17-3-6 The Jesus-Mary Relationship
The Influence Of Mary
There must have been certain similarities of personality type between
the Lord and His mother. Thus in Lk. 2:33 Mary “marvelled”, and the same
word is used about Jesus in Mt. 8:10 and Mk. 6:6. The Lord at 12 years
old displayed such piercing knowledge and spirituality, but it seems He
returned to Nazareth and suppressed the expression of it (Lk. 2:51). This
is why the villagers were so amazed when He stood up in the Nazareth synagogue
and on the basis of OT exposition, indirectly declared Himself the Messiah.
He must have stored up so much knowledge and spirituality within Him,
but hid it from the eyes of men. This was quite an achievement- to be
perfect, and yet not to be noticed as somehow other-worldly. There is
tendency, it seems to me, for brethren particularly to insist on flaunting
their knowledge, to have to correct others who have inferior knowledge
or less mature interpretations (I do not refer to matters of the basic
Gospel). The Lord taught men the word “as they were able to hear it” (Mk.
4:33), not as He was able to expound it. If we ask where He obtained this
humility and ability from, it is clearly an inheritance from His dear
mother, who stored up things in her heart and didn’t reveal them to others,
just quietly meditating over the years. Both of them must have heard so
much that was wrong and immature over the years; but they said nothing,
in the Lord’s case, biding His time. It has been observed that it was
unusual for the villagers to describe Jesus as “the son of Mary” (Mk.
6:3)- even if Joseph were dead, He would have been known as Jesus-ben-Joseph.
It could well be that this was a reflection of their perception of how
closely linked Jesus was to His mother.
The influence of Mary upon Jesus is reflected in His many allusions to
her words, both conscious and unconscious.
Unconscious Allusions Of Jesus To Mary
Mary’s words of Lk. 1:47 “my spirit hath rejoiced” are alluded to by
Jesus unconsciously in Lk. 10:21 [the only time the Greek phrase "
spirit...rejoices” is used]. " In that hour Jesus rejoiced in spirit"
and thanked God that the humble not the wise had been chosen- showing
exactly the spirit of Mary's words of Lk. 1:52,53, the words she
had probably sung to Him around the house as a child. Unconsciously [?]
Jesus was alluding to Mary His mother's attitude. Such was the Jesus-Mary
relationship. Luke brings this out in his record in the connections he
makes. Mary had an influence even on the Son of God- quite some encouragement
to all parents and those who spend time with children as to the influence
The Lord had called His mother “Woman…” in Cana. She had also said and
later sung to Him perhaps: “Be it unto me according to thy word” (Lk.
1:38). In Mt. 15:28 we have the Lord addressing the Canaanite woman: “Woman….be
it unto thee even as thou wilt”. That woman restimulated memories of His
Conscious Allusions Of Jesus To Mary
When the Lord spoke of the Son of man having nowhere to lay His head
(Lk. 9:58), He surely had His mind upon how His dear mother had told Him
that when He was born, there was no place to lay Him, and His dear head
had to be laid in an animal’s feeding trough.
Mary’s praise that “He hath done to me great things” is surely behind
her Son’s words in Lk. 8:39, where He bids a man go home " and shew
how great things God hath done unto thee" .
Mary had felt that God had “Filled the hungry [i.e. their stomach, cp.
the womb of Mary] with the good thing [Gk.]”- Jesus (Lk. 1:53). He calls
Himself this good thing, using the very same Greek word in Mt. 20:15:
" I am the good one" ; Jn. 1:46; 7:12 [where the " good
thing" is Messiah]. Her perception of Him became His. And so with
us; if we perceive our children as future brethren, so, hopefully and
prayerfully, they will be. Jesus could have sinned; He could have failed.
But Mary right from His babyhood believed that He wouldn’t. She believed
in Him and in His succesful completion of His destiny from when she first
conceived Him. And surely this is a pattern for Christian mothers too.
Notice how some of the Lord’s very first words on opening His ministry
were “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness,
for they shall be filled”. It’s as if He stands up there before the hushed
crowd and lays down His manifesto with those words. This was the keynote
of what He had to say to humanity. He was saying ‘This, guys, is what
I essentially and most fundamentally seek to inspire in you’. And He saw
His dear mother as the epitome of the converts He was seeking to make.
I lay great store on this allusion. For it makes her truly our pattern.