Mary, Asking How instead of What
No one gets to pick their parents. I was blessed beyond measure to have an excellent mother and father. I thank God for them very often and know now what they overcame to give me and my siblings a happy home. While we do not pick our parents, God did pick His Son’s parents (Yes, all Christians know that Joseph was not the biological parent of Jesus). Can you imagine how careful our Heavenly Father was when he chose Joseph and Mary to raise His Son? It is astounding how little we know about these wonderful people–but we know enough. We know enough to appreciate and admire them. We know enough to realize how well regarded they were by God to be chosen for this important task. As we consider Mary in these paragraphs, let your mind go back to her time and to her life.
Monday…It is a fact of life that people in the ANE (Ancient Near East) married young. Some still follow this practice. It is likely, but not certain, that Mary may have been a young woman of only 16-17 years. Take some time today and read “The Magnificat” which is found in Luke 1:46-55 and realize that this young woman possessed a great deal of wisdom and notice this, she knew her Old Testament scriptures. See how she alludes to or quotes many texts from the Hebrew Bible.
Tuesday…There is no such thing as an “illegitimate child”. The act that brought the child into the world may indeed be “illegitimate” in the sense of being sinful (doesn’t that sound archaic in light of today’s “morals”?), but every human is a legitimate being in the sense of worth and dignity (Genesis 1:26,27). For Mary, to be expecting a child out of wedlock was to be held up to public contempt at best. At worst, her life could have been over. Notice how God multiplied her joy because of her obedience and humility. Read that last sentence again. Isn’t that just like God?
Wednesday…What do you think Mary’s plans were for her own life? We cannot know, but we do know those plans were not to be. God had something much better and much bigger in mind for her. Proverbs 16:3 reminds us of a fantastic truth! Mary had dark days to be sure…pregnant at a young age, unmarried, a difficult journey to Bethlehem, etc., but she had committed her heart to the Lord and that made all the difference.
Thursday…Mary, above everyone else, absolutely knew who Jesus was. What do you think she had in mind for Him as He grew up? Now, we see her at the cross. I cannot imagine what she must have felt as she watched this beloved Son die. Luke 2:35 reminds us that she had been warned, but there is no way she could have known about the particulars of the cross. But the cross was on Friday…and Sunday was coming! When our dreams seem crushed, remember: it was one thing on Friday…but Sunday was coming.
Friday…My Catholic friends make a big mistake when they venerate Mary and pray to her. It is a mistake to believe she was without sin, was ‘assumed’ into Heaven and is the Mother of God (tricky theology here, admittedly, but most definitely not ‘the Mother of God’ as that is commonly understood). We Protestants made a mistake when we do not give Mary her due. There is much to learn from her pure, simple, strong, obedient life. Among those things to learn is this: she was willing to do what God asked of her. You will do well to read everything said in the Gospels about Mary! It will take less than one half hour.
by Dale Holzbauer