mary was present when Jesus was crucified. She was one of the women who stood at the cross. To watch the last few hours of her own Son was surely torture and painful for her as a mother. 

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We see that Jesus cared for Mary and her physical and emotional well-being. As He suffered through physical pain, the shame of all our sins upon Him, and agonizing separation from His Father, He paused to honor his mother. Jesus told Mary to view John as her son and told his disciple John to take Mary as his mother. Jesus made sure that his mother would be looked after.

Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son!

Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home.

John 19:25-27

We see that Mary did listen to her Savior and Son and stayed with the disciples. When the Holy Spirit came upon the disciples in the upper room and the early church began, she was present and faithful. 

These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren.

Acts 1:14

Who is Mary the Mother of Jesus to Us Today?

Mary’s story stands as an example and inspiration to us today. She was an ordinary young woman chosen for a remarkable purpose. She inspires us to know that our status and physical background don’t disqualify us from being chosen to do great things in God’s kingdom. 

She was not perfect though. While she had amazing faith in God, she was only a vessel used by God to be the mother of the Messiah. While she gave birth to the sinless Son of God, our Messiah, she herself was not sinless.

The Roman Catholics honor Mary with a prayer called the Hail Mary. But it’s important to remember that Mary was a sinner just like you and me. Mary readily admits that she needed a Saviour, too. And while God used her in a unique way, she is not to be worshipped. She is not deity.

And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.

Luke 1:47

Mary is a product of grace just like we are. She didn’t do anything to make the Lord favor her above all. Even today, we receive grace which is God’s unmerited favor to us. 

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

Not of works, lest any man should boast.

Ephesians 2:8-9

Learn More About the Story of Mary in the Bible

If you’d like to dive deeper into the story of Mary the mother of Jesus, you’ll want to check out this free Bible study resource! 

FREE! Bible Study on Mary the Mother of Jesus

Download these Mary the mother of Jesus Bible Study Questions for FREE! Included are 10 study questions and 5 reflection questions, along with the specific Bible passages to read her story.

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Resources to Learn More about Inspiring Bible Women

If you’d like to study the story and lives of other inspiring women of the Bible, you’ll want to check out this 30-day Bible reading plan and journal >> Inspiring Women of the Bible Study Journal – Digital & Printable!

Be sure to read more from our Women of the Bible Series!

Mary’s life teaches us to have a servant’s heart surrendered to the will of God and His purpose for our lives. She was open-minded and willing to obey and follow His instructions. She experienced the birth of a child through a miracle, and this grew her faith in God. 

Even in our daily life, we can look back at the miracles of God and His faithfulness and believe Him more, have confidence in Him, and trust in His wonderful power.

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