Sunday, May 22, 2022

The Fifth Woman of the Genealogy—Mary, the Mother of Jesus

By Sherri Stewart

Of the five women mentioned in Matthew’s genealogy, Mary is the most familiar to us and the most divisive—not of her own doing but because of all the legends that have been added to her story. We look to the Bible to find the truth and humbly realize we don’t know everything about this wonderful woman. Here are seven things that may surprise you.

One, Mary was a very brave woman. When the angel announced that she would give birth to the Messiah, “Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.” Mary was only a teenager, but she would have realized the import of her words. Although she was engaged to Joseph, they were not married, and she would have known the penalty for a pregnancy out of wedlock. 

Deut. 22:23,24 says, “If a damsel that is a virgin be betrothed unto an husband, and a man find her in the city, and lie with her; Then ye shall bring them both out unto the gate of that city, and ye shall stone them with stones that they die; the damsel, because she cried not, being in the city; and the man, because he hath humbled his neighbour's wife: so thou shalt put away evil from among you.” This fourteen-year-old would have known that not only was she facing a divorce from Joseph—betrothal had the same legal standing as a marriage—she would also face a violent death and incredible shame for herself and for her family. 

Two, Joseph couldn’t have been Jesus’s father. Both Mary and Joseph were descendants of David, but their lines took different paths with David’s children—Mary was the descendant of Nathan (Luke 3), and Joseph was the descendant of Solomon (Matt 1). The key difference comes a few generations later with a king named Jeconiah, who is in Joseph’s lineage. He was such an evil king that Jeremiah 22:30 says, “Thus saith the Lord, Write ye this man childless, a man that shall not prosper in his days: for no man of his seed shall prosper, sitting upon the throne of David, and ruling any more in Judah.” Since the Messiah is a prophet, priest, and a king, Jesus could not come from a parent with Jeconiah as a forefather.

Three, Mary did not give birth in a stable because there was no room in the inn. Luke 2:7 says, “And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.” The problem is with the Greek word for inn, which is Kataluma. The word means ‘guestroom,’ or an upper room of a house. The bottom level of the house was where families kept their animals so they’d be safe from the elements and thieves. Many relatives had traveled to Bethlehem for the census, so they’d stay with family, which was why there were no guestrooms. Nazareth only had a few hundred residents, so there was likely no inn anyway. 

Four, Mary was a primary source for the gospels, especially for Luke. Who else would know about the angel Gabriel meeting with her? Who else would know about John the Baptist jumping in his mother’s womb? Who else would know how she felt when Jesus went missing in Jerusalem for three days at the age of twelve? Luke 4:28 says, 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.” The word ‘sorrowing’ in Greek is odunao, which means ‘in torment.’ Only Mary would have known how much torment she felt. 


Five, Mary had many children. Of course, not everyone agrees with this. Some believe she was perpetually a virgin, and that the children she raised were not hers but stepchildren from Joseph’s previous marriage to a woman who had died. The children are named in Mark 6:3 when a resident of Nazareth said after listening to Jesus teach at the synagogue, “Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joses, and of Juda, and Simon? and are not his sisters here with us? And they were offended at him.” 


Six, Mary may have had doubts during Jesus’s ministry. Like all Jews, she would have known the about the Messiah coming to save Israel from the domination of the Romans. Although according to Luke 2:19, “Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart,” she watched as Jesus was reviled by the Pharisees and the Nazarenes who wanted to throw him off a cliff. Her children also pressured her to believe like they did that he was out of his mind (Mark3:20,21 and 31-33). In response, Jesus said, “Who are my mother and my brothers?” he asked. Then he looked at those seated in a circle around him and said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother.”

Seven, Mary risked her life at Jesus’s crucifixion. All the disciples except for John had fled and were not present at Golgotha. None of Mary’s other children were there, yet Mary’s love for her son would not allow her to miss being with her son. John 19:26,27 says, “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.”

Mary’s song epitomizes this most awesome woman. “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant.”


Sherri Stewart loves a clean novel, sprinkled with romance and a strong message that challenges her faith. She spends her working hours with books—either editing others’ manuscripts or writing her own. Her passion is traveling to the settings of her books and sampling the food. She loves the Netherlands, and she’s still learning Dutch, although she doesn’t need to since everyone speaks perfect English. A recent widow, Sherri lives in Orlando with her lazy dog, Lily. She shares recipes, tidbits of the book’s locations, and pix in her newsletter. Subscribe at

A Song for Her Enemies

After Nazi soldiers close the opera and destroy Tamar Kaplan’s dream of becoming a professional singer, she joins the Dutch Resistance, her fair coloring concealing her Jewish heritage. Tamar partners with Dr. Daniel Feldman, and they risk their lives to help escaping refugees. When they are forced to flee themselves, violinist Neelie Visser takes them into hiding.

Tamar’s love for Daniel flowers in hardship, but she struggles with the paradox that a loving God would allow the atrocities around her. When Tamar resists the advances of a Third Reich officer, he exacts his revenge by betraying the secrets hidden behind the walls of Neelie’s house. From a prison hospital to a Nazi celebration to a concentration camp, will the three of them survive to tell the world the secrets behind barbed wire?




  1. Thanks for posting. This was very interesting! There's always so much more to know.

  2. Hi Sherri, I enjoyed reading more about Mary!

  3. An interesting post. Thank you for sharing, Sherri!