2000-12-28 - Mary's Reassurance
The Christmas Characters Series, Part 14
Luke 1:38 And Mary said, "Behold, the bondslave of the Lord; be it done to me according to your word." And the angel departed from her. (NAS)
So much has been written and said about this very special person, that I have hesitated to write myself. She is the source of much inspiration and controversy even between believers. Her genuine questions to Gabriel, who brought her the news that she would be the mother of the Messiah, show her mind. Her response to the answer given shows the depth of her heart and her faith.
She was probably around 12-14 years old when she was confronted by the angel Gabriel. She was betrothed to Joseph of Nazareth. Betrothal in this culture was like our engagement today in that it was a public commitment of two people to be married. But there was more to it in that it took a divorce decree to break the betrothal. So when Mary was found to be expecting a child, there were serious questions. When it was determined that it was not Joseph's child, it became an open and shut case of adultery. The punishment prescribed by the Law was stoning. The only thing that could spare Mary was Joseph agreeing to marry her in spite of the obvious facts.
Twice we are told that Mary treasured things in her heart. Once was just after Jesus' birth when the shepherds came and told her about their visitation of angels announcing the birth of the Messiah. The next time was 12 years later when Jesus was found in the Temple astounding the Elders and the Doctors of the Law after the family had visited Jerusalem for Passover. I believe that she treasured the reassurance of these times. When pressed by difficult circumstances many of us say, "If you only knew what I was going through..." We are often surprised to find out the person we're talking to has had a similar problem. Mary was truly in a unique situation. She had given birth to a child with no father as we understand it. No one else could share that with her. A few others had been notified by angels of their impending pregnancies - notably her cousin Elizabeth. All of these outstanding events in her young life must have flooded her mind from time to time. The treasures were confirmation to her that Jesus was Who she believed He was. Her faith was confirmed in her own heart and mind.
There are these times for us too. An answer to prayer when nothing else could resolve the situation is a strong confirmation. A new personal revelation in scripture, the joy of a son or daughter being born to you - a genuine miracle, the doctor coming to tell you that he doesn't understand it, but the test results are good, all of these are confirmations - some daily, some not - that God is in control and still of the Throne of Heaven. I have experienced all three of these confirmations. I treasure these things, especially when the world looks at me and tells me I'm wrong - that all of creation around me is some kind of cosmic accident and my faith is misplaced. In times like that, these confirmations help me look them back in the eye and tell them I know that I know that I know. It is not always explainable, but I am convinced beyond a shadow of human doubt that Jesus Christ was, and still is, exactly Who He claimed to be.
Mary lived quite a life. From the visit of Gabriel to the miracle at the wedding in Cana to the cross at Golgotha where Jesus commended her to John, her life was an amazing testament of her faith. I can imagine her sitting at night with John by the fire telling him stories about Jesus' birth and youth and Cana. But she was flesh and blood like the rest of us. Her faith in her Messiah was strong. Along the way God provided her with confirmations to her faith, just as He does for us. Mary's reaction was to treasure these things where moth and rust could not touch them. Her reaction is still instructive to us today.
Isa 26:3-4 "The steadfast of mind Thou wilt keep in perfect peace, Because he trusts in Thee. 4 "Trust in the LORD forever, For in GOD the LORD, we have an everlasting Rock. (NAS)
Lord Jesus - Help us to learn from Mary's example in taking the events that reassured her in her faith and holding them close, making a special place in her heart for them. These become supports for the walls of our faith, so when the wind of the world blows disbelief, You have provided us with strong shelter. Amen.
Grace & Peace,