Mary’s of the Bible

Harold_Copping_Jesus_at_the_home_of_Martha_and_Mary_400

Jesus at the home of Martha and Mary by Harold Copping, depicting the scene from Luke 10

So this past Wednesday, we were discussing the Gospel of John chapter 12. The first few lines of the chapter tell of Mary anointing Jesus’ feet with expensive oil. The oil was supposedly worth 300 denarii which was the equivalent of a year’s wages.

So I ask Pastor Jacques, which Mary is this? I’m confused. Jacques didn’t answer my question. To get the answer, I had to go to Wikipedia,

It seems that this is Mary of Bethany, sister of Lazarus. I feel sometime that I need a score card to keep track of all the Mary’s mentioned in the Bible.  Here’s the link to the article on the Mary’s of the Bible.

So the article states that there are six different Mary’s mentioned in the Gospels. They are:

  • Mary, mother of Jesus
  • Mary Magdalene
  • Mary of Bethany (sister of Lazarus)
  • Mary of Clopus (John 19:25, present at crucifixion)
  • Mary, mother of James
  • Mary, mother of James the younger

It seems that Mary was quite a popular name for Palestine Jews at the time of Jesus. Indeed, Mary once was the most popular girl’s name in the US. It led the list of girl’s names from the 1920’s until the 1960’s when the name Lisa took over the top spot. The Social Security Administration has a web site with the list of most popular names. In 2016 the name Mary isn’t even in the top 100. Here’s the pointer to the Social Security web site on baby names.

One more Mary story and then I’ll be done for tonight. Some of you might know this but many do not. My wife’s first name is Mary and she has always gone by her middle name. There were many Mary’s in her family (almost as confusing as the Bible). Paula (don’t call her Mary) once told me the story of her mother jokingly accusing her of having two sons to avoid naming a girl child Mary.

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