Since we talked about Joseph yesterday, I thought it fitting to talk about Mary next. Most of what we know about Mary is in Luke 1:26-56.
Outside of this passage, we don’t know much about Mary, but we can assume that she was a common girl in Nazareth, working around the house doing her chores, and raised up to know the scriptures and the prophecies that were in them.
Luke doesn’t give us much of an introduction, just that the angel, Gabriel, appeared to her and told her she would be the mother of Jesus.
In this small passage, we can learn so much from Mary, the mother of Jesus.
Have a Heart that is Pure
“Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women.” Luke 1:28
Based on this verse, we can surmise that Mary must have been walking close to God. What is it, I’ve wondered, that made her highly favored?
Perhaps she lived out Micah 6:8:
“He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”
God chooses to use people based on their heart, not their status in the world. Just look at some of the people God chose to use to carry out his plan:
- David was just a shepherd boy, but then he was able to kill Goliath with a single stone, and then went on to become the King of Israel, and the forefather of Jesus.
- Rahab was a prostitute, but God used her to shelter the spies that came into Canaan to scope the place out. Because she hid them, God spared her and her family’s lives. She joined the tribes of Israel, married Obed, and is in the family line of Jesus.
- Paul was a Pharisee and hated Christians, and even had Christians killed, until Jesus approached him and set him on a new trajectory. He founded several churches and is responsible for 13 of the 27 New Testament books.
“Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7
Know Who’s Speaking to You
Mary used discernment when the angel spoke to her. It says in verse 29:
“But when she saw him, she was troubled… and considered what manner of greeting this was.”
Have you ever wondered if the voice you hear is God? Maybe it’s just your own voice, or the voice of others.
How do you discern what is from God and what is from other sources?
When the angel spoke to Mary, she was obviously concerned and maybe even a little bit afraid. Seeing this, the angel responded to reassure her:
“Don’t be afraid, Mary,” the angel told her, “for you have found favor with God! You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David. And he will reign over Israel forever; his Kingdom will never end!” Luke 1:30-33
It’s important that we do question what we read, see, or hear to make sure it truly is from God. In fact, there are several passages that warn us about “false prophets” that may mislead us, or even our own thoughts and imaginations.
“Beloved, do not believe every spirit but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.” John 4:1
In order to be able to discern if it is God who is speaking, you must know God’s character, which only comes from a knowledge and relationship with God.
It is apparent that Mary walked closely with God , and she quickly realized that Gabriel was indeed an angel of God.
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” Matthew 5:8
Question, but Don’t Doubt God
It’s only natural that Mary would have questions. After all, Gabriel just told her she had conceived a son, but she was still a virgin. She questioned,
“How can this be since I do not know a man?”
A couple days ago, we read earlier in this same chapter, about a similar scene when the angel visits Zacharias to deliver the news that his wife, who is beyond child-bearing years, will conceive a son. Zacharias also responds with a similar question.
“How can I be sure this will happen? I’m an old man now, and my wife is also well along in years?” Luke 1:18
Because of his response, he lost his ability to speak until the day the child was born.
Why was Mary allowed to question the angel in a similar fashion, but received a different response? The difference is subtle, but if you notice that Zacharias asks in doubt (how can I be sure) and Mary asks in a curious faith (how can this be, or how will this happen).
Mary knew better than to question the validity of what the angel said because she knew the angel of the Lord spoke truth.
Trust God’s Word
Because of Mary’s faith, she was called blessed.
Because of Mary’s faith, God made the impossible possible.
“The Holy Spirit will come upon you…. For with God all things are possible.” Luke 1:35-37
Have a Willing Heart
Mary acknowledged that she trusted God, and was ready to be used by Him, as she humbly said, “Let it be according to your word.”
God never forces us to do His work. He has given us a free will and the ability to make our own decisions.
While He may lead us in the direction we should go, He still gives us the choice to decide what we will do.
God chose Mary’s because He knew her heart and He knew she would allow God to use her to help carry out His plan.
“And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.” Luke1:45
If only I could be a little more like Mary. If only my heart could be more innocent and pure; if only I could be more sure of what God is telling me; if only I could have just a little more faith.
I think there are times that I am more like Zacharias, and it takes me just a little bit longer to realize that God is at work within me.
This Christmas season, I pray that we all draw closer to God so that we, too, can be found favorable by God. I pray that not only will we trust Him when speaks, but that we will also learn to recognize His voice. I pray that God will choose to use us to further His kingdom, and most of all that we would be willing and ready to be used by Him.
To follow the whole series of Journey to Christmas, click here: https://jenniferjabbour.com/the-journey-to-christmas-advent-series/