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“Mary, did you know?”—how much did Mary know?

Mary did you know

“Mary, Did You Know?” is a popular Christmas song written by Mark Lowry and Buddy Greene. The song gives an indirect account of Jesus’ works during His life. The song takes the unique perspective of asking Mary if she knew Jesus would do all the things He did. Imagine: a young virgin giving birth to a baby and laying Him in a manger. As she watched Him, could she have imagined all of the wonderful things her son, the Son of God, would do on the earth?

From the Gospel accounts, we know that Mary was not someone of high social standing or renown. Mary lived in Nazareth of Galilee, and as Nathanael commented, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” (John 1:46, ESV). However, the angel Gabriel says to Mary, “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!” (Luke 1:28, ESV). This demonstrates that God favored her not because of her high estate, but because He regards the humble person who relies on Him. It’s worth considering exactly what Gabriel says to Mary:

“Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end” (Luke 1:30–33, ESV).

Now, let’s take a look at the first stanza of the song:

Mary, did you know that your baby boy will some day walk on water?
Mary, did you know that your baby boy will save our sons and daughters?
Did you know that your baby boy has come to make you new?
This child that you’ve delivered will soon deliver you.
(1991 Rufus Music, admin. by Gaither Copyright Management/Word Music LLC)

The song causes listeners to wonder, “Was Mary aware of all that Jesus would do?” Looking at the biblical account, a fair amount of information was given to Mary:

1. Mary knew that Jesus would be “great and will be called Son of the Most High”—the Most High referring to YHWH, the one true God of the people of Israel (see Genesis 14:18–22). Mary would have grown up in a culture where parents instructed their children in the things of the Lord (Deuteronomy 6:7).

2. Mary knew that the “Lord God would give to Jesus the throne of his father David.” Jesus was to be the fulfillment of all the prophecies that spoke of one who would come from the lineage of David and be the King and Messiah of the people of Israel (Matthew 12:23; 22:41–46)

3. Mary knew that Jesus would “reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” So, Mary knew that Jesus would be given a kingdom and would reign forever and ever, which would fulfill the prophecy of Daniel 7:13–14.

As we can see, Mary did know quite a bit! She was likely not aware of the specifics of the miracles that Jesus would perform during His time on earth (walking on water, healing blind men, etc.), but she knew that her son would be a very special child. She knew that her son would change the world forever!

In some sense, we are like Mary. We have heard of what Jesus has done, who He is now, and what He will eventually do in bringing about the complete fulfillment of God’s kingdom on earth. Yet, at the same time, we have not fully comprehended all that God will do for us through Christ’s second coming (1 Thessalonians 4:16–18) and the consummation of God’s kingdom (Revelation 21:1–4). Our finite human minds this side of eternity are incapable of comprehending the eternity and infinite glory of the one true God (1 Corinthians 2:9). Let us emulate Mary’s humble obedience to the Lord: “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word” (Luke 1:38, ESV).

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“Mary, did you know?”—how much did Mary know?
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This page last updated: January 17, 2024