Was Mary an eternal virgin?
Mary is a woman revered for bravery and admired for her devotion to God. She traversed a challenging path, but she knew the cost of her submission. The virgin birth of Jesus disregarded scientific logic, and believers recognized her as the mother of Jesus. However, we don’t know much about the details of Mary’s life.
God chose Mary for what is possibly the most critical job in history: bringing Jesus Christ into the world to rescue us from our sins. She was the most unlikely choice, which makes her story even more fascinating. Luke 1:35 tells us the story of how the angel Gabriel visited Mary to share the news of God’s plan. She would have a baby, even though she wasn’t married yet. When Gabriel saw Mary, Joseph had already asked her to be his wife. However, the two would soon start a life-changing journey. There’s more to Mary’s story than we may have realized, but there’s so much we can learn from her story.
Mary knew the prophecy of the coming Messiah.
Mary displayed unparalleled bravery when she accepted Gabriel’s message, saying, “May it be to me as you have said” in Luke 1:38. However, did she truly know what she was signing up for? In her song of praise, it’s evident that Mary knew about the Old Testament’s teachings. She learned about biblical prophecy her entire life as a Jew. Her song closely resembles Hannah’s famous prayer in 1 Samuel 2:1-10. Now, she was part of God’s ultimate plan. Mary understood the significance of her decision when she said yes when God chose her. She showed her understanding of God’s promise to send a Messiah for His people through her worship.
Did Mary have children after Jesus?
Some believe that Mary didn’t have any other children and stayed a virgin throughout her life due to the hallowed nature of the virgin birth. However, Matthew 1:24-25 seems to negate that teaching, implying that Mary had other children. It says that Joseph followed the angel’s command and married Mary. However, they didn’t consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son. In this verse, “until” is the keyword that implies Mary had children after Jesus.
“Until” means “up to the time of,” implying that an action didn’t happen after a suggested pause. Matthew didn’t even the verse by saying that Joseph didn’t consummate the marriage. It tells us the marriage wasn’t consummated “until….” This wording implies that Mary and Joseph did consummate their marriage after Jesus was born. It also makes a point by telling readers that Joseph “took Mary as his wife.” Readers would naturally assume that Mary became Joseph’s wife in every way possible. Also, no scriptural evidence supports that Mary stayed a virgin or didn’t have more children. The Bible says the opposite.
Mark 6:3 describes how people were upset with Jesus when He taught in Bethlehem, rejecting Him as a prophet. They asked, “Isn’t He the carpenter? Isn’t that Mary’s son and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas, and Simon? Aren’t His sisters here with us?” This passage implies that Mary had close to seven children, including Jesus. There were almost 30 years between Jesus’ birth and this meeting, allowing Mary plenty of time to have other children.
John 2:12 also hints as we ponder whether Mary had other children. It says Jesus went to Capernaum with His mother, brothers, and disciples. The fact that both disciples and brothers are used means that John wasn’t discussing spiritual brothers but familial brothers. The disciples and brothers were two different groups. Matthew 12:46 also discusses when Jesus’ mother and brothers came to talk to Him. The phrases mother and brothers imply familial relationships. The Bible doesn’t give us any reason to think these weren’t Mary’s biological children.
Efforts to prove that Mary stayed a virgin aren’t based on the Bible but on the misguided loyalty to a woman who was as imperfect as any other human. God may have chosen May for her holy task, but she was, in her own words, a humble servant. She obeyed God with faithfulness, like other humble servants, including Hannah, Gideon, Elijah, and Moses. Mary’s marital relations with her husband, Joseph, wouldn’t have defiled her. Those relations would’ve likely produced other children who would’ve grown up with Jesus as their elder brother.
Mary isn’t given a special place in the Bible, so any effort to exalt her to a godlike position is manufactured rumors. So, yes, Mary did have other children. However, how many children she had is unknown, but she likely had seven, including Jesus.
Mary was there for Jesus’ birth and earthly death.
Joseph stayed by Mary through uncertain times. They both observed Jesus’ first breath. Soon after, the shepherds joined them to see what the angels discussed. On the other hand, Mary was also there when Jesus took His last breath on earth, detailed explicitly in John 19:25. Mary comforted Jesus as He entered the world and as He left to return to heaven. She committed herself to be there for her child through birth, death, and anything else.
Mary shines as a demonstration of God’s desire to use the ordinary and obscure. We should be encouraged by this simple girl who now exists as one of the most adored women ever. She never traveled farther than from Palestine to Egypt by donkey. However, her story traveled to the farthest corners of the earth.
By God’s grace, Mary recognized that she needed the Savior. The Bible doesn’t say that Mary was anyone but an ordinary girl who God chose to use extraordinarily. She was a righteous woman favored by God. However, at the same time, Mary was a human who needed Jesus, just like everyone else. When she learned she would birth the Messiah, she stepped up to the plate and accepted her responsibility. We should all learn to step out with boldness and live humbly. Like Mary, we can all be in God’s extraordinary story.