Skip to main content

Gospels of Luke and John, Differences

Differences in the Gospels of Luke and John

Q: How is Mary portrayed in the gospel of John, as opposed to that of Luke?

A: Mary in John contrasts with the one in Luke. There she is portrayed as the human person who is invited into God's plans regarding Incarnation and Redemption. Her personal vocation and motherly role are highlighted. The context is that of the Infancy narratives. In John, Mary's role as disciple and associate of Christ is pointed out. In Cana and at Calvary (the two major references) she is the woman who cooperates with her son in and for his mission.

In John she typifies Christian vocation, and she is more than just the girl of Nazareth depicted in Luke. She relates both to the past (Israel, the daughter of Zion) and the future (the Church). With regard to the past she represents a model of fulfillment: Mary's life and person shows how the challenges of the Old Testament can be met and fulfilled. With regard to the future the "woman" represents a model of promise. If we act like her, we will be worthy followers of Christ as individuals and as Church.

More specifically, John in his gospel underlines two roles of Mary. She is the one who points to Christ, and says: Do what he tells you! She becomes under the cross our spiritual mother when Jesus invites the beloved disciple to make of her his mother in Christ.

All About Mary includes a variety of content, much of which reflects the expertise, interpretations and opinions of the individual authors and not necessarily of the Marian Library or the University of Dayton. Please share feedback or suggestions with


Marian Library

Roesch Library
300 College Park
Dayton, Ohio 45469 - 1390

Study Mary

Study the theology and history of Mary at the University of Dayton.

Learn More

Keyword Search

Would you like to begin a new keyword search?

Get Started