“…And on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit” (Acts 2:18).
There were many Marys in the New Testament who were close to Jesus:
- The Blessed Virgin of Nazareth, the mother of Jesus.
- Mary of Magdala, out of whom Jesus cast seven devils. She followed Jesus, together with the rest of the women who ministered with Him in his earthly ministry, and was the first one to whom Jesus personally appeared, and commissioned to tell His brethren that He was alive. She became the leader of women.
- Mary of Bethany sat at Jesus’ feet, asking questions, and worshipping Him with youthful adoration. She later anointed Him for His burial, even though she didn’t know why she did it. It was an act of love and giving of her most precious treasure to Him. She was the youngest sister of Martha and Lazarus.
- Mary, the wife of Clopas. Clopas was the brother of Joseph the Virgin Mary’s husband; so she was the sister-in-law of the Virgin Mary, and “aunt” to Jesus. Clopas is sometimes called Alphaeus (which is the Latin version of his name). She was the mother of James-the-Less, a disciple of Jesus, who was martyred in Jerusalem sometime after he wrote the Epistle of James.
- Mary of Jerusalem. It was in her home that all the Early Church activities took place. We first read about her house on the Eve of Passover. In Luke 22:7-13 Jesus told Peter and John to “Go and prepare us the Passover, that we may eat.” When they asked Him where they should prepare, He told them that when they entered into the city of Jerusalem, they would meet a man who was carrying a pitcher (water pot) of water; they were to follow him into the house he entered. And then they would be at the right place. The KJV says they were to address the “goodman of the house.” A more understandable version is “the owner of the house. ” That owner was Mary.
Mary was a woman of wealth, who lived in the affluent part of Jerusalem where wealthy merchants, royalty, Roman administrators, landowners of large estates, and the aristocratic class of priestly families lived. The High Priest could have been one of her close neighbours. Archeologists confirm that they found remnants of houses that had been built with rooms that would have been large enough to accommodate as many as 120 people. There was little doubt that Mary of Jerusalem was a woman of wealth. Her brother was Barnabas, who was a large landowner on the Island of Cyprus.
Mary had a son, called John, whose surname was Mark. He wrote The Gospel According to St. Mark. John Mark ministered for a while with Paul and Barnabas, and then with his uncle, Barnabas, when Barnabas and Paul split up. But, much later when Paul was imprisoned in Rome he called for Mark to come to him, saying, he was “profitable to me for the ministry” (2 Timothy 4:11). Later, he suffered a very painful martyrdom at Alexandria, Egypt.
Great things happened in Mary’s House!
- The final Passover before Jesus’ death took place in Mary’s House.
- It may have been that the frightened disciples went into hiding, after the death of Jesus at Mary’s House.
- If so, Jesus found them, and spoke to them after his resurrection, at Mary’s House.
- On the Day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit with Tongues of fire was first poured out at Mary’s House.
- When Peter was miraculously delivered from prison where he was awaiting execution by Herod Agrippa I the following day, he went straight to Mary’s House where he found a fervent prayer meeting taking place on his behalf (Acts 12:12). But he could not stay; he knew it wasn’t safe.
- The “first Church of Christendom” was Peter’s House in Capernaum of Galilee. The “First Church in Jerusalem” was Mary’s House. She kept her house open for the Saints. Where better to gather, than in the place where the Holy Spirit first fell with tongues of fire?
The original house has long since been destroyed, but the site has been remembered, for when Queen Helena came to the Holy Land to erect shrines that were connected with the life of Jesus, she marked out this site. Later, in the fourth century a larger church was built on the traditional site and given the name, “The Upper Church of the Apostles.” Through the years churches were built on that site, which is the same site of the present one, dating to medieval times, and is now known as the cenacle (Latin for “dining room”), or room of the supper.
Ladies, you never know, when you open your home to guests and unknown people, even refugees, what great honour you are bringing upon yourself. It could be that you would even be entertaining angels unawares (Hebrews 13:2). Always be kind enough to offer a drink, make a sandwich — even if it’s only a jam or peanut butter sandwich — to the souls God sends to your home. It could be, that your story will be written in the annals of Eternity!
He Sent Me Back to Tell You by Gwen Shaw
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