This is our weekly guest devotion by mother, Estelene. It’s Christmas week two and she is sharing her thoughts on Mary.
In the sixth month, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”
Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end.”
“How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”
The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be barren is in her sixth month. For nothing is impossible with God.”
“I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May it be to me as you have said.” Then the angel left her.
Most people know this story. I, myself, have read this passage many times, and it has become a very familiar passage. But have I really given it much thought? I hadn’t until a few years ago.
Here was a common young female who was engaged to a man who loved her very much. She may have been focused on wedding plans, and only saw blue skies ahead. You know how it is when you become engaged. You are so in love that you believe you will never be faced with obstacles, suffering, or pain. There is nothing but smooth sailing ahead because you will have your beloved by your side for the rest of your life.
Then she woke up one day and her life was completely changed. The angel Gabriel appeared in front of her. I think that would be a little frightening at first. The Bible doesn’t say that Mary was frightened, but it does tell us that she was “greatly troubled” by his greeting. I am sure she was wondering why an angel was appearing to her.
Gabriel comforted her with the words that she was not to fear for she had found favor with God. Just to know that you had found favor with God is a true blessing. I can’t imagine what was racing through Mary’s mind when Gabriel continued with the news that she would become pregnant and give birth to a boy who would be called the Son of the Most High. The mind boggling continues with the news that her son will reign over the house of Jacob forever. It will never end.
I think I would have had to say, “Woe, stop. What are you talking about? None of this makes sense.” Mary was a little more tactful than that though. She politely asked him how she could give birth to a child when she was a virgin. Then Gabriel shares with her that the Holy Spirit would impregnate her.
Now this is where my curiosity goes absolutely crazy. How did she feel when she heard the news and when she was impregnated? Was she overjoyed or overwhelmed? Was she confused? Did she realize at that moment that her son was truly the Son of God? Did the Holy Spirit make himself known to her at the time he impregnated her?
In Luke 1:39-56 we are told that her soul glorified the Lord. This passage tells of the account when she visited her cousin Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptist. I encourage you to read this beautiful and emotional passage. Cousins sharing their exciting and miraculous news with each other.
I seriously doubt if Mary realized the extent of the suffering and pain that would follow. How would she explain her pregnancy to Joseph, to her family, to her neighbors? She could become an outcast. She would become the mother of a child whom many despised and rejected. A mother who would have to witness her son’s flesh being ripped off his body before being nailed to a cross. A mother who would have to stand by and watch soldiers and others spit upon her son and mock him.
Give me just one paragraph to speak on the event thirty-some years later. If I was Mary, at the time of Jesus’s crucifixion, I am afraid my reaction would be yelling at those who rejected Christ and saying, “DO YOU NOT KNOW WHO HE IS? HE IS THE SON OF GOD. SOMEDAY YOU WILL REGRET WHAT YOU HAVE DONE.” No, Mary knew at the time of Jesus’ death that he had to die so that she might live. I could not watch my son die for me. Yet here was Mary heartbroken seeing her son enduring great suffering and death and she was totally helpless. He was the Son of God. He was fulfilling his purpose.
Mary’s answer to Gabriel was, ‘“I am the Lord’s servant. May it be to me as you have said.”’ Mary had to be a very special young girl for God to have chosen her to be the mother of His Son. He knew her heart and her love for him. But most of all, with humility she was submissive to God’s will.
Have you been submissive to God’s will? Has He asked you to do something that you don’t feel comfortable doing or you just don’t want to do? God uses ordinary people to do great things for his kingdom. He wouldn’t ask you to do something he was not willing to help you through it. Have courage, step out, and like Mary say, “I am the Lord’s servant.”