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The Cloud of Witnesses

Former title Lessons From the People of the Bible


Set 1

Available for NZ$25 + shipping. Enquire at the email address at the bottom of the page.

PDFThese lessons are also available as PDFs (with the number of lessons in brackets).

Abraham (5) — David (5) — Esther (4) — Gideon (5) — Isaac (6) — Jacob (7) — Job (6) — John the Baptist (6) — Jonah (4) — Jonathan (6) — Joseph (10) — Joseph of Nazareth (6) — Mary (4) — Mary Magdalene (4) — Mary of Bethany (3) — Moses (5) — Nehemiah (8) — Nicodemus (4) — Noah (6) — Paul the Apostle (5) — Peter (5) — Philip (4) — Ruth (7) — King Saul (6) — Stephen (6) — Thomas (4)

Download the complete set 1 as PDFs (2.46 MB).

The lessons of set 1 are also available as individual online lessons below.


Set 2

Available for NZ$25 + shipping. Enquire at the email address at the bottom of the page.

PDFThese lessons are available as PDFs (with the number of lessons in brackets). These PDFs have not yet been updated to the new name.

Andrew (7) — Caleb (7) — Daniel (7) — Elijah (6) — Elisha (5) — Isaiah (21) — John (22) — Joshua (16) — Leah (2) — Luke (22) — Mary Magdalene (3) — Matthew (9) — Miriam (4) — Nahum (2) — Rachel (6) — Rebekah (5) — Samson (5)

Download the complete set 2 as PDFs (1.85 MB).



Lesson 1 | Lesson 2 | Lesson 3 | Lesson 4 | Back to The Cloud of Witnesses menu

Lesson 3: Mary – The Devoted Mother


John 19:1-37.

The Devoted Mother

When we consider Mary’s life we have to admit a lot of it was very difficult. Yes, she was privileged to be the one through whom God would come to earth – she would be the Messiah-bearer, and as such a most blessed woman. However, from a purely human perspective, it was not plain sailing.

She was a virgin who was misunderstood as promiscuous. Her first-born was often treated as an orphan – since Joseph wasn’t his father – in addition to being considered a baby conceived out of wedlock. She wasn’t able to enjoy the usual home-birth surrounded by doting family and friends rejoicing in the first male-birth. On top of that, she had to give birth in a cave – a shelter for animals.

Then it seemed almost immediately she had to up and leave in order to prevent her Son being murdered by Herod the Great. Once Herod died they could return to Israel and settle down in Nazareth. However, shortly after the birth of their 6th child, Joseph died and Mary was left as a young widow with 7 small children.

Then at 30, Jesus, who had been a tower of strength and had assumed Joseph’s roles, left to be an itinerant Rabbi. He performed many miracles and brought joy and healing wherever He went - yet there was a constant undercurrent of mistrust and hatred from the religious authorities. In the end they gained the upper hand and Jesus was sentenced to death upon a Cross.

Mary had watched Jesus’ life from the manger to the Judgement Hall and on to Golgotha. Yes, she had loved Him, walked with Him, talked with Him, listened to Him, laughed and cried with Him. Now that time prophesied so long ago – not just in the Old Testament but through Simeon too – had reached its climax. The sword that pierced Jesus would also pierce her heart.

But she didn’t turn away. She didn’t run and hide. She would stand by her Jesus until the last breath had left His body. He was not only her ‘Son’; He was her Lord and Saviour, and she would stay with Him until the end – knowing that the Scriptures had to be fulfilled.

As she stood watching, Jesus looked at her. He saw her and He saw John and motioned for them to move together and support each other through that terrible time. She ‘lost’ Jesus but gained John for those desperate moments between Calvary and the ‘Empty’ Tomb. The Messiah had to suffer – before He could re-enter His glory.

Mary would say to us today...

A life lived in intimate relationship with Jesus will have many bitter/sweet moments. Hold on to the promises God gives you and never give in to doubt. Circumstances do not change the power or certainty of the promises of God. And don’t forget to be thankful for all the love, peace and joy He gives you along the way.


Father, please help me to hold on when You seem distant. Help me to trust that Your Promises never fail and by faith to see past the circumstances to the fulfilment of the vision and destiny You have for me. Amen.

Additional readings

Psalm 23; 2 Corinthians 6:1-10; 2 Corinthians 11:16-30.


Why isn’t the Christian life easy?

How do we learn to hold on when life is tough?

What is the dream or vision you are waiting for God to fulfil?

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Sold Out For Jesus and Ring of Truth – daily devotionals by John White
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