Mary is an example of unconditional faith and obedience to the LORD God. She considered herself to be a handmaiden to the LORD and only “pondered” the difference circumstances of her life and the life of her son Jesus Christ. She is an example for us to be trusting, loving, selfless and exalting of the LORD God.
When we speak of Mary, the Mother of Jesus, we could be opening up a can of worms. There has been much written about her that is not Scriptural. First we will look at what is written about Mary in the Scripture and glean from these writings about her character and what she has to offer us. We will find the faith of Mary is expressed in meekness, obedience, trust and love. These are all good qualities we should be gleaning for our lives.
Luke 1:26 is the beginning point. The angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth. This tells us that the LORD God specifically choose Mary who was a virgin and engaged to Joseph, of the house of David. This was not some random choice where any woman would do. Mary was chosen and highly favored by the LORD. This means she had the integrity that the LORD God was looking for.
The prophet Isaiah gave a sign to the house of David saying: “Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. Butter and honey shall he eat, that he may know to refuse the evil, and choose the good. For before the child shall know to refuse the evil, and choose the good, the land that thou abhorrest shall be forsaken of both her kings”. (Isaiah 7:14-16).
It is interesting to note that Mary was troubled at the message of the angel, not the presence of the angel. She did not understand his greeting of being “highly favored, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.” The salutation had to be repeated by Gabriel that she was not to fear because she has found favor with God. (Luke 1:28-30).
Since the average age for a young Jewish girl to be betrothed was around thirteen years old in the first century Galilee. This thirteen year old would have worshiped God with her family and her friends in Nazareth. She did consider herself as being the handmaid of the Lord as found in Luke 1:38.
Mary had to be strong in faith trusting in Him and had no disbelief when she heard this confusing news that she shall conceive in her womb, and bring forth a son, and shall call His name JESUS. Mary asked the angel how this could happen because she had never known a man. When Gabriel answered her saying; “The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God….. For with God nothing shall be impossible” (Luke 1:31-37).
Just what did Mary know?
Mary knew she was had received a calling from the LORD.
She would conceive and bring forth a son
She would name her Son JESUS
Her son was going to be great
Her Son would be “the Son of the Highest
God would give Him the throne of David
Her Son would reign over Israel forever and
His kingdom should have no end
Mary may not have understood what was about to happen to her, how she could become a mother without being with a man, what was going to happen between her and Joseph all she knew was she was a handmaiden of the LORD and nothing was impossible for Him. Mary did not worry about what the neighbors or relative would think about her being pregnant out of wedlock she trusted in the LORD. This is an illustration of the strength and dedication that Mary had for the LORD God.
Luke 1:46-55 reveals a great deal more about Mary and how her soul magnifies the LORD. She says her spirit rejoiced in God her Savior. Mary again refers to herself as being the handmaiden of the LORD God and mentions that she was of low estate. Here the low estate refers to her spiritual humiliation. The knowing that she has done nothing to receive this blessing that has been bestowed on her. Mary also acknowledges that all generations would call her blessed. She continues to praise His Holy name. We also know that Mary has knowledge of the LORD God and has and understanding that you gain mercy when you fear Him. She recognizes the LORD God has showed strength with His arm; and has scattered the proud in the imagination (or their understanding of their mind and spirit, the way of thinking and feeling. ) of their hearts. The LORD God has put down the mighty from their high places and exalted them to low degree. He has filled the hungry with good things; and the rich he has sent away empty. He has held fast to his servant Israel, in remembrance of His mercy.
Luke 2:1-7 covers the time period just prior to the birth of Jesus. Mary and her husband, Joseph, went up from Galilee, into Judeaea, unto the city of David, which was called Bethlehem to be taxed. The lineage of Joseph is stated that he was of the house of the lineage of David. Mary was very pregnant and away from her female relatives. They were on their own. She knew what to do because verse 7 tells us that Mary wrapped her firstborn son in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger.
It would have been traditions that soon after a baby was born, it was washed (usually by a midwife). Salt and wine diluted in water was used as antiseptic then oil was used to sooth the newborn’s skin. The baby was wrapped in swaddling clothes which consisted of coarsely woven linen strips. (Ezekiel 16:3-4). These swaddling clothes would hold the limbs of the baby firmly and give them a sense of security. This was believed to promote strong, straight bones as the baby grew. Exodus 1:15-16 suggests that women in labor sat on a birthing chair.
When Mary and Joseph took Jesus to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord there was a man whose name was Simeon. He was a just and devout man that was waiting for the Messiah and that Simeon would not see death until he saw the Lord’s Christ. When Mary and Joseph brought Jesus into the temple the Holy Spirit let him know that Jesus was the Messiah, the Christ child. Simeon blessed God and knew now he could depart in peace because his eyes had seen the salvation of the Lord. Mary marveled at those things which were spoken of Jesus.
Jesus was the salvation
Jesus was prepared before the face of all people
Jesus was the light to lighten the Gentiles
Jesus was the glory of the people Israel
Simeon blessed Mary by saying that Jesus was set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel. He tried to prepare Mary that a sword would pierce through her own soul. I doubt that anything could have prepared Mary for the fate of Jesus in His own time. When we take a moment to ponder what is happening today to the integrity of Jesus it is even more heart breaking for Mary and for us who follow and love Jesus.
Matthew 1:16-25 gives us a more defined illustration of the character of Mary. Joseph was a just man and was not willing to make Mary’s pregnancy a public example. He did not have to continue in the marriage according to Jewish law. He was going to put her away privately. This shows respect for Mary. We remember that the angel of the Lord did appear to Joseph in a dream and explained to him that she was fulfilling the Isaiah prophecy. Joseph did take Mary as his wife out of obedience and respect. Joseph did not know Mary sexually until she brought forth Jesus.
The Gospel of John shows Mary the mother of Jesus stood by the cross of Jesus. Mary saw the danger coming, but was unable to protect her son. Mary watched the arrest, trial and execution of her beloved Jesus. How hard it must have been to watch her son beaten and hung on a cross as a common criminal. It was probably at that time that all that she had “pondered” would play out in her mind and heart.
Mary is truly a remarkable example of trusting, faithfulness and obedience. Not only did Mary the Mother of Jesus accept the mission she was to fulfill she gave glory to the LORD God for allowing her to have such a responsibility to raise the Son of God while He was on this earth. It must have broken her heart to watch the hideous crucifixion of her innocent Son by her kinsmen. It would have taken a deep seeded inner strength and faith in the LORD God to endure such hardship. We all have hardships in our lives and maybe we can find the faith, strength, trust and obedience to continue on our journey toward our mission that is set forth by the LORD God.
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MLA Style Citation:
Holstein, Joanne “Mary the mother of Jesus:.” Becker Bible Studies Library Jan 2015.< https://guidedbiblestudies.com/?p=1924,>.
APA Style Citation:
Holstein, Joanne (2015, January) “Mary the mother of Jesus:.” Becker Bible Studies Library. Retrieved from https://guidedbiblestudies.com/?p=1924,.
Chicago Style Citation:
Holstein, Joanne (2015) “Mary the mother of Jesus:.” Becker Bible Studies Library (January), https://guidedbiblestudies.com/?p=1924, (accessed).