The Gospel according to Saint John and the mother of Jesus

The mother of Jesus in the Gospel of John

"The mother"

The other gospels call her Mary, but in John’s gospel she is "the mother," the mother of Jesus.

Of the 11 times that the word "the mother" appears in John, 10 times it refers to "the mother of Jesus."

The only other text containing the word "mother" is the dialogue of Jesus with Nicodemus: "How can a man be born again when they are old? Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!" (Jn 3: 4).


When Jesus calls his mother, he always addresses her with the solemn title of "woman" (Jn 2:4; 19:26).

The intention of the gospel writer

Mary orients us towards Jesus, therefore she is called "the mother of Jesus." The emphasis is on Jesus, not on Mary. She is the mother of Jesus, not only because she is the source of his human life (Jn 16:21), but also because she directs us to him who is life (Jn 14: 6).

Mary is hidden because she is at the origin, at the beginning, and beginnings are always mysterious and hidden. She has the mysterious and hidden character of origins. As in the fourth Gospel the use of the word "mother" is reserved for "the mother of Jesus," interestingly the term "beginning," a typically Johannine expression, is also unique in John.


+ Francesco Lambiasi, bishop of Anagni-Alatri, vicariate of Rome.

Sulle trace del Nuovo Testamento, il popolo di Dio incontra Maria, la Madre.

Riparazione Mariana 2001, n° 3, pp. 4-8, a cura delle serve di Maria.