Mary Bible Study
The Mary's of the New Testament

Do you know how many women named Mary are mentioned in the New Testament?  Do a Mary Bible Study and you will find that there are three different Mary's who had a special connection to Jesus.  

Read the passage below.  In John 19, we are reading about the crucifixion of Christ.  As Christ hung on the cross, it is interesting to see who was there.

John 19.25-27:  "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. "

In the verses above, there are five individuals who are mentioned:  

  1. There was the mother of Jesus.  Her name was Mary.  
  2. There was the sister of Mary, the mother of Jesus.  We do not know her name.  
  3. There was a woman who is identified as Mary, the wife of Clopas.  
  4. There was Mary Magdalene.  
  5. Finally, there was the disciple whom Jesus loved, and we know him to be the apostle John. John never mentioned himself by name in his own writings.  

Here are five individuals near the cross of Jesus.  Three of them are named Mary.  Here are three women who were close to Jesus in His life and here are three women who were in close proximity to Jesus in His death.  Let's study the Bible in reference to three women named Mary.

1.  Mary the Mother of Jesus

We delve into this passage and engage in a Mary Bible Study, it is important to note that this woman is often described as the mother of Jesus.  However, she is never identified as the mother of God.   

There are those who like to elevate Mary to the place of deity.  They pray to Mary and make her the object of their worship.  The basis of this deification of Mary is that she is the mother Jesus Christ who is Himself deistic.

What we need to understand is that there is a difference between being a mother according to the flesh and being the one who begets deity.  Mary is the mother of Jesus according to the flesh.  However, Mary is not the one of begot or produced deity.  If we are going to attribute anyone to have produced or begotten deity it would be God, the Father.  (John 1.14).  


John 1,14:  "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. "

This is why you never find Mary referred to as the mother of God.  She is only referred to as the mother of Jesus.

When I study Mary in the Bible, I find that Mary, the mother of Jesus, stood near the cross of Christ.  In John 19.25, I read about Mary with her sister.  In verse 26 I read about Mary with the one who was the Lord’s closest friend, the apostle John.  

Is it possible that John and Mary’s sister were there in part to strengthen and support Mary?  Do you suppose that Mary was there with John on one side and her sister on the other side holding her up and helping her deal with an extremely difficult situation?  As I study Mary in the Bible, I find that John 19.25-27 does not contain a lot of details.  However, I cannot help but wonder as my mind forms a picture of this moment.  

We know from verse 25 that Mary stood near the cross.  Did she stand in a patch of sand that was stained by the blood of her Son?  I wonder if her face was covered with tears over the loss of her Son, over the injustice that had taken place, over the severe pain that no parent should see their    child endure.

This is the mother of Jesus, who had for Jesus a mother’s love.  Could she run to the cross and embrace Him one last time?  Could she invite Him to lay His head in her bosom and she comforted Him and chase away His fears?  This is a woman who was watching her Son endure a cruel death by those who hated Him.    

Look again at John 19.26:

John 19.26:  "When Jesus therefore saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing by, He said to His mother, 'Woman, behold your son!'"

Jesus and His mother Mary locked eyes, and in a message that was addressed directly to her, He said, “Women, behold your Son.”  As she beheld her Son on the cross, did she know who her son was?  Did she know that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of God?

  • Luke 1.30-35:  When the angel had come to her, he announced that she would have a Son.  The angel told her that this Son would be conceived of the Holy Spirit.  He would be called  Jesus, the Son of the Highest.  He would be called the Son of God.
  • Luke 2.8,9:  In these verses, we are reading about the Shepherds who came to see the Child.  August Caesar decreed that all be registered, so Joseph and Mary went to Bethlehem to be registered.  It was at this time that Mary had given birth.  She wrapped up her baby in swaddling clothes and placed him in a manger because there was no room at the inn (v. 7). 
  • Luke 2.10-14:  About this time, an angel appeared to Shepherds announcing the birth of Jesus.  In this announcement, the angels told the shepherds that there was good news and glad tidings.  This baby who was born was Christ the Lord.
  • Luke 2.15-18:  Upon hearing the announcement, the shepherds made their way to Bethlehem where they found Jesus in the manger.  Then they went out and told everybody about what they had heard from the angel -- that this is Jesus the Christ, the Savior.
  • Luke 2.19:  "Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart”  She made a mental note of what the shepherds were saying and gave some thought to it.
  • Luke 2.46-51:  When Jesus was with the teachers in the temple at the age of twelve and was astonishing them with His understanding and answers, Mary kept these things in her heart.  In other words, she made a mental note of it.  

Consider the above verse carefully.

  • The angel Gabriel told her that she would have a Son and He would be called Jesus,            the Son of the Most Highest.
  • After His birth, shepherds came and proclaimed Jesus to be the Savior, and she put that in her heart and pondered it.
  • When she found Jesus at twelve years of age astonishing the scholars of the temple, and He said that He must be about His Father’s business, she kept it in her heart.  

Now as she stood at the cross and looking at her Son being put to death.  Did she put the pieces together?  She knew exactly who Jesus was.  Mary knew that her Son was Jesus, the Christ, the Savior of the world.

2.  Mary the Wife of Clopas

Who is Mary, the wife of Clopas?  Study Mary in the Bible, and when we come to Matthew’s account, you have Mary Magdalene and others watching Jesus from afar.  Mary the mother of Jesus was not mentioned in Matthew's account because she was taken home by John according John 19.  So now these women who remained put some distance between themselves and the cross, and among them was Mary Magdalene and the other Mary.  This Mary is identified in Matthew as the mother of James and Joses.  (Matt. 27.55,56).

Matthew 27.55,56:  "And many women who followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering to Him, were there looking on from afar, among whom were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joses, and the mother of Zebedee's sons." 

If I were to go and read Mark's account, I would find this Mary described as the mother of James the less, and Joses  (Mark 15.40).  When I put together Matthew's account, Mark's account, and John's account, I learn that this Mary is married to Clopas.  They had two sons named James the less and Joses.

What was this Mary’s connection with Jesus?  Why was she there?  Here is a woman whose son had been forever changed because of Jesus.  Could you not say that about all the apostles?  Could you not say that about Peter the fisherman?  What about Matthew the tax collector?  Could it be said that Jesus changed their lives?  Mary’s son had been changed by Jesus.  It is hard to separate the feelings of a mother from her children.  Here is a mother standing at the cross of a dying Savior who change the life of her son.  You probably would not have even known this man had ever lived had not Jesus chosen him as one of His twelve.

Many of us have family who have been touched by Jesus.  There are husbands and wives in turmoil.  There are parents and children in friction.  There is only one reason why.  We can point to the symptoms such as a lack of communication.  We can point to problems such as relate to money.  Yet when you boil it down, there are problems in the home for only one reason.  Someone is not living their lives or acting in a way that is consistent with the teachings of Christ.  (Eph. 5.22,25; 6.1,3)

When everyone submits themselves to the commandments of Christ, Jesus will change your family and the lives of every member in it.  Jesus had an impact on the family of Mary the wife of Clopas.

3.  Mary Magdalene

Who is Mary Magdalene?  There has been much fiction written about Mary Magdalene.  There are stories that are made up describing her in all sorts of different ways.  There are stories saying that she did things she never did and said things that she never said.  

Luke 8.1,2:  "Now it came to pass, afterward, that He went through every city and village, preaching and bringing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God.  And the twelve were with Him, and certain women who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities — Mary called Magdalene, out of whom had come seven demons" 

Jesus, literally, changed her life.  This was a woman who did not just wrestle with a demon, but with seven demons.  She did not just have an infirmity, but she had infirmities.  This was a woman who was in bad shape and Jesus made her whole.

Jesus changed the family dynamic of Mary the wife of Clopas, and He changed the life of an individual named Mary Magdalene, and He can change your life as well. 

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