Luke introduces his narrative telling us he did extensive research and interviewed eyewitnesses in the composing of the Third Gospel (1:1-4). And as one reads the first two chapters of the Gospel of Luke, one is confronted with the question, “Did Luke interview Mary, the mother of Jesus, in composing his narrative on the Life of Christ?” While there is no verse in the Bible which confirms whether or not Luke interviewed Mary; however, one has to give serious consideration that he did, for he sure included in his Gospel a lot of “inside” information surrounding the announced conception, birth and boyhood events regarding Christ. So much so that it would be hard not to deduce that Luke did interview Mary.
This writer contends one of those eyewitnesses Luke interviewed was Mary, the mother of Jesus. Obviously, Mary would have been advanced in years at the time, but not overly aged. If one considers when Gabriel appeared unto her with the message that she would bear the Christ Child, Mary, as many scholars suppose, was probably between thirteen to fifteen years old (the Jewish Talmud taught that a daughter could be given in marriage as early as of age twelve and twelve and a half), then she would have been about 15 (no older than 16) when Jesus was born. Jesus died at age 33, which would have made Mary about 48 or 49 years old at Jesus’ death. The Apostle John, under instructions from Jesus as he hung on the cross, looked after Mary until her death (Jh 19:25-27), which her exact time or age is unknown. Luke is thought to have begun writing his Gospel in the mid to late 50s AD, which would have put Mary’s age in her early to mid 70s when Luke would have interviewed her. So, it is clearly not out of the realm of possibility that Luke interviewed Mary. As well, reading Luke’s birth narrative one can confidently surmise he received eyewitness information from her.
Come, let us reason together.
First, in Luke 1:26-38, Dr. Luke records the archangel Gabriel’s announcement to Mary. Only Mary and Gabriel were present at the announcement and the conversation which took place between the two. So the only sure source from where Luke received his information about such intimate information had to be Mary. Luke could not have gotten such intimate information from Mary’s cousin Elizbeth as she would no doubt have died by the time Luke composed his Gospel since Luke informs us Elizabeth was already “advanced in age” (Lk 1:18) at the time of Mary’s conception. Taking that into consideration, Mary is the most likely source of the intimate details Luke records.
Second, in Luke 1:46-56 we find Mary’s magnificent song of praise. The only ones present when this song of praise echoed in the air, was Mary and Elizabeth…and possibly Zechariah. But once again, Elizabeth (and Zechariah), would have died by the time Luke composed his Gospel because they were already advanced in years. That only leaves Mary who would have been able to tell Luke in the detail the words of the magnificent song of praise she lifted to the Lord.
Third, In Luke 2:21-39 we find the details regarding Jesus’ circumcision and dedication eight days after his birth. Who was present? Mary, Joseph, Simeon, and Anna were present. Once again, since Joseph, Simeon, and Anna have passed away by the time Luke composed the third Gospel, how would Luke have known the details of conversation, the prayers and specifics of this incident. Again, that only leaves Mary to have related the details to Luke.
Fourth, when we see the incident of Jesus’ interaction with the “scholars” in the Temple at 12 years of age (Lk 2:40-52), who was best to relate this story to Luke? Since Joseph had already passed away, that only leaves Mary to relate the personal details of the incident to Luke. Interestingly, Luke twice adds another detail about Mary that no other gospel does: “His mother pondered all these things in her heart” (Lk 1.19 and 1.51). How did Luke know Mary kept so much ponderings about Jesus in her heart if she had not told him? Unless Luke was a mind reader, he could not have known this detail unless Mary had informed him.
Could Luke have received his details from another source other than Mary? Of course, that is possible. Some would even contend that Luke, being divinely inspired of God, could have received his information directly from the Lord without human correspondence. That is a possibility; however, while divine inspiration of Scripture means God’s Spirit superintended what Luke wrote, that doesn’t mean he was divorced from his personality and the responsibility of diligent research in the composing of what God inspired him to write. This would have included Luke interviewing eyewitnesses in his research. That being said, this writer contends one can say with confidence that Mary was clearly the only one consistently present at all of these events mentioned above and the intimate details Luke relates to his readers makes it highly likely that he received his information from the very lips of Mary.
What an interview it must have been!