22 Jan Shadows of Mother Mary in the Bible (transcript)
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This topic examines the scripture, for parallels and shadows on the life and role of Mother Mary, as given in the Bible, starting from the Old, right till the end of the New Testament.
It is to be well noted that some of the most powerful typologies about Mary, are from the book of Genesis, while the entire Bible itself, (Old and New Testament) contains many connections, in regard to Mary.
In a previous talk, I advised that if we fail to study the Old Testament, it will hinder us from understanding the New Testament. In fact, Jesus and His disciples were always reading the Old Testament, as the New Testament was not in existence, when either Jesus or His disciples started their ministry. They only had the Old Testament and the teachings of Jesus. We need to understand why our scriptures have the Old Testament and its connection with the New Testament.
There are also several evangelists and people who speak/preach against Mother Mary, who did nothing wrong to them. She has only done us good, by giving Jesus to us (being the mother of our Lord). Though some people degrade her importance, yet in general, humans tend to give importance to other mere human beings, like their own mothers and even those of some celebrities. Ironically, in contrast, Jesus’ mother is openly dishonored by many. Furthermore, after listening to certain preaching many people are influenced, to deny Mary and thereafter stop the rosary and all such devotions.
To begin with, I would like to make reference to Luke 11: 27, citing an event that took place, while some people were listening to Jesus’ preaching.
As Jesus was saying these things, a woman in the crowd called out, “Blessed is the mother who gave you birth and nursed you.”
This verse was something I was always struck by. When Jesus was preaching, a lady who was so thoroughly impressed by His teaching, went on to praise His mother, rather than Him!
What does this mean? That if anyone, was to truly absorb the teachings of Jesus, they would never think of degrading His mother, but respect and even praise her – exactly as it happened in this gospel account!
Now if you were to ever listen to a preaching, after which you felt like degrading Mary, then let this help you discern that, this preaching has not come from Jesus or the Spirit of Jesus.
The following typology on Mary, is taken from the Old Testament, Genesis 27:1-22.
When Isaac was old and his eyes were so weak that he could no longer see, he called for Esau his older son and said to him, “My son.” “Here I am,” he answered.
Isaac said, “I am now an old man and don’t know the day of my death. Now then, get your equipment—your quiver and bow—and go out to the open country to hunt some wild game for me. Prepare me the kind of tasty food I like and bring it to me to eat, so that I may give you my blessing before I die.”
Now Rebekah was listening as Isaac spoke to his son Esau. When Esau left for the open country to hunt game and bring it back, 6 Rebekah said to her son Jacob, “Look, I overheard your father say to your brother Esau, ‘Bring me some game and prepare me some tasty food to eat, so that I may give you my blessing in the presence of the Lord before I die.’ Now, my son, listen carefully and do what I tell you: Go out to the flock and bring me two choice young goats, so I can prepare some tasty food for your father, just the way he likes it. Then take it to your father to eat, so that he may give you his blessing before he dies.”
Jacob said to Rebekah his mother, “But my brother Esau is a hairy man while I have smooth skin. What if my father touches me? I would appear to be tricking him and would bring down a curse on myself rather than a blessing.”
His mother said to him, “My son, let the curse fall on me. Just do what I say; go and get them for me.” So he went and got them and brought them to his mother, and she prepared some tasty food, just the way his father liked it. Then Rebekah took the best clothes of Esau her older son, which she had in the house, and put them on her younger son Jacob. She also covered his hands and the smooth part of his neck with the goatskins. Then she handed to her son Jacob the tasty food and the bread she had made.
He went to his father and said, “My father.” “Yes, my son,” he answered. “Who is it?”
Jacob said to his father, “I am Esau your firstborn. I have done as you told me. Please sit up and eat some of my game, so that you may give me your blessing.” Isaac asked his son, “How did you find it so quickly, my son?” “The Lord your God gave me success,” he replied.
Then Isaac said to Jacob, “Come near so I can touch you, my son, to know whether you really are my son Esau or not.” Jacob went close to his father Isaac, who touched him and said, “The voice is the voice of Jacob, but the hands are the hands of Esau.” He did not recognize him, for his hands were hairy like those of his brother Esau; so he proceeded to bless him.
Why would Rebekkah dare to commit such an act? I always viewed this as an injustice, until I understood the meaning behind her action. While she may have had several reasons, she also realized Esau was of a different character.
Now to begin with, we need to understand that the people of the Old Testament, prepare the way for the work and people of the New Testament. As mentioned, there are several shadows of the Old Testament in the New Testament e.g. Abraham taking Isaac, to be sacrificed on Mount Moriah.
Abraham is the symbol of the Heavenly Father, Isaac symbolizes Jesus, the torch held by Abraham represents the Holy Spirit. Upon reaching Mount Moriah, Abraham placed Isaac in such a way as to slain him and offering him as a sacrifice to God. This is a representation of the crucifixion of Jesus, on M.Calvary. Yet at the last moment, a ram was provided in place of Isaac. This represents the lamb (Jesus) that was later sacrificed on Calvary. Parallels such as these are known as topologies, from the Old Testament.
Another typology exists in the persons of Issac, Jacob, Rebekah and Esau. Isaac symbolizes the Heavenly Father, Esau symbolizes Jesus (the firstborn son of the Father), Jacob symbolizes all of us (the new Israel – who were unfit to receive the blessing of the Father) and Rebekah is the prefiguration of Mother Mary.
Rebekah had a role to help us attain the blessings and protection, though we were unworthy. She clothed Jacob (us – the new Israel) with the best garment of Esau (which she pulled out). Thereafter, she presented the new Israel, to the Heavenly Father, that we may receive His blessings.
This is how we/Jacob came to receive these blessings. Therefore, in parallel, Rebekah played the role of Mother Mary, remembering the rest of us, as we are the second children of Mary.
Revelation 12:17 – Then the dragon was enraged at the woman and went off to wage war against the rest of her offspring—those who keep God’s commands and hold fast their testimony about Jesus
Upon studying Mary’s life, it dawned on me that what Rebekkah did more than 1000 years ago, is exactly what Mary did because she has two children; Jesus, her firstborn son and the second, is the rest of mankind.
Adding to this, we know that when Jesus went to His crucifixion, she refused to beg and plead before any soldier, to prevent His execution. Though she could given excuses of Him being out of His mind and that she would ensure He never preached again, but she did not. Nor did she stop them beating and crucifying His hands and feet.
She was deliberately silent (though crying aloud from within) and the reason is that she understood the need for her firstborn to be sacrificed, so that her second born (the new Israel/humanity) could be saved. Mary’s act was to accomplish covering and clothing us with Jesus’ garments and win the Heavenly Father’s blessings. In parallel, we note that Rebekkah kept silent as well, to win the protection, blessing and healing for her second son.
The importance of this event, reflects the greatness of Rebekkah, who prefigures Our Lady.
This article seeks to cite and explain more examples from the Bible about parallels existing between the Old and New Testament.
Comparing Genesis, the first book of the Bible and Revelations, the last book, at the start of Genesis, we come across three important characters, Adam, Eve and the serpent. Revelations also covers three characters, Jesus Christ (the new Adam), Mary (the new Eve) and the serpent.
In accordance with the Bible, if the same characters present in the very beginning are also present at the end, it means that they have always been present right from the beginning all the way to the end!
This third example of Mary is from the Gospel of John. At the very beginning of his gospel, Mary is mentioned and likewise at the end i.e. the crucifixion. As explained above, this specifically means that, when Jesus started with His ministry, Mother Mary was present and being present at the conclusion of His ministry, implies her continuous presence throughout His ministry.
Now in the Old Testament, the woman i.e. Eve, invited Adam to commit sin, while in the New Testament (John’s Gospel), the New Eve, Mary, invited Jesus to start His ministry (though at that point He was not yet prepared to start). This implied that as Eve invited Adam to sin, the second or the new Eve invites the new Adam to being His work of salvation (from sin).
How so? She explained to Him, that there was no wine and that He should help. In both the Old and New Testament, wine signifies grace. Jesus’ own mother appealed to Him (for the entire humanity), that all of us have fallen short of grace and thus she successful in persuading Him to immediately start His public ministry.
From the above explanation, we know that Mary was continuously present throughout His ministry. Yet we will now delve to understand that besides being directly present, she was also present in indirect ways – through Jesus’s own reflections about His mother, that drove forth His actions.
The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.
But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.
At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there.
A woman was caught in the act of adultery, which she could have of course not committed without a man. Per Moses’ law, if a person committed adultery, both man and woman were to be punished/stoned.
In this passage however, we find crooked people, who were teaming to find errors in the teachings of Jesus. The proof was that they only brought the woman and not the man to Jesus – thus also making a public spectacle of her. The second proof was that they purposely misquoted scripture, for which Jesus perceived their wicked intentions. The Law clearly demands that both man and woman be stoned, but they twisted it to say that Moses commanded that the woman be stoned. Yet while Jesus bent down, to write on the ground, His thoughts would have most probably gone to His own mother.
Years ago, His own mother faced a similar experience, when she was pregnant, betrothed but yet unmarried. She too should have been stoned as per Moses’ law. Nobody would have ever given heed to conception and pregnancy through the Holy Spirit; it was something unfamiliar and no one could understand this, even if she had to declare it.
Yet, Joseph, a righteous man, was sent at the precise moment. Intervening through him, God protected Mary and thus Jesus was born.
Of course Jesus knew about this and how His righteous foster father protected her. He realized that He too was called to this hour, to protect the accused woman, brought before Him. So when He finally spoke up, everybody was silenced and left.
Here too, in essence we find the strong presence of Mary, at work in His reflections that brought about salvation to the accused woman.
Jesus Raises a Widow’s Son (Luke 7:11-15)
Soon afterward, Jesus went to a town called Nain, and his disciples and a large crowd went along with him. As he approached the town gate, a dead person was being carried out—the only son of his mother, and she was a widow. And a large crowd from the town was with her. When the Lord saw her, his heart went out to her and he said, “Don’t cry.”
Then he went up and touched the bier they were carrying him on, and the bearers stood still. He said, “Young man, I say to you, get up!” The dead man sat up and began to talk, and Jesus gave him back to his mother.
What is unique here is that, never had the Gospels recorded any visitations of Jesus to Nain, except this one time, when “coincidentally” there was a grieved widowed mother with an only son, who passed away and she was following his funeral procession.
Why did Jesus suddenly come to this town? He knew she was alone now with nobody to support her and He remembered His own widowed mother with only one son – Him, and that one day He too would die (be killed). Sensing the pain of His own mother, who would be lonely and weeping, nonetheless it would be Him alone, who would console her, when He was raised from the dead.
In parallel and therefore, the only son of this widow, was also raised from the dead by Jesus who handed him to his mother to console her.
While the Gospels record several miracles of Jesus, this particular one was mentioned because, in the depth of His heart, the thought and love for His mother, caused Him to go the extra mile and do what He did for the widow. Because Jesus had compassion for His own mother, His compassion flowed to the widow as He told her not to weep.
With the recent COVID-19 crisis, there are several nurses taking care COVID patients, risking their lives, while not even having adequate protection. Some of them explained that they saw their own family members (such as their father) in the person of the patient. This is why they cannot stop what they are doing, in a desire to save these patients.
If humans feel this way, how much more Jesus, when raising that son, in order to console his mother. Knowing too that when crucified on Mount Calvary, He would not have the opportunity to console to His mother because He was being tortured, as such, he would have done so, in advance, through this incident and such incidents.
But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a few cents. Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.”
This is another passage that reveals the enshrouded presence of Mary. The incident is centered on a poor widow who possesses only two coins to her name and has nothing else to live on. Unhesitatingly she gave what she owned to God, but by doing so, she actually surrendered everything of herself to Him.
This may have reminded Jesus once again of His widowed mother, whose only support for her livelihood was her one son. Nonetheless, when He was 30, she too willingly offered Him completely to the work and service of God. For after Jesus left his home, He never returned to live there as before. Being lost in His work of preaching, He always lodged in different places, sometimes even sleeping in the outdoors! Like the widow, Mary too, completely surrendered all that she had (her only Son) to God. This sacrifice was known to Jesus and in appreciating the widow with the two coins, He deeply appreciated His own dear mother.
In light of these examples, one can note several connections in the Bible and parallels, with one of the most important figures – Mary. And these are the reasons, Mary is present from the very beginning till the end.
A Mother’s Request (Matthew 20:20-21)
Then the mother of Zebedee’s sons came to Jesus with her sons and, kneeling down, asked a favor of him. “What is it you want?” he asked. She said, “Grant that one of these two sons of mine may sit at your right and the other at your left in your kingdom.”
Jesus had twelve disciples but why did He choose to entrust his mother to John. While we do not know much about the mothers of all disciples, we assume that they may have definitely had their own mothers or some may have passed on. Specifically however, the verse above does mention the mother of two apostles i.e. the sons of Zebedee.
From this citing, it appears that the mother of these two apostles, was definitely a good mother, as both her children were willing to be schooled in the seminary of Jesus and become future priests. Nevertheless, the verse also touches upon negative behavior on the part of the mother, hinting that none of them had great characters. As a mum, she may have been able to influence her children to become Jesus’ disciples, but she was unable to ensure they would be good disciples. How do we know this?
The passage below is an insight into the character of John and James, even though we know that John’s Gospel is called the gospel of love. It is true that Jesus loved him very much, but there was a reason for this; John was quite notorious and seemed to be an angry young man. Far from being compassionate or merciful, his thoughts were modeled on that of a modern day terrorist.
And he sent messengers on ahead, who went into a Samaritan village to get things ready for him; but the people there did not welcome him, because he was heading for Jerusalem. When the disciples James and John saw this, they asked, “Lord, do you want us to call fire down from heaven to destroy them?” But Jesus turned and rebuked them.
We note how James and John desired to call down fire upon the entire village, that rejected Jesus. In fact their plans of destruction, seem to be far worse than terrorists (who have limited their destruction to blowing up occupied buildings), but these apostles wanted to wipe out an entire village! And thereafter it was their own mother requesting Jesus to give them great places of honour with Him.
In doing so, she made it obvious to Him, that both she and her children, share the same nature.
In response, when Jesus was breathing His last on Calvary and in order to save both apostles, He decided it necessary to present Mary to John, as his mother.
Even though we know (through scripture), that out of all the apostles, it was James and John who had their mother with them, but she seemed selfish. She desired all benefits for her children alone, being unconcerned about the other apostles and sought the best places for her sons.
In contrast, Mary differed greatly and showed her unique specialty. Though she had only one son, she offered Him for all mankind, allowing Him to be sacrificed on Mount Calvary.
Jesus knew that if anybody was to mime the way He was brought up, they need His mother to literally live with them. This is why Jesus gave Mary to John on Good Friday.
The change in John: The Resurrection of Jesus – (John 20:2-8)
So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple (John), the one Jesus loved, and said, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!”
So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb. Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in. Then Simon Peter came along behind him and went straight into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, as well as the cloth that had been wrapped around Jesus’ head. The cloth was still lying in its place, separate from the linen. Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed
Since we are aware that John had a hard nature, Jesus gave him the most love, in order to convert him. It is only in this way, that someone can be ultimately converted.
Now referring to John 20:2-8, we note that John did not go first into the tomb, though he reached before Peter.
Strangely, only after three days (i.e. since Good Friday) that the Blessed Virgin started to live in John’s house, he already had a changed nature. He no longer desired to be first, unlike before. In fact, he preferred to follow Peter. This great conversion occurred, through the presence of Mary, no sooner did she start to live in his home.
Speaking from myself, my mother was successful in convincing me to become a priest, but it is Mother Mary, who can influence my heart to become like that of her Son’s.
A message to every mother: Though you may be able to convince your child to become a priest, bishop or a powerful person, but if you wish for them to imitate Jesus, you need to welcome Mary into your home. To achieve this, ensure reciting the daily rosary, teach your children about the importance of Mother Mary and how to love her.
A final reflection:
At the beginning of Jesus’s public ministry, Mother Mary advised people to do what Jesus requested. At the end of His ministry, He instructs people to listen to Mary by taking her as their own mother.
Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for the gift of Mother Mary in our lives. Help us to love her more than we love others, so that as we hold on to her, she will lead us to You.