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to a virgin who was promised in marriage to a man named JOSEPH, who was of the house of DAVID; the virgin’s name was MARY.

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to a virgin who was

pledged in marriage to ONE WHO WILL INCREASE who belonged to those who are LOVED.

The virgin was REBELLIOUS.



Yes, you read that correctly, Mary does mean “rebellious and defiant.” Her name comes from the Hebrew name “Miriam,” in fact the Greek name reads “Miriam.” The Latin and Spanish name Maria, is only one letter short of the Hebrew and Greek names. I will use the English name Mary, so as to not confuse the reader. Both Miriam and Mary mean “rebellious and defiant.” The Bible does not paint a picture of life that is candy-coated or artificial, it is very real and something we can readily identify with, therefore not all the names used in the story of Jesus depict spiritual perfection. It is both interesting and comforting that when God sent His Son to this world as a baby, He sent Him into the arms of someone who was not already perfect, but one who represented all the rest of us who are rebellious, defiant and in need of a savior.

Why would someone name their child “rebellious and defiant?” In the time of Israel’s slavery in Egypt the name Miriam made sense. Parents were showing their desire to be free from the oppressive thumb of the Egyptians. In the time of the Roman occupation of Palestine the same sentiment would have been true, so her parents may have named her something that reflected their hatred of Rome. In this case it is more likely that Mary’s parents were simply naming her after a prominent woman from the Old Testament, although it fit the socio-political setting as well. But beyond that, there is the wonderful irony which the name Miriam/Mary brings to the story, and that irony would not have been lost on the original audience. We all start out as rebellious, defiant sinners, and those are precisely the ones that Jesus came for. That truth is constantly driven home to us by the name of this special one whom many within Christendom have venerated. There is indeed certain respect due her, but there is also a message communicated through her name, a message that does not set her apart from the rest of us, but makes her our representative, for she is just like all of us.