Mary: Always do what mother says…
In honor of Mother’s Day I wanted to share some of what the Bible says about the mother of Jesus Christ and to glean some wisdom from what Mary had to say in the pages of scripture.
Luke 1:26-28 (NKJV)
26 Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, 27 to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin's name was Mary. 28 And having come in, the angel said to her, "Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!"
Any Christian who has been to church in the month of December may recall the introduction of Mary and the Catholics will rejoice over the scriptural basis of a portion of the Hail Mary Prayer that comes from Luke 1:28.
The Hail Mary Prayer starts:
Full of Grace,
The Lord is with thee.
Blessed art thou among women,
and blessed is the fruit
of thy womb, Jesus.
The angel Gabriel testifies that the Lord is with Her and she is blessed among women! And I think we can all agree with the angel in His assessment Jesus as “blessed” and the prophecy that followed:
Luke 1:30-33 (NKJV)
30 Then the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name JESUS. 32 He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. 33 And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end."
That sounds great but Mary was no fool and had to ask how this would be possible since she was a virgin:
Luke 1:35-37 (NKJV)
35 And the angel answered and said to her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God. 36 Now indeed, Elizabeth your relative has also conceived a son in her old age; and this is now the sixth month for her who was called barren. 37 For with God nothing will be impossible."
Mary, showing what a shrewd mother she would be, “tested the spirit” but discerned that this was from God and by faith accepted His will for her life:
Luke 1:38 (NKJV)
38 Then Mary said, "Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word." And the angel departed from her.
Mary took what the angel Gabriele told here by faith and so visited Elizabeth who confirmed what the angel said and praised Mary for her faithfulness:
Luke 1:45 (NKJV)
45 Blessed is she who believed, for there will be a fulfillment of those things which were told her from the Lord."
To which, Mary’s response models that of a faithful mother who praises the Lord, rejoices in her faith, proclaims the truth of who God is, and gives thanks to God:
Luke 1:46-55 (NKJV)
46 And Mary said: "My soul magnifies the Lord, 47 And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior. 48 For He has regarded the lowly state of His maidservant; For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed. 49 For He who is mighty has done great things for me, And holy is His name. 50 And His mercy is on those who fear Him From generation to generation. 51 He has shown strength with His arm; He has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. 52 He has put down the mighty from their thrones, And exalted the lowly.53 He has filled the hungry with good things, And the rich He has sent away empty. 54 He has helped His servant Israel, In remembrance of His mercy, 55 As He spoke to our fathers, To Abraham and to his seed forever."
We next pick up Mary’s story in:
Luke 2:4-7 (NKJV)
4 Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, 5 to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child. 6 So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered. 7 And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
These verses tell us that Mary was a righteous and obedient wife, as she travelled with Joseph to Bethlehem to obey the law of the land, a decree of Caesar Augustus, to be registered. Joseph and Mary obeyed the laws of the state even though they may have had doubts or questions of their government’s legitimacy as they were living in faith to bring into the world a newborn king! Mothers tell their children to obey the law no matter what they may think of the politicians in charge.
These verses also show Mary’s resiliency of a mother as she made the best of their meager circumstances and cared for her child the best she could.
Angels proclaimed the coming of the Messiahs to shepherds who hurriedly proclaimed what the angels said to Joseph and Mary and to others. But Mary as a mother showed her patience and control over her emotions at this exciting news by quietly accepting their truth and waiting for their fulfillment:
Luke 2:19 (NKJV)
19 But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart.
Mary’s patience and heart as a mother would be tested as on the heels of a great prophecy spoken over Jesus, Simeon proclaimed to her:
Luke 2:34-35 (NKJV)
34 Then Simeon blessed them, and said to Mary His mother, "Behold, this Child is destined for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign which will be spoken against 35 (yes, a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed."
There isn’t much detail of Mary’s life with Christ but with such prophecies spoken over Him, Mary like all mothers had her soul invested in his care and was concerned for her child’s future.
And just like all mothers, Mary had to deal with the ups and downs of raising a child as 12-year-old Jesus went missing for three days while on a trip to Jerusalem at Passover, only to find him in the safety of the temple, discussing scripture with the teachers.
Luke 2:47-51 (NKJV)
47 And all who heard Him were astonished at His understanding and answers.
48 So when they saw Him, they were amazed; and His mother said to Him, "Son, why have You done this to us? Look, Your father and I have sought You anxiously."
49 And He said to them, "Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father's business?" 50 But they did not understand the statement which He spoke to them. 51 Then He went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was subject to them, but His mother kept all these things in her heart.
Apparently even sinless kids can drive you crazy, but even though this episode must have shocked and confused her, Mary knew her Son and grew calm when He was safely returned to her for she trusted that He was meant for great things.
She knew Jesus’ time would come and approximately 20 years later it did. Jesus’ earthly ministry began with a mother’s words of wisdom that we should all take to heart:
John 2:5 (NKJV)
5 His mother said to the servants, "Whatever He says to you, do it."
These words lead to the fulfillment of Christ’s first miracle and the rest is history.
John 2:11-12 (NKJV)
11 This beginning of signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee, and manifested His glory; and His disciples believed in Him.
Through the years of Christ’s teaching and miracles, and even at the hour of his death, Jesus never forgot the love for His mother and even made provision for her care.
John 19:25-27 (NKJV)
25 Now there stood by the cross of Jesus His mother, and His mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. 26 When Jesus therefore saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing by, He said to His mother, "Woman, behold your son!"
27 Then He said to the disciple, "Behold your mother!" And from that hour that disciple took her to his own home.
Christ’s example to us for today, regarding our mothers is to love and care for them as they loved and cared for us right up until the moment we are separated from each other’s lives.
The word of God also tells us to honor mothers:
Exodus 20:12 (NKJV)
12 "Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the LORD your God is giving you.
So today honor your mother by sharing the love they gave to you. Show them that their love for you wasn’t wasted and that it will live on in your life and the life of others.
And if we feel like we want to honor the virgin Mary, I think the best thing we can do is to follow her example by being faithful, resilient, patient, self-controlled, loving, and to tell others to follow Jesus. The wisest thing Mary ever said to us from scripture about her Son was: "Whatever He says to you, do it."