Mary, the mother of my Lord

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Luke 1: 26-45
26 In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, 27 to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin's name was Mary.

28 And he came to her and said, "Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!"

29 But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be.

30 And the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. 32 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, 33 and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end."

34 And Mary said to the angel, "How will this be, since I am a virgin?"

35 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.

36 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. 37 For nothing will be impossible with God."
38 And Mary said, "Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word." And the angel departed from her.

39 In those days Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a town in Judah, 40 and she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth.

41 And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, 42 and she exclaimed with a loud cry, "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! 43 And why is this granted to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44 For behold, when the sound of your greeting came to my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. 45 And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord."

When I read this I wondered how long would Mary had thought about what the angel said to her before she said, "Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word." It is a big - more than big! - thing that is confronting her and she is amazing to have received it with such grace. How have I been receiving the lessons and hardship that would mould me to be more like Christ?

Heb 12:11 For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

Then I wondered about how the news of Mary being pregnant out of marriage fare with the people then. Would the people believe her? God being perfect had it all planned. Elizabeth who became pregnant with John the Baptist proclaimed Him even before John was born. He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him (John 1:7). Several days after Mary's pregnancy announcement by the angel Gabriel, she went to meet Elizabeth. Elizabeth filled with the Holy Spirit proclaimed Mary as the mother of her Lord. Mary's account is now supported by Elizabeth, the wife of Zechariah, a Jewish priest.

Glory to God in the highest heavens,
and peace on earth to all whom God favours!
~ Luke 2:14

Picture by Merlijn Enserink

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3 comment(s)

  1. Maeghan,

    My pastor was talking on this subject last week, and as occasionally happens, I take issue with his premise (I know that's a shock: since when am I ever outspoken? ). ~(8(|) doh! I'm going to vent a little here, so read it in the light that I am spilling out what is on mind right now.

    His premise was that Mary walked in faith while Joseph walked in fear and doubt: basically that Mary was chosen, while Joseph was unwillingly dragged along.

    I think that this is really in error. Firstly Joseph was chosen too, but unlike Mary, he had no say so: this was put on him by Mary saying 'Make it as you say'. So my pastor is kind of right about the dragged along part, though he was a willing 'dragee'.

    Secondly, Joseph, upon hearing the news, was a good man and rather than bring shame to his fiance resolved to 'quietly' divorce her. In the natural, it appeared that Mary had already broken her vowels and Joseph must have been heartbroken, yet his love would not allow her to be hurt further. I wonder if he even heard the words 'I was visited by an Angel?'. I must admit, this was a more righteous man than I might have been in this situation.

    Side note: can you imagine what ran through Mary's head while walking to tell Joseph about this? Wow! It pains me to think about how she was going to break this news to her husband to be. She was, on all levels, brave.

    So Joseph is visited by an angel in a dream: not in the flesh. And this caused him to leap into action. This isn't the only time, he acted upon a dream, later, when Herod was in a jealous rage, Joseph was waken in the middle of the night and moved his family to Egypt by the prompting of a dream.

    Joseph raised Jesus as His own. And my bet was that he was a loving father.

    My biggest problem with what he said was that throughout Mary's life, she knew what happened to her, she could touch Jesus and know that no man 'knew' her: it was the covering of the Holy Spirit. Joseph, on the other hand, had but a dream and the word of his fiance/wife. Now I ask you: which one had larger faith?

    My wife brought up another good point. I wonder if the angel had visited anyone else before Mary and she was the first one to say 'I am the Lord's servant, let it be as you say'? Mary was amazing too.

    My intent is not to bring down Mary, but rather, to raise Joseph to a spot that he clearly earned: this is something my pastor missed. Both Mary and Joseph truly were remarkable people and the story is simply amazing. I believe God chose parents to raise Jesus, not just Mary. And Joseph was every bit as suited to the task as Mary herself was.

    Okay I feel better now... have a great day.

    God Bless

  2. Hi Maeghan,

    Thanks for your reflection today!

    Doug, Your pastor must agree with you now - you brought up some great points!

  3. Good observation Doug, thanks for sharing it. It made me contemplate further about the conception of Jesus from the Holy Spirit, from Joseph's point of view.

    Side note: our Christmas musical this year features a full Joseph's song and a four-line Mary's song, which is a good change :) Song title - Little Yeshua. (Anyway, I have been so busy with the musical, I have not posted in days! Lotsa catching up to do.)

    Reading Matthew with Luke, and the sequence of events, Mary had already met Gabriel and told Joseph about her being pregnant from the Holy Spirit. Mary told Joseph about her encounter with the angel. Joseph was disturbed and mulled over it so much so that he thought with Mary being pregnant with the Holy Spirit, he must be out of the picture now and decided to divorce her but quietly to preserve her dignity. Then he must have fell asleep. He had a dream of an angel saying that it was okay for him to marry Mary. He is still in the picture and needed for the fulfilment of the Scriptures. He is to be Jesus' earthly father - to bring Him up in the Jewish family and faith.

    I feel that Joseph is being given a very important duty to be the father of the Saviour of the world. With the Jewish family centering on the son, firstborn no less, Joseph's role in Christ becoming flesh is very important.

    So I am with you Doug that Joseph did not walk in fear or doubt. I will not even say he was dragged into it. As much as Mary was chosen, Joseph was chosen too - only that Mary being a woman who has to biologically carry the Child, she is only seen to be more in faith.

    And I believe that Matthew's simple mention of this: "Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife" is as powerful as Luke's mention of Mary's "I am the Lord's servant, may it be to me as you have said."

    Well, it we think about it, what else could Luke have said about Mary -- she went along her way and gave birth to a son? Possible but he has to mention Elizabeth proclaiming the Baby in her first. And I think Luke is more a story teller than Matthew with dialogues and songs, while Matthew is simple descriptives with only the angels' word in spoken form but more of a monologue.

    Mary is chosen to bear, Joseph is chosen to bring up. They are both blessed.

    However, what I found odd is that Joseph is not mentioned later as much as Mary.

    I checked Easton Bible Dictionary: "He is last mentioned in connection with the journey to Jerusalem, when Jesus was twelve years old. It is probable that he died before Jesus entered on his public ministry. This is concluded from the fact that Mary only was present at the marriage feast in Cana of Galilee. His name does not appear in connection with the scenes of the crucifixion along with that of Mary."

    I must blog about this today :) but not until I catch up with the last 2 days. I will then have more time to mull over it. Thanks again for your thoughts, Doug.

    God bless!