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Posts Tagged ‘New Testament women’

And when he realized this, he went to the house of Mary, the mother of John who was also called Mark, where many were gathered together and were praying. (Acts 12:12)

There are six famous Mary’s in the New Testament. Four of them, Mary the mother of Jesus, Mary of Magdala, Mary of Bethany, and Mary the mother of James and John, are named in the Gospels. There are stories of these women and many others who followed and served Jesus while He was on earth in previous postings (spread out from January through May, 2014). Two other Mary’s are mentioned in the book of Acts – Mary, the mother of John Mark, and Mary of Rome.

Mary the mother of John Mark is one of those remarkable women in the New Testament who are mentioned only once. But just as in the story of Anna the prophetess, Luke gives us enough details in this one verse to know and understand much about this courageous woman.

Since this house is referred to as her house, and not her husband’s, Mary was probably a widow. She was also wise enough to run her own household. We know from Colossians 4:10 (where Paul sends greetings from other brethren, including “Barnabas’s cousin Mark”) that Barnabas was John Mark’s cousin. Therefore, Mary was this famous disciple’s aunt.

Luke tells us that many were gathered in Mary’s house in Jerusalem, so we know that it was a large house. Mary lg. Chr. home Jerusalemmust have been wealthy and well known to the disciples. They used her home as an early house church. Here the believers could also gather to pray or use Mary’s home as a refuge when the persecutions began, which happened quite soon.

A few days after Pentecost, Peter and John healed a lame beggar at the temple. They said, “In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene – walk!” (Acts 3:6) Then Peter explained to the Jewish people who were watching this miracle that the One Whom they had put to death recently was none other than Jesus Christ, “the Prince of life, the One Whom God raised from the dead, a fact to which we are witnesses.” (Acts 3:15). The bible tells us that thousands believed because of the miraculous healing of the lame man and Peter’s testimony.

The religious leaders had no answer to this miracle. They knew that too many people had witnessed the healing and they began to wonder what to do about it. They warned the apostles to stop, but the disciples continued to heal people and preach the Gospel and many thousands believed in Jesus.

The Jewish leaders became angry and impatient at this and began to persecute Christians with a vengeance. Many were tortured, imprisoned, and put to death.

One day, King Herod decided to please the Jewish leaders by arresting some Christians. He had James, the brother of the apostle John, put to death. The Jews were happy about this, so Herod proceeded to arrest Peter also. Herod put Peter in a prison with four squadrons of soldiers to watch over him, but an angel of the Lord helped Peter escape. (This exciting story is in Acts 12.)

When he escaped, Peter went to the home of someone whom he thought would shelter and protect him. He went to the home of Mary, the mother of his friend, John Mark.

Mary must have been a very courageous woman. She was aware of the persecution of the Christians, and had no doubt heard about the martyrdom of James. She knew that she risked arrest and imprisonment for helping the followers of Christ. In spite of possible grave danger to herself, she opened her home as a place for believers to meet and encourage one another. The Christians were gathered there praying, when Peter knocked on Mary’s door.

Rhoda answers doorPeter knew right where to go after his escape from prison. It was a truly miraculous escape. Not only was he well guarded at that prison, but he also got by two different guard stations and finally outside an iron gate. An angel led him for a while along a street and then departed from him. Peter was left alone but he knew that he could go to the home of Mary for help and protection. How happy the amazed believers were when God answered their prayer by restoring their beloved leader to them.

Mary was a truly devoted follower of Jesus who raised such a faithful son as John Mark. Imagine what it must have been like for Mark to able to participate in the blessings and fellowship that was occurring at his mother’s house. He was a young man at the time of our story, but he continued steadfast in faith and was used as a fellow worker in the Gospel along with his cousin Barnabas, the apostle Paul, and even Peter. He eventually wrote the Gospel that is called after his name. Much of this can be attributed to the faith-filled influence of his extraordinary mother, Mary.

Mary is a wonderful example of courage for us. She must have known about the defection of all of the disciples when Jesus was arrested. They feared a very real danger. She knew of the persecution going on all around her. But, she trusted God to take care of her as she served Him by aiding the believers in the early church. She knew what was the right thing to do and she bravely faced whatever might come her way to follow the Lord.

At Pentecost all believers were filled with the Spirit. This included women and they began to serve in the Kingdom of God along with the men doing whatever they were called to do. This is still true today – women can follow the example given us by the women in the Bible to serve however we are called with faithfulness and courage.

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