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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.