Study Guide

Mary in Gospel of Matthew

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Claim to fame: Gives birth to Jesus and keeps her virginity, to boot

The lady is the mother of God. Literally. It's not every day that a woman can be a mother and a virgin (at least not at the same time), but that's just what Mary does. How does she juggle it all?

A Passive Play

Compared to Joseph, Mary doesn't really get much attention in Matthew's Gospel. She's just the one who births the living God into the world. No big deal, right? We can see why Matthew would have overlooked her.

In fact, Mary is totally passive in this gospel. She doesn't get to say anything. She doesn't even get to do anything. She has things done to her. Notice the language:

  • "Mary had been engaged to Joseph" (1:18).
  • "She was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit" (1:18).
  • Joseph "took her as his wife" (1:24).
  • He "had no marital relations with [Mary] until she had borne a son" (1:25).
  • Joseph is told to "take the child and his mother" and run (2:13).

We never know what Mary thinks about any of this. About being pregnant, getting married, having a son, and fleeing from danger. Nada. In fact, the things Matthew doesn't say about Mary could fill a book. It's called the Gospel of Luke, actually. Check it out for another take on Mary and her role in the life of Jesus.


Mary is kind of everywhere. Aside from Jesus, she's probably one of the most well-known and popular figures from the New Testament. If you've ever been to a church in Italy (where most of population is Catholic) or opened an art history textbook, you'll see her everywhere—usually holding baby Jesus.

Mary is so prolific, she even made an appearance on a grilled cheese sandwich once. But, wait. The best part is that someone managed to sell it on eBay for $28,000

We told you she was popular.

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