Daughters of God


Mary, the Mother of Jesus

Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John

When the Majesty of heaven became a babe and was entrusted to Mary, she did not have much to offer for the precious gift. She brought to the altar only two turtledoves, the offering appointed for the poor; but they were an acceptable sacrifice to the Lord. She could not present rare treasures such as the wise men of the East came to Bethlehem to lay before the Son of God; yet the mother of Jesus was not rejected because of the smallness of her gift. It was the willingness of her heart that the Lord looked upon, and her love made the offering sweet. So God will accept our gift, however small, if it is the best we have, and is offered from love to Him.—The Review and Herald, December 9, 1890. DG 50.1

The priest went through the ceremony of his official work. He took the child in his arms, and held it up before the altar. After handing it back to its mother, he inscribed the name “Jesus” on the roll of the firstborn. Little did he think, as the babe lay in his arms, that it was the Majesty of heaven, the King of glory. The priest did not think that this babe was the One of whom Moses had written, “A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you.” Acts 3:22. He did not think that this babe was He whose glory Moses had asked to see. But One greater than Moses lay in the priest's arms; and when he enrolled the child's name, he was enrolling the name of One who was the foundation of the whole Jewish economy.—The Desire of Ages, 52 (1898). DG 50.2

[From the first] Mary looked forward to the Messiah's reign on David's throne, but she saw not the baptism of suffering by which it must be won. Through Simeon [at Christ's dedication as a baby in the temple] it is revealed that the Messiah is to have no unobstructed passage through the world. In the words to Mary, “A sword shall pierce through thy own soul also,” God in His tender mercy gives to the mother of Jesus an intimation of the anguish that already for His sake she had begun to bear.—The Desire of Ages, 56 (1898). DG 50.3

The child Jesus did not receive instruction in the synagogue schools. His mother was His first human teacher. From her lips and from the scrolls of the prophets, He learned of heavenly things. The very words which He Himself had spoken to Moses for Israel He was now taught at His mother's knee. As He advanced from childhood to youth, He did not seek the schools of the rabbis. He needed not the education to be obtained from such sources; for God was His instructor.—The Desire of Ages, 70 (1898). DG 50.4

Among the Jews the twelfth year was the dividing line between childhood and youth. On completing this year a Hebrew boy was called a son of the law, and also a son of God. He was given special opportunities for religious instruction, and was expected to participate in the sacred feasts and observances. It was in accordance with this custom that Jesus in His boyhood made the Passover visit to Jerusalem. Like all devout Israelites, Joseph and Mary went up every year to attend the Passover; and when Jesus had reached the required age, they took Him with them.—The Desire of Ages, 75 (1898). DG 51.1

For the first time the child Jesus looked upon the temple. He saw the white-robed priests performing their solemn ministry. He beheld the bleeding victim upon the altar of sacrifice. With the worshipers He bowed in prayer, while the cloud of incense ascended before God. He witnessed the impressive rites of the paschal service. Day by day He saw their meaning more clearly. Every act seemed to be bound up with His own life. New impulses were awakening within Him. Silent and absorbed, He seemed to be studying out a great problem. The mystery of His mission was opening to the Saviour. DG 51.2

Rapt in the contemplation of these scenes, He did not remain beside His parents. He sought to be alone. When the paschal services were ended, He still lingered in the temple courts; and when the worshipers departed from Jerusalem, He was left behind. DG 51.3

In this visit to Jerusalem, the parents of Jesus wished to bring Him in connection with the great teachers in Israel.... An apartment connected with the temple was devoted to a sacred school, after the manner of the schools of the prophets. Here leading rabbis with their pupils assembled, and hither the child Jesus came. Seating Himself at the feet of these grave, learned men, He listened to their instruction.—The Desire of Ages, 78 (1898). DG 51.4

The wise men were surprised at the questions that the child Jesus asked. They wanted to encourage Him in studying the Bible, and they wanted to see how much He knew about the prophecies. This is why they asked Him so many questions. Joseph and Mary were as much surprised at the wise answers of their son as were the wise men themselves. When there was a pause, Mary, the mother of Jesus, came up to her son, and asked, “Son, why hast thou thus dealt with us? Behold, thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing.” Then a divine light shone from Jesus’ face, as He lifted His hand and said, “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.” They did not know what He really meant by these words, but they knew He was a true son, who would be submissive to their commands. Though He was the Son of God, He went down to Nazareth and was subject to His parents. Though His mother did not understand the meaning of His words, she did not forget them, but “kept all these sayings in her heart.”—The Youth's Instructor, November 28, 1895. DG 51.5

As Joseph and Mary should return from Jerusalem alone with Jesus, He hoped to direct their minds to the prophecies of the suffering Saviour. Upon Calvary He sought to lighten His mother's grief. He was thinking of her now. Mary was to witness His last agony, and Jesus desired her to understand His mission, that she might be strengthened to endure, when the sword should pierce through her soul. As Jesus had been separated from her, and she had sought Him sorrowing three days, so when He should be offered up for the sins of the world, He would again be lost to her for three days. And as He should come forth from the tomb, her sorrow would again be turned to joy. But how much better she could have borne the anguish of His death if she had understood the Scriptures to which He was now trying to turn her thoughts!—The Desire of Ages, 82 (1898). DG 52.1

For twelve years of His life He had walked the streets of Nazareth, and worked with Joseph at his trade, carefully performing the duties that devolved upon a son. Hitherto He had not given indications of His peculiar character, or made manifest the nature of His mission to earth as the Son of God. But upon this occasion He made known to His parents the fact that He had a higher, holier mission to perform than they thought, for He had a work to do which had been committed to Him by His heavenly Father. Mary knew that Jesus had disclaimed relationship to Joseph, and claimed His sonship to the Eternal. She was perplexed; she did not fully comprehend the meaning of the words herself when He referred to His mission. She questioned in her mind as to whether anyone had told Jesus that Joseph was not His true father, but that God was His Father. Mary pondered these things in her heart.—The Youth's Instructor, July 13, 1893. DG 52.2

Mary believed in her heart that the holy child born of her was the long-promised Messiah, yet she dared not express her faith. Throughout His life on earth she was a partaker in His sufferings. She witnessed with sorrow the trials brought upon Him in His childhood and youth. By her vindication of what she knew to be right in His conduct, she herself was brought into trying positions. She looked upon the associations of the home, and the mother's tender watchcare over her children, as of vital importance in the formation of character. The sons and daughters of Joseph knew this, and by appealing to her anxiety, they tried to correct the practices of Jesus according to their standard.—The Desire of Ages, 90 (1898). DG 53.1

The life of Christ was marked with respect, devotion, and love for His mother. She often remonstrated with Him, and sought to have Him concede to the wishes of His brethren. His brethren could not persuade Him to change His habits of life in contemplating the works of God, in manifesting sympathy and tenderness toward the poor, the suffering, and the unfortunate, and in seeking to alleviate the sufferings of both men and dumb animals. When the priests and rulers came to Mary to persuade her to force Jesus to give allegiance to their ceremonies and traditions, she felt much troubled. But peace and confidence came to her troubled heart as her Son presented the clear statements of the Scriptures in upholding His practices.—The Signs of the Times, August 6, 1896. DG 53.2

From the day when she heard the angel's announcement in the home at Nazareth, Mary had treasured every evidence that Jesus was the Messiah. His sweet, unselfish life assured her that He could be no other than the Sent of God. Yet there came to her also doubts and disappointments, and she had longed for the time when His glory should be revealed. Death had separated her from Joseph, who had shared her knowledge of the mystery of the birth of Jesus. Now there was no one to whom she could confide her hopes and fears. The past two months had been very sorrowful. She had been parted from Jesus, in whose sympathy she found comfort; she pondered upon the words of Simeon, “A sword shall pierce through thy own soul also” (Luke 2:35); she recalled the three days of agony when she thought Jesus lost to her forever; and with an anxious heart she awaited His return.—The Desire of Ages, 145 (1898). DG 53.3

The widowed mother had mourned over the sufferings that Jesus had endured in His loneliness. His Messiahship had caused her deep sorrow as well as joy. Yet strangely, as it appears to her, she meets Him at the marriage feast, the same tender, dutiful son, yet not the same, for His countenance is changed; she sees the marks of His fierce conflict in the wilderness of temptation, and the evidence of His high mission in His holy expression and the gentle dignity of His presence. She sees that He is accompanied by a number of young men who address Him with reverence, calling Him Master. These companions tell Mary of the wonderful things they have witnessed, not only at the baptism, but upon numerous other occasions, and they conclude by saying, “We have found Him of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write, Jesus of Nazareth, who is the long-looked-for Messiah.”—The Spirit of Prophecy 2:100 (1877). DG 54.1

Mary had heard of the manifestation at the Jordan, at His baptism. The tidings had been carried to Nazareth, and had brought to her mind afresh the scenes that for so many years had been hidden in her heart. In common with all Israel, Mary was deeply stirred by the mission of John the Baptist. Well she remembered the prophecy given at his birth. Now his connection with Jesus kindled her hopes anew. But tidings had reached her also of the mysterious departure of Jesus to the wilderness, and she was oppressed with troubled forebodings.... DG 54.2

As the guests assemble, many seem to be preoccupied with some topic of absorbing interest. A suppressed excitement pervades the company. Little groups converse together in eager but quiet tones, and wondering glances are turned upon the Son of Mary. As Mary had heard the disciples’ testimony in regard to Jesus, she had been gladdened with the assurance that her long-cherished hopes were not in vain. Yet she would have been more than human if there had not mingled with this holy joy a trace of the fond mother's natural pride. As she saw the many glances bent upon Jesus, she longed to have Him prove to the company that He was really the Honored of God. She hoped there might be opportunity for Him to work a miracle before them.—The Desire of Ages, 144, 145 (1898). DG 54.3

But though Mary had not a right conception of Christ's mission, she trusted Him implicitly. To this faith Jesus responded. It was to honor Mary's trust, and to strengthen the faith of His disciples, that the first miracle was performed. The disciples were to encounter many and great temptations to unbelief. To them the prophecies had made it clear beyond all controversy that Jesus was the Messiah. They looked for the religious leaders to receive Him with confidence even greater than their own. They declared among the people the wonderful works of Christ and their own confidence in His mission, but they were amazed and bitterly disappointed by the unbelief, the deep-seated prejudice, and the enmity to Jesus, displayed by the priests and rabbis. The Saviour's early miracles strengthened the disciples to stand against this opposition.—The Desire of Ages, 147 (1898). DG 55.1

It was the custom of the times for marriage festivities to continue several days. On this occasion, before the feast ended it was found that the supply of wine had failed. This discovery caused much perplexity and regret. It was unusual to dispense with wine on festive occasions, and its absence would seem to indicate a want of hospitality. As a relative of the parties, Mary had assisted in the arrangements for the feast, and she now spoke to Jesus, saying, “They have no wine.” These words were a suggestion that He might supply their need. But Jesus answered, “Woman, what have I to do with thee? mine hour is not yet come.”—The Desire of Ages, 145 (1898). DG 55.2

In nowise disconcerted by the words of Jesus, Mary said to those serving at table, “Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it.” Thus she did what she could to prepare the way for the work of Christ.—The Desire of Ages, 148 (1898). DG 55.3

[“After this he went down to Capernaum, he, and his mother, and his brethren, and his disciples: and they continued there not many days. And the Jews’ passover was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.”—John 2:12, 13. DG 55.4

[“There came then his brethren and his mother, and, standing without, sent unto him, calling him. And the multitude sat about him, and they said unto him, Behold, thy mother and thy brethren without seek for thee.”—Mark 3:31, 32.] DG 56.1


It is not clear from the scriptures or from the Spirit of Prophecy writings how often, or whether, Mary saw Jesus again before his crucifixion. DG 56.2

“And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified Him.”... A vast multitude followed Jesus from the judgment hall to Calvary. The news of His condemnation had spread throughout Jerusalem.... DG 56.3

Arriving at the place of execution, the prisoners were bound to the instruments of torture.... The mother of Jesus, supported by John the beloved disciple, had followed the steps of her Son to Calvary. She had seen Him fainting under the burden of the cross, and had longed to place a supporting hand beneath His wounded head, and to bathe that brow which had once been pillowed upon her bosom. But she was not permitted this mournful privilege.... Her heart would sink as she recalled the words in which He had foretold the very scenes that were then taking place.... Must she give up her faith that Jesus was the Messiah? Must she witness His shame and sorrow, without even the privilege of ministering to Him in His distress? She saw His hands stretched upon the cross; the hammer and the nails were brought, and as the spikes were driven through the tender flesh, the heart-stricken disciples bore away from the cruel scene the fainting form of the mother of Jesus.—The Desire of Ages, 741-744 (1898). DG 56.4

[In His suffering] the eyes of Jesus wandered over the multitude that had collected together to witness His death, and He saw at the foot of the cross John supporting Mary, the mother of Christ. She had returned to the terrible scene, not being able to longer remain away from her Son. The last lesson of Jesus was one of filial love. He looked upon the grief-stricken face of His mother, and then upon John; said He, addressing the former: “Woman, behold thy son!” Then, to the disciple: “Behold thy mother!” John well understood the words of Jesus, and the sacred trust which was committed to him. He immediately removed the mother of Christ from the fearful scene of Calvary. From that hour he cared for her as would a dutiful son, taking her to his own home. Oh, pitiful, loving Saviour! Amid all His physical pain, and mental anguish, He had a tender, thoughtful care for the mother who had borne Him. He had no money to leave her, by which to insure her future comfort, but He was enshrined in the heart of John, and He gave His mother unto the beloved disciple as a sacred legacy. This trust was to prove a great blessing to John, a constant reminder of His beloved Master.—The Spirit of Prophecy 3:160, 161 (1878). DG 56.5