December 14, 2016
(All scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated.)
Our featured Scripture is Luke 1:30 through 33, and verse 38:
Then the angel [Gabriel] said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you
have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb
and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name JESUS. He will be great,
and will be called the Son of the Highest, and the Lord God will give 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.” …Then Mary said, “Be-
hold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.”
Thus begins the Christmas story in our Bible. But actually, it began long before. The whole Word of God is centered on Jesus Christ! After all, “…His name is called the Word of God.” (Revelation 19:13 – see also John 1:1, 14). The first promise of His coming is just 71 verses into Genesis! (See Genesis 3:15).
But we are emphasizing Mary. She was young. Many scholars believe she may have been only 12 to 15 years of age! It was the Jewish custom of those New Testament days for girls to marry very young. She must have been fearfully astonished when the angel appeared to her. It tells us in Luke 1:28 and 29, “…the angel said to her, ‘Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!’ But when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying….” Troubled, in Strong’s Greek Dictionary, means “to disturb wholly, that is, agitate (with alarm).” There were several things she would be facing that would disturb her and cause her alarm:
• She was an unmarried virgin! (See Luke 1:27). This, by the way, perfectly fulfilled Isaiah 7:14: “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.” In Matthew 1:23 it says, “…Immanuel [means]…‘God with us.’ ” What would people think of her being pregnant?
• She was the daughter of Joachim and Anna, according to The Proto-Evangelion of James, an apocryphal writing from about 150 A.D. They were a godly couple who raised their daughter to be a righteous young lady. What would her parents’ reaction be?
• Also, we are told in Luke 1:27, “…Mary…was…betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph…” (see also Matthew 1:18). Joseph was a godly man who dearly loved Mary. And so binding was a betrothal in those days that it was considered a union to be broken only by divorce! Joseph, at the time of this betrothal, is even called her husband in Matthew 1:28! What would he think? What would he do?
• Mary was facing a possible death sentence! The strict Jewish Old Testament law reads thus in Leviticus 20:10: “…the adulterer and the adulteress…shall surely be put to death.”
Facing misunderstanding, ostracism, heartbreak, and even death – Mary humbly acquiesced.
We now come to The Cradle, the time of Jesus’ birth. We don’t know about Mary’s parents, or the town folk of Nazareth, but Joseph had come to believe his betrothed – even though it took an angelic visit to do it! (See Matthew 1:19-25). And Mary knew this child was special! The angel had told her:
He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord
God will give 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.
(Luke 1:32 and 33).
I’m sure Joseph had also told his betrothed what Gabriel had said to him: “...that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:20 and 21).
What can we learn from Mary?
• First of all, those of non-Catholic faith do not emphasize and honor her enough! Mary was an amazing woman! According to the Scriptures, she never doubted God or lost her faith! (The possible exception is recorded in Mark 3:21, and 31 through 33). She maintained constant faith in her Son! And since (according to Romans 10:17) “…faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God…,” Mary must have been a woman who was constantly in the Scriptures! (see Deuteronomy 6:7-9; 11:18-21; Psalm 1:2; Colossians 3:16). Are you such a person of the Word and of faith?
• She should not be held so high as to be worshiped! The last mention of Mary is in Acts 1:14, where she and many others “…continued with one accord in prayer and supplication…” in the upper room. She is not mentioned once in the New Testament outside of the gospels and this one reference in Acts!
We need to heed what the writer of Hebrews records in Hebrews 1:6: “Let all the angels of God worship [Jesus]….” If all angels are to worship Him, should not we? And what is worship? It is described in Psalm 95:6 through 8:
O come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the LORD our
Maker. For He is our God, and we are the people of His pasture, and the
sheep of His hand. Today if you will hear His voice: Do not harden your
To worship Jesus is to totally acknowledge Him as Lord – to fully obey Him!
• Mary is the woman who most closely fits the description of the virtuous wife in Proverbs 31:16 through 31. Women – as well as men – ought to emulate the characteristics so described!
There is much more that could be said about Mary, but this is enough for today.