The Mary Window Character Biographies


Maryof Bethany by William Morris

Mary was one of the two sisters of Lazarus of Bethany, intimate friends of Jesus, whose home from home was their house whenever he came to Jerusalem, particularly for The Passover.

Only Luke and John mention the sisters by name. Luke writes:

38 Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house.
39 And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet and listened to his teaching.

40 But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.”

41 But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things,

42 but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”

The name of Martha still epitomises the practical and efficient but over-busy and intolerant housekeeper, as opposed to that of Mary, the contemplative, who has chosen the better part. Later in the week following the raising of Lazarus, John describes Mary anointing the feet of Jesus with oil at a supper at which Martha served and Lazarus was at table.

John’s account appears to be a conflation of Mark’s story of the anointing at the house of Simon the Leper, in Bethany, and Luke’s story of the anointing at Simon the Pharisee’s house in Galilee.


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Mary Magdelene by William Morris Mary of Bethant Mary of Bethany large