If we ever think about Mary, the mother of Jesus, it is usually at Christmas. She was probably in her early teens when she was visited by the angel, Gabriel, and told the news that every woman in Israel hoped to hear – that her son would be Messiah, God’s promised Saviour. Her excitement was no doubt tempered by the realisation that he would be born out of wedlock with all the social disgrace that would entail. Even her fiancé Joseph would suspect her of being unfaithful and make plans to “divorce” her.
Despite all this, Mary’s reply to Gabriel is one of the bravest statements in the Bible and one we would do well to repeat:
Luke 1:38 NLT
Mary responded, “I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true”. And then the angel left her.
We all know the rest of the Christmas story: the trip to Bethlehem for the census; the failure to find a room as Mary goes into labour; how the child Jesus was born in a manger; the flight to Egypt to escape Herod’s slaughter of young boys; and the return to Nazareth after Herod’s death.
After that, Mary is mentioned only a few times in the gospels. She attended the wedding at Cana and persuaded Jesus it was time for his first miracle, the turning of water into wine. She followed Jesus’ ministry all the way to Jerusalem. We can only imagine her pain and disillusionment as she stood at the foot of the cross and watched her son – the one who was supposed to be Messiah and Saviour – crucified by the Romans at the behest of the Jewish religious authorities.
But despite her sorrow, we discover in Acts 1 that she remained in the upper room with the disciples after the resurrection, and that she probably participated in the miraculous coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost.
Mary is unquestionably a hero of our faith. She showed remarkable courage and faithfulness to God. Even if she had known all she would suffer as Jesus’ mother, we can be sure her response to Gabriel would have been the same. We can imitate her faith and her courage in obeying God’s call and being available to be used by him.
Think It Over
Think about the following:
• In what situation do you need to show courage rather than feel fear?