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17. Mary, mother of Jesus
17-1 Mary: Our Representative || 17-2 Mary’s Character: 17-2-1 The Loneliness Of Mary || 17-2-2 The Spiritual Ambition Of Mary || 17-2-3 Hannah And Mary || 17-2-4 A Bible Mind: Mary And The Magnificat || 17-2-5 The Faith Of Mary || 17-2-6 Mary And The Virgin Of Isaiah 7 || 17-2-7 The Humility Of Mary || 17-3 Mary In Crisis: 17-3-1 Mary’s Crisis Of Faith || 17-3-2 Mary And Jesus In The Temple || 17-3-3 Mary At Cana || 17-3-4 Mary And Her Other Children || 17-3-5 Mary In Mid-Life Crisis || 17-3-6 The Jesus-Mary Relationship || 17-4 Mary’s Victory: 17-4-1 Mary At The Cross || 17-4-2 The Influence Of Mary || 17-4-3 The Psychological Matrix Of Jesus

17-2-3 Hannah And Mary

Hannah’s example not only influenced Mary, but also Anna. ‘Anna’ is an unusual first century name; “of the 247 Jewish women in Palestine from the period 330 BCE -  200 CE whose names are known, Anna [in Luke 2] is the only one who bears this name” (Tal Ilan, ‘Notes of the distribution of Jewish women’s names in Palestine’, Journal of Jewish Studies Vol. 40 (1989) pp. 186,193). She therefore named herself this after Hannah, the Hebrew equivalent of Anna; she was inspired by Hannah’s example of waiting and praying in the sanctuary for a child. For Anna, the coming of Messiah was equivalent to having her own child. Her hope for Messiah’s coming was something which she felt personally. We too are awaiting the Lord’s coming- but with anything of her intensity and feeling? She looked for redemption to appear in Jerusalem (Lk. 2:25,38), clearly alluding to the LXX of Is. 52:9: “The Lord has comforted his people, he has redeemed Jerusalem”. She saw the coming of that little baby as the redemption of God’s people; she had the faith to see things yet unseen. The Hebrew for ‘redemption’ can imply ‘with blood’- is it going too far to suggest that she perceived the need for that little baby to grow up and then shed His blood for Israel’s redemption? Her father’s name, Phanuel, is the Hebrew ‘Peniel’, meaning ‘the face of God’. And ‘Hannah’ means ‘God’s grace’. Straight away we see a link to Num. 6:25: “The Lord make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious unto you”. The connection implies God’s passionate joy at her attitude and existence. Her remaining in the temple was perhaps inspired by passages like Ps. 27:4, where David spoke of his desire to dwell in the temple all the days of his life in order to see God’s beauty- which she understood in terms of His Son. And especially, Mal. 3:1, which speaks of the Lord’s coming to His temple. We must ask ourselves what our Bible study and knowledge actually leads to. A study of Romans 6 may lead to baptism; but all God’s word demands of us an actual and concrete response in the things of real life. She allowed the example of another woman, Hannah, to influence her, perhaps even to the point of changing her name; what of us?