In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, 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……………, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called[b] 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 unable to conceive is in her sixth month. For no word from God will ever fail.”“I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her.LUKE 1:26-28, 35-38
Talk about your Personal EPT . . . I mean Mary’s was early, EARLY! And accurate, too. Angelic visitation definitely qualifies as a sure thing. But the favored girl had to have some concerns because unwed pregnancy was a little different in her day.
You could get stoned to death for it. I’m sure she was very relieved to find out that the angel had given her future husband, Joseph, the same message. And yes, she was going to give birth to the divine Gift of heaven, but, as any mother knows, all gifts come with some work attached.
She still had to change the Baby Jesus’ diapers, soothe him as He teethed, teach Him to walk, and clean up His skinned knees. She had to cook the meals and wash his clothes and do all the things that moms do for their children. Although Mary’s life held great honor, her calling would demand great suffering as well. Just as there is pain in childbirth and motherhood, there would be much pain in the privilege of being the mother of the Messiah.
It’s interesting the places we see Mary pop up in the gospels — for example, at the temple sending out an APB for her missing boy. (I believe I might have grounded Jesus if he told me that he was just doing his father’s business, but no such reaction from Mary is recorded.) Another of my favorite mother moments of Mary’s was when she was at the wedding feast apparently exasperated with her thirty-year-old son for not doing that “thing” he could do with the water.
When Jesus seems to refuse to come through the way she knows he can, she goes around him and tells the servants to go and do as He ask and Jesus performs His first public miracle. I would have loved to have been there to see the looks pass between mother and son that night. On the other end of Jesus earthly ministry, we see Mary at the crucifixion.
Disciples may scatter, followers may be in hiding, but a mother will stay when the rest of the world walks away. In fact, Mary is a rich tapestry of real motherhood: a lot of excitement followed by years of work and moments of intense pain. But through it all, mothers are there for their children in all circumstances.
Mary was the mother of the Messiah, Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world and she was also a willing servant. She trusted God and obeyed his call.
The angel told Mary in Luke 1:28 that she was highly favored by God. This phrase simply meant that Mary had been given much grace or “unmerited favor” from God. Even with God’s favor, Mary would still suffer and though she would one day be highly honored as the mother of the Savior, she would first know disgrace as an unwed mother. She would nearly lose her fiancé. Her beloved son would be rejected and cruelly murdered. Mary’s submission to God’s plan would cost her dearly, yet she was willing to be God’s servant.
God knew that Mary was a woman of rare strength and obedience. She was the only human being to be with Jesus throughout his entire life — from his birth until his death. She gave birth to him as her baby and watched him die as her Savior. Mary also knew the Scriptures.
When the angel appeared and told her the baby would be God’s Son, Mary replied, “I am the Lord’s servant … may it be to me as you have said.” (Luke 1:38). She knew of the Old Testament prophesies about the coming Messiah.
Mary was young, poor and female. These qualities made her unsuitable in the eyes of her people to be used mightily by God. However, God looked upon the quality of her trust and obedience. He knew she would willingly serve in one of the most important callings ever given to a human. Just like Mary, God looks at our obedience and trust instead of the qualifications that we might look at. God will often choose and use the most unlikely of our choice to accomplish his purpose.
Mary must have known that her submission to God’s plan would cost her. If nothing else, she knew she would be disgraced in her community, Joseph would divorce her, or worse yet, he might even have her put to death by stoning. Mary may not have considered the full extent of her future suffering.
She may not have imagined the pain of watching her beloved child bear the weight of sin and die a terrible death on the cross. Still, she willingly submitted to God’s plan. Can we willing accept God’s plan? Can we even rejoice in God’s plan, like Mary did, when we know that it will cost us dearly? May we remember today that our mothers accepted each of us at a great cost also.
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