Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Mary Did You Know?

"I am the Lord's servant', Mary answered. 'May it be to me as you have said" Luke 1:38.

Mary did you know what you just got yourself into? Probably not.

What Jewish woman wouldn't jump at the chance to be the Messiah's mother? Israel once again found itself under the heel of a foreign government. This time it was Rome. Still, the Jews maintained their vigil. He will come...

So Mary, did you know:
- when you said "Yes" your betrothal to Joseph was in jeopardy? Seriously contemplating annulling their marital contract Joseph was willing to bypass more drastic measures. Pregnant with a child that wasn't his, Mary could be stoned for adultery. The alternative, life as a single mother with a bastard child would be very difficult. Did you know it would take an act of God to change Joseph's mind?

-your child, in order to fulfill prophecy, would have to be born in Bethlehem? Courtesy of Caesar Augustus, Mary then nine months pregnant, and Joseph made the 90-100 mile plus trip. Scripture never says she rode a donkey, and in that culture Joseph would have ridden it not her. From what we know the Shoe Leather Express was their means of transportation.

- your first baby would be born in a stable? Even if there were other family members, friends or a mid-wife around, having a baby anywhere but in familiar surroundings is difficult. How about the surprise, uninvited guests...the shepherds. Did you know you'd be entertaining company so soon after giving birth?

- what would happen at your son's consecration at the Temple? How exciting was it to hear the words that flowed from Simeon when he saw the long awaited Promised One? Wow! Oh, and by the way, "and a sword will pierce your own soul too" Luke 2:35."

What was it like getting a prophetic word like that? "Get thee behind me Satan!" Did you know if Simeon was talking literally or figuratively? Either way your future looked less than promising.

- you, Joseph and Jesus would have to skip town in the dead of night and live in Egypt for an undetermined time? Upon returning, did you have to face the stares of mothers who when learning the year and place of your son's birth wondered why their child was dead and yours wasn't?

- at one point your son would go missing? What mother wouldn't freak out at that. How do you tell God you managed to misplace His one and only Son? When you found Jesus in the Temple and chewed Him out for giving you such a scare, did you know His reaction would be, "Duh, what else do you think I'd be doing?" (my translation)?

- you would become disenchanted with your son's Messianic performance? Could you possible imagine that despite His miraculous conception, complete with an angelic visitation, you'd fall prey to hope deferred? Which was the more painful memory: watching Him die or remembering the time that you, along with His siblings, came to take Him home because you thought He was crazy?

- there would be no overthrow of Rome, no revolution, no physical kingdom established, no Queen Mother status? The Kingdom would come but not as expected.

Like every other parent, Mary had no idea what having this child held in store for either one of them. It took faith to believe that a no-name carpenter's son could rise up and rule the world. Then she watched Him die and all her preconceived notions about the Messiah bit the dust. He rose to her complete surprise and then He left for good. Did she know His life on earth would be so short? Did she ever wonder, "What did I get myself into...this isn't what I signed up for?"

Saying "Yes" to God's request was 'virgin' territory on two fronts: First, this was her first baby. Second, this was the first (and only) time that God took on human form and was born into our world. No advice from family or friends could adequately prepare her for the first. None existed at all for the second. Being willing to co-operate with God opened up a world of unknowns neither Mary nor anyone else could have anticipated in advance.

How about you? How has your relationship with God impacted your life in ways you never thought of? What instances have occurred where you thought He'd asked too much of you? How different is the reality of your life from the one you imagined it would be?

Saying, "Yes" to God rarely, if ever turns out the way we plan. That said, saying "No" deprives us of the most incredible journey we can experience. There's no guarantee it will be easy, more than likely it won't. We may think we were crazy for signing up in the first place, and we may have a sword pierce our soul. Mary wasn't the perfect  mother but we can look at her life and learn that no matter how much things don't turn out as anticipated, if we persevere to the end, they will turn out much better than we'd ever imagined.


  1. I read Max Lucado's devotion on my tablet the other day. I think you'd like to read it. http://todaysdevotions.com/max-lucado/10308-when-december-is-difficult.html

  2. Thanks for sharing, that is a great piece.