Monday, March 27, 2017

Women in Scripture: Mary the mother of Jesus, Part I

Mary the Mother of Jesus
   It's always a delight to study this wonderful woman who is the earthly mother of our Savior. The Angel Gabriel greeted her this way ”Greetings O favored one, the Lord is with you!” Mary would be in sore need of that comfort in the days and years to come in her life of service to God as she raised and trained Jesus.
  It’s always sad to me when I consider the fact that the Roman Catholic Church has deified Mary and proclaimed her to be sinless from conception, a co-redeemer with Jesus, and other heretical ideas that I won’t waste words on here, because what’s true about her is so much more fascinating than the untruths made up by a false religious system.
   Doubly sad is the fact that as this heretical teaching about her from the RC Church grew the Protestants largely ignored her-the first is sinful heresy and the second is harmful, because it is harmful to ignore one of the richest character studies in the entire Bible. Mary is the epitome of everything a godly woman should desire to be. She is chaste–humble-submissive-full of faith-and brave beyond what words can convey. This godly woman’s life stands out as a one of a kind never to be repeated story and it behooves us as Christian women to know her life and know it well.
  Here are some facts about Mary that you may or may not know. This young woman was chosen by God before the foundation of the world to be the mother of God’s Messiah-the One who would save his people from their sins. Highly favored indeed! She was probably in her teens when the Angel made his announcement because in that culture with the life expectancy so short women married early. Mary was betrothed to Joseph and in spite of all the efforts by scholars to understand him-we really know very little because the Bible, after stating that he was a righteous man, gives us very little other information. We do know that he was from the royal line of David through Solomon. Mary was from the royal line of David through David’s son Nathan. Make no mistake-when Jesus walked the streets of Jerusalem during his ministry-he should have had on royal robes-He was the true King of Israel. Pilate had it right when he said “behold your King”.  Scholars have always said that women were discouraged in that day from studying God’s word-but you could never prove that by Mary because as I have studied her life over the years it has become clear that she studied and memorized the Hebrew scriptures. I wonder if she may have had Hannah’s song memorized. It looks as though she delighted in the story of Hannah and Samuel because so much of her own song of praise is strikingly similar to Hannah’s(see 1 Samuel 2:1-10).
   In those days when you were betrothed it was a binding covenant-so much so that in order to break the betrothal a divorce had to be sought. The betrothal lasted for about a year while the groom prepared a home for his bride. Mary was betrothed to Joseph when the Angel came and made his announcement. As was Jewish custom in Israel the marriage was not consummated until the wedding ceremony. Mary was a virgin and the scripture leaves no doubt of the fact. that Joseph had no relations with her until after the birth of Jesus(Matt. 1:18-25). Scripture is also clear that she had a normal marital relationship with her husband which produced other children after the birth of Jesus(Matt. 13:55-56; Mk. 6:3).
  I want us to think about her encounter with the Angel in Luke 1:26-38 when he announced what was about to happen to her. She was greatly troubled. Of course she was. She questioned him. Of course she did. How could this be? She was a virgin and to her this thing was impossible. But in the end when Gabriel had finished telling her what was going to happen she simply said this “Behold I am the servant of the Lord, let it be to me according to your word”. The stunning simplicity of her humble words and obedience to God’s will is a powerful inspiration to me. I would have had 500 more questions I wanted answered and a certificate of authenticity from God that the angel was who he said he was. I think sometimes we read biblical accounts like this and fail to think deeply of the faith, humility and unquestioned submission displayed by people like Mary. The young woman had no idea of the full meaning of the words of Gabriel found in Luke 1 verses 30 through 37, but she did know God and she trusted him fully as is shown in her response in vs. 38 and her song of praise. 
   In Luke 1:39-55 we are treated to the account of Mary’s visit to her cousin Elizabeth. After the angel told Mary that Elizabeth had conceived, miraculously in her old age, that’s exactly who Mary wanted to talk to. I think that visit probably encouraged Mary to joyously press on in the days and months to come. All that the angel had spoken to her was here confirmed by an older, wise and godly woman. The encouragement that could should and ought to happen between women of God is a gift to be freely given and joyously received and it was that day. I love how Elizabeth commends Mary’s faith in God in vs. 45. I am now at that age in my life when I need to spend my days encouraging young women in the faith-it’s what older women are called to do-and it’s so necessary! We are blessed to see two women called by God to a very special task building each other up. We are allowed a glimpse of real camaraderie and soul refreshing in this passage. Mary needed this as did Elizabeth.  
Ladies, may we ever cherish and follow God in humble obedience in this very same way that Mary did. We will not always understand the mysteries of God’s dealings with us as we live lives of faithful obedience. We can ponder and treasure the deep things of God in our hearts as Mary did. We may never know all the whys-but the Who is all we need at the end of the day.
  Because there is so much more to examine in the life of Mary we will have a second part to this post. Thanks to Diane for approving that.


About the Author: Vicki Lynch. Is a wife, mother, homemaker, women’s Bible study teacher and amateur theology student. She has been married to Bill for over 46 years. Their lives were forever changed in 1999 when they tragically lost their only child in an auto accident. He was a young adult and unmarried. Vicki says” It was a make or break time for my faith…but our faithful God brought us through.”

This post originally appeared on October 7, 2013 

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