What do we know about Mary, the Mother of Jesus? Steph explores how Mary might have felt knowing she was to become the mother of Jesus.
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Mary, The Mother Of Jesus
Young and engaged. Full of expectation and anticipation—but nothing like she was after the angel came to her with a message directly from the throne of God. While she asked Gabriel how she could have a child since she was still a virgin, even more questions must have flooded Mary’s mind after the angel left her.
Let’s read excerpts from Luke 1:26-38: In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God … to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph … the virgin’s name was Mary. … he came to her and said, “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!” But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be. And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” And Mary said to the angel, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?” And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God. And behold, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. For nothing will be impossible with God.” And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word” (ESV).
Those of us who have heard the story countless times may be tempted to simply give a head nod to this portion of the Christmas story, but if we seek to put ourselves in Mary’s place, we will begin to see how incredible it really was.
How Did Mary Feel?
Although it isn’t true of all women, there are those of us who’ve always imagined we’d grow up, marry a wonderful man, and have a family. Some women plan what they consider the perfect wedding from the time they’re very young. Although we don’t know how Mary felt about her upcoming marriage to Joseph, we do know that there weren’t many options available to women in her day and marriage was far more than simply one option among many. (Because of what we learn about Joseph in the Scriptures, I expect Mary was looking forward to becoming his wife.)
One of the most amazing verses in scripture is Luke 1:38, in which Mary says, “I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word” (ESV).
Her mind was flooded with questions and yet this was her response to the angel’s announcement. Would that we would respond the same way when our life doesn’t go as expected!
Few, if any, of us, have been visited by an angel. Yet, even our most moving spiritual experiences “wear off.” We may be left with more questions than answers. Mary was just like us in this way. After all, with the wonder and joy of being chosen to give birth to the Messiah, came one challenge after another. And the questions she must have had!
What will Joseph think?
Joseph could have had her killed for being unfaithful. We know that he didn’t do so, that he planned to spare her the shame and ridicule of others—even before the angel appeared to him as well. But did Mary know him well enough to realize this would be his response? We don’t know.
This was the girl next door. They’d likely known her since she was a child. I wonder what they would have asked, what they would have thought. We already know that getting pregnant before one was married was shameful and punishable by death. No matter how well others knew her, Mary must have questioned if they’d believe that she’d been visited by an angel and would give birth to the long-awaited Messiah.
Will I be mocked and ridiculed?
Best case scenario: Joseph would believe her. Her family and friends would believe her. Maybe even her closest neighbours. But what about others? Surely, they would think she’d been unfaithful to her husband-to-be. There was likely finger-pointing, sideways glances, and whispering, maybe even open mocking and ridicule.
What does my future look like now?
She would marry Joseph, move out of her father’s house, and move in with her husband. He would work in his carpenter’s shop and she would tend their home and raise their family. At least that was the plan before God sent Gabriel with what was, from the Lord’s perspective, Plan A. I’m sure Mary wondered how her situation would change everything she’d imagined.
And just how can I raise the Son of God?
Visited by an angel. Informed that she was going to give birth to the Saviour. Told, in essence, that she was going to raise the Son of God. Seriously? I can’t even begin to imagine what Mary was thinking and feeling. Yet, she was willing to submit to God’s will, no matter what it was. What an example she set for us!
Although we won’t experience anything exactly like Mary faced, in many ways, she is just like us and we can learn from her.
Her plans changed and ours do often. She faced ridicule and finger-pointing. That is bound to be the case in our lives as well—especially if we make a stand for Truth. Mary was uncertain about how her future would unfold. Many of us face the same uncertainty on a regular basis. Just like Mary, God calls us to tasks we are ill-equipped to accomplish. But like her, we must submit to God’s plans, recognizing the truth of Isaiah 55:8-9.
These verses say, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts” (ESV).
Mary learned the importance of submitting to God’s will. May the same be said of us.
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Steph Beth Nickel is a freelance writer and editor. She is the coauthor of Paralympian Deb Willows’ award-winning memoir, Living Beyond My Circumstances, published by Castle Quay Books.
Steph is a member of InScribe Christian Writers’ Fellowship and The Word Guild. She and her husband of over 30 years live in Southwestern Ontario, Canada.
Steph’s goal is to nurture and inspire. She blogs at Steph Nickel’s Eclectic Interests. She also guest posts regularly on the topics of Christian living, writing, and fitness. You can visit her website, stephbethnickel.com, to learn more about her.
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