What do Sarah, Rachel, Esther, and Abraham all have in common with Mary? While they weren’t all alive at the same time, there is a remarkable symmetry between each of these Old Testament figures and Mary. There is such a beautiful symmetry between the Old Testament and the New Testament. , Aside from the prophets and Christ (think of the Israelites spending 40 years of wandering in the desert and Christ in the desert for 40 days, the twelve tribes of Israel pointing toward the twelve apostles), the most obvious example of this symmetry and foreshadowing is in how the Old Testament paves the way for and points toward our Mother Mary.
Sarah, the free wife of Abraham (as opposed to Hagar, the slave wife), was sterile. It was in Genesis chapter 17 verse 16 that the Lord told Abraham that He would bless Sarah and Abraham with a child and their descendants would be numerous. The woman whose womb had known no child, would bear a son. Mary is the wife free from sin and its subjugation. She had known no man, but would bear a son. Her son is the head of numerous descendants, the followers of Christ: His Church.
Rachel was the mother of Joseph who was sold by his brothers for 20 pieces of silver. Joseph then comes to power in Egypt, and is the savior of his family and the Egyptians. Mary is the mother of Christ, who was sold for thirty pieces of silver. By His death, He became the savior of the human race.
Esther was chosen to be queen by King Ahasuerus for her beauty. All of her people were condemned to death by the workings of an enemy. She’s the only one who isn’t included in the condemnation. She manages to foil the plot and save her people from death. Out of the entire human race, Mary was the only one not subject to original sin, the condemnation to spiritual death. She helps her Son in His mission of defeating sin and death, and saving her people. She continues to intercede for her people as we continue in our journey away from spiritual death.
It can also be said that Abraham foreshadows Mary: God made three promises to Abraham:
—That his children would be a great nation
—That his descendants would possess the land of Canaan
—And that in him, all the nations of the world would count themselves blessed.
In Mary’s child, Christ, all of the promises are fulfilled. Luke draws many parallels between Mary and Abraham. They have both found favor with God, both are a source of blessings for their descendants, and she is praised for her faith in the promise that through a miracle and God’s work, she would have a son who would bless the world.
The proclamations of the prophet Nathan to David parallel the angel Gabriel’s proclamations to Mary in Luke. It’s almost like the New Testament passages in Luke are echoing the Old Testament passages in 2 Samuel.
“I will preserve the offspring of your body after you, and make his sovereignty secure.I will be a father to him and he a son to me.” 2 Samual 7:12
"He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High.” Luke 1:32-3
”I will make his royal throne secure forever.” 2 Samual 7:13
“And his reign will have no end.” Luke 1:33
In God’s wonderful plan, He, from the very beginning of time meant for us to have a Savior and knew the manner in which our Savior would join us. He alluded to Mary in so many places of the Old Testament that it’s hard to deny that there is a magnificent plan at work and there always has been.
Reflection question 1: Where else can you think of a parallel from the Old Testament to the New Testament?
Reflection question 2: When you pray a Hail Mary, do you think of the Old Testament references and allusions to Mary, or only the New Testament images?
Act: Ponder the symmetry involved in the planning of mankind and salvation, and how much love our dear Lord has for us! Take a moment to be grateful.