What Do We Know about Mary?

Matthew Henry

We have in Luke 2:26 an account given of the mother of our Lord, of whom He was to be born. Her name was Mary, the same name as Miriam, the sister of Moses and Aaron. Her name signifies being exalted, and a great elevation it was to her indeed to be favored above all the daughters of the house of David.

She was a daughter of the royal family, descended from David, and she herself and all her friends knew it, even though she was poor and low in the world. She was enabled by God’s providence, and the care of the Jews, to preserve their genealogies. She was a virgin, a pure unspotted one, but espoused to one of the same royal stock - like her, however, of low estate; so that upon both accounts there was an equality between them.

Christ’s mother was a virgin because He was not to be born by ordinary means, but miraculously. It was necessary that he should be so that though He had the nature of man, He had none of the corruption of that nature.

She lived in Nazareth, a city of Galilee, a remote corner of the country, and with no reputation for religion or learning. The city bordered upon non-Jewish lands and therefore was called Galilee of the Gentiles. Christ’s living there suggests the grace coming for the Gentile world.

The angel was sent to Mary of Nazareth. Note that no distance or disadvantage of place shall be a prejudice to those for whom God has favors in store. The angel Gabriel carries his message as cheerfully to Mary and Nazareth in Galilee as to Zacharias in the temple at Jerusalem.

Adapted from Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible (Luke 2).

Originally published July 20, 2010.

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