Motherhood is a painful privilege. Young Mary of Nazareth had the unique privilege of being mother to the very Son of God. Yet the pains and pleasures of her motherhood can be understood by mothers everywhere. Mary was the only human present at Jesus’ birth who also witnessed his death. She saw him arrive as her baby son, and she watched him die as her Saviour.
Until Gabriel’s unexpected visit, Mary’s life was quite satisfactory. She had recently become engaged to a carpenter, Joseph, and was anticipating married life. But her life was about to change for ever.
Angels don’t usually make appointments before visiting. As if she were being congratulated for winning the grand prize in a contest she had never entered. Mary found the angel’s greeting puzzling and his presence frightening. What she heard next was the news almost every women in Israel hoped to hear – that her child would be the Messiah, God’s promised Saviour. Mary did not doubt the message, but rather asked how pregnancy would be possible. Gabriel told her the baby would be God’s Son. Her answer was the one God waits in vain to hear from so many other people: “I am the Lord’s servant…. May it be to me as you have said” (Luke 1:38). Later, her song of joy shows us how well she knew God, for her thoughts were filled with his words from the Old Testament.
Within a few weeks of his birth, Jesus was taken to the temple to be dedicated to God. There Joseph and Mary were met by two devout people, Simeon and Anna, who recognised the child as the Messiah and praised God. Simeon directed some words to Mary that must have come to her mind many times in the years that followed: “A sword will pierce your own soul” (Luke 2:35). A big part of her painful privilege of motherhood would be to see her son rejected and crucified by the people he came to save.
We can imagine that even if she had known all she would suffer as Jesus’ mother, Mary would still have given the same response. Are you, like Mary, available to be used by God?
Strengths and accomplishments:
- The mother of Jesus, the Messiah
- The one human who was with Jesus from birth to death
- Willing to be available to God
- Knew and applied Old Testament Scriptures
Lessons from her life:
- God’s best servants are often ordinary people available to him
- God’s plans involve extraordinary events in ordinary people’s live
- A person’s character is revealed by his or her response to the unexpected
- Where: Nazareth, Bethlehem
- Occupation: Housewife
- Relatives: Husband: Joseph. Relatives: Zechariah and Elizabeth. Children: Jesus, James, Joseph, Judas, Simon, and daughters
Key verses: “ ‘I am the Lord’s servant,’ Mary answered. ‘May it be to me as you have said.’ Then the angel left her” (Luke 1:38).
Mary’s story is told throughout the Gospels. She is also mentioned in Acts 1:14.