Mary Mother of Jesus. My wife and I raised a girl. Our daughter became an amazing mother, but she wasn’t twelve or fourteen years old. It’s impossible for me to imagine our daughter, at this age, raising any child much less God. I wonder what sort of a grandfather I would have been to Jesus. Make Mary Mother of Jesus, and her situation real, not fictitious. It’s important if you are going to see Emmanuel coming to humanity and crushing the head of the serpent. It was not “fairy tale” easy. It was tough and complicated not only for young Mary mother of Jesus, but for everyone involved. We need an accurate picture of the teen to whom God sent Gabriel.
by Delbert Young
Mary Mother of Jesus (Luke 1:26-38)
Scriptures: Genesis 3:15; Isaiah 7:14; Luke 1:26; John 1:45; Luke 1:27; Luke 1:28-33; Luke 1:34; Luke 1:35-37; Luke 1:38; John 8:41; Mark 6:3; 1 Timothy 2:5
Today, we will attempt to meet the real Mary mother of Jesus. She’s not easy to meet, not because of her secrecy or identity. Rather because of the church and it’s aspect of her. She is, without doubt, the most significant woman in the history of the world. Her story actually begins with the first woman Eve. Adam and Eve were given a life of tremendous liberties and only one boundary – “you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.” They did eat, as the serpent deceived Eve. Rather than leaving Adam and Eve in death, God pursued them as he pursues each of us. In Genesis 3:15God gave what is theologically called the Proto-evangelium literally meaning the first gospel. The first gospel was actually spoken to the serpent.
Genesis 3:15 And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and HER SEED; it shall BRUISE THY HEAD, and thou shalt bruise his heel. [KJV]
Genesis 3:15 And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and HERS; HE WILL CRUSH YOUR HEAD, and you will strike his heel.” [NIV]
God was planning about Mary mother of Jesus from creation. It says HER SEED, not their (man and woman) seed. The word of God from the beginning of time said a woman would have a child who would crush the head of Satan. From that time forward, as God gave more and more information about that coming child, God’s people anticipated the birth of that son. Thousands of years later and about seven-hundred years BC, Isaiah wrote.
Isaiah 7:14 Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, A VIRGIN SHALL CONCEIVE, and bear a son, and shall call his name IMMANUEL. [KJV]
God said this event cannot be missed. A woman will be a virgin, but birth a son. He will be Immanuel – God is with us. Luke writing…
Luke 1:26 In the sixth month, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, [NIV]
Elizabeth was now in her sixth month of pregnancy with John the Baptist. God has time and births planned. Is that predestination? I think so. The same angel Gabriel who appeared to Zechariah came to Mary mother of Jesus in the then tiny unimportant town of Nazareth. Of the host of angels in the Bible we are only given the names of two – Gabriel (Dan 8:16; 9:21; Luk 1:19; 1:26) and Michael (Dan 10:13, 21; 12:1; Jud 1:9; Rev 12:7). When one of them shows up important stuff and warfare is happening in the heavenlies.
Nazareth was a tiny town, or better understood a village or community. Nazareth is not mentioned in the Old Testament or in any ancient writings of which I am aware prior to this. It was unimportant. No one important ever came to or from Nazareth before Jesus.
John 1:45 Philip found Nathanael and told him, “We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote – Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” “Nazareth! CAN ANYTHING GOOD COME FROM THERE?” Nathanael asked… [NIV]
Nazareth was basically a rest stop for travelers. Perhaps there were a hundred or two-hundred people at the most living in Nazareth. It was in the middle of nowhere around 70 miles north of Bethlehem and 80 plus miles north of Jerusalem. It was a tiny rural town of mostly farmers. It had one well that took care of the few people. Wood was the only source of heat. Houses were five-hundred or six-hundred square feet and frequently shared with livestock. There was no indoor plumbing or electricity. These were simple and peasant poor rural people, the majority of which were illiterate. Perhaps around 10% of men could read and few, if any women. This is where God sent the angel Gabriel – seemingly unimportant “Peasantville” Nazareth?
Luke 1:27 to a VIRGIN pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. THE VIRGIN’S NAME WAS MARY. [NIV]
We meet Mary and Joseph. We feel we know them and are reminded of them every Christmas season.
Who was Joseph? We’ve been told he was much older than Mary. The reason we are told that is after the genealogies in Luke chapter 3, Joseph is not mentioned again, but he was around. Joseph and Mary had several children after Jesus. We are told he died because he was much older than Mary, but the scriptures never say he was older. Surely, Joseph would be close to the age of Mary. Think! It would not been permissible for some old guy to marry a young teenage girl.
Men and women married extremely young then. Joseph was more likely under sixteen. He was poor, being a carpenter, probably the son of a carpenter, in a tiny town. To get a better image of Joseph, think of a young boy in high school, struggling with acne, who has not yet gotten his driver’s license, and who can not yet grow a beard. This is a more accurate image of the person who is going to marry Mary, and raise God.
Joseph probably knew Mary all his life. His family was neighbors. There would not be a lot of marrying options in Nazareth. Joseph was young and Joseph was pure.
Mary, the virgin, was pledged to be married to Joseph. The KJV says espoused, the Greek word mnesteuo meaning to give a souvenir (engagement present), i.e. betroth. We don’t understand all that because we do marriage differently in our society. It’s basically Joseph gave the father of Mary a present/souvenir, not for Mary, but for a pledge from Mary’s father that Mary would marry Joseph. Parents really decided who their daughters married in those days. The present was accepted meaning Mary’s father approved of Joseph and Mary was pledged to be married to a man named Joseph. The pledge had a set time, usually one year in which a house would be built, or living arrangements established, and the wedding planned.
The pledge or espousal was a big deal. It was made public. A priest or rabbi would bless the espousal with prayer and scripture. To terminate the espousal a divorce was necessary, which Joseph came close to doing (Mat 1:19).
Let’s talk about Mary. Mary would have been excited planning her wedding with her mom and girl friends during the time of pledge.
We don’t think about it, but Mary was most likely illiterate. I am in no way demeaning Mary the mother of my Lord Jesus Christ. I’m not saying she was not intelligent. I’m saying most likely she could not read or write. I’m attempting to remove the distortion to show us the truth of what God is showing us here. If we are going to sand away the varnish of the doctrines of men and know the certainty of what we have been taught (Luk 1:4), we’ve got to get past the distortion. It will become clearer and clearer to each of us how Jesus actually came in Incarnation. He came in a most lowly peasant poor way through a peasant poor girl to be raised by a peasant poor boy neither of which could have been able to read.
Mary’s knowledge of God would be what she heard in the synagogue, from parents, and others. Songs were a major roll in a person’s learning about God in those days. They literally sang the Psalms and other scriptures as Mary will do in a few lessons.
When it comes to Mary, Catholics are specialist. They have given us many pictures of Mary, but most are not accurate. I’ll show you what I mean. (PICTURES) Mary was not in her thirties wearing fine embroidered clothing and crowns circled by a halo sitting on a thrown holding a baby who was wearing fine clothing, a gold crown, and with perfect hair. It wasn’t even close to being like that. Mary would not recognize that person in the pictures. That image misses Immanuel and the truth of the Incarnation.
If you want a truthful and accurate image of Mary, think of a peasant girl in her early teens (12-14), wearing peasant clothes (probably dirty from gathering firewood, milking the goat, etc), with dirty feet, either barefoot or in sandals.
Mary was likely twelve to fourteen years old. Ponder that a moment. Think of a girl in middle school. It’s difficult to trust a 12 year old with homework. How about trusting one to birth and raise God? We won’t allow a 12-14 year old to drive a car, but God selected this young virgin girl to be the virgin woman to birth Immanuel. (PICTURES of twelve year olds)
Judy and I raised a girl. She became an amazing mother, but she wasn’t at 12. It’s impossible for me to imagine Bonnie, at twelve, raising any child much less God. (I wonder what sort of a grandfather I would have been to Jesus.) Make Mary and her situation real, not fictitious. It’s important if you are going to see Immanuel coming to humanity and crushing the head of the serpent. It was not “fairy tale” easy. It was tough and complicated not only for young Mary, but for everyone involved. Get an accurate picture of the teen to which God sent Gabriel.
Luke 1:28-33 The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are HIGHLY FAVORED! The Lord is with you.” Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, you have FOUND FAVOR WITH GOD. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be CALLED THE SON OF THE MOST HIGH. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; HIS KINGDOM WILL NEVER END.” [NIV]
It says Mary was greatly troubled when Gabriel popped in. Who would not be, but certainly a young teen would be. Mary was highly favored then Gabriel reiterated with you have found favor with God. Obviously Mary mother of Jesus had been seeking God’s favor. She must have been a very godly young girl.
We would think the Son of the most high would be birthed and grow in the healthiest, most affluent environment. He surely would receive the best care, most prominence, and best education possible, right? No. That’s what God wants everyone to see. It was Mary of Nazareth who was God’s sovereign choice. God elected and predestined Mary mother of Jesus. GOD TOOK A NOBODY FROM NOWHERE AND MADE HER THE MOST SIGNIFICANT WOMAN WHO EVER LIVED!
That’s what God does. He reaches into our “Nazareths” of life, puts his favor upon us through divine selection, and makes us something we could have never been. THAT’S WHY WE PRAISE HIM. THAT’S WHY WE SING. THAT’S WHY WE OFFER HIM OUR EVERYTHING… God has chosen you. Don’t blow it off. You are special. You have found favor.
Luke 1:34 “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?” [NIV]
Both Zechariah and Mary mother of Jesus questioned Gabriel with different responses. Why? Zechariah’s questioning was disbelief. “I’m old. Elizabeth is old. We can’t have children!” There are serious consequences to disbelief. Mary’s question was, “Tell me what to do next. I’m good with it, but I’m a virgin. I don’t know what to do.” We all have questions, not of disbelief, but explain to me what to do. My questions are “I want to understand. I want to do it correctly.”
Luke 1:35-37 The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be barren is in her sixth month. For nothing is impossible with God.”
The conception would be a miracle. It would not be some weird perverted sexual experience God had with a twelve year old. A VIRGIN SHALL CONCEIVE. It was a miracle of the Holy Spirit.
Do you believe nothing is impossible with God? Can God perform a miracle by simply touching a teenager with the Holy Spirit, place Immanuel within her to be born and raised in the depths of poverty and obscurity, but grow to change the world forever through his life and death? NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE WITH GOD. Our God is the God of nothing is impossible.
Here is the teenager Mary’s amazing reply.
Luke 1:38 “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May it be to me as you have said.” Then the angel left her. [NIV]
That’s all Gabriel and God needed to hear from a simple young girl from a simple life, but with a sincere faith and love for God. That’s all God needs from us. We don’t have to be educated or know etiquette. You don’t have to dress the greatest, have money, or be a person of prominence. You simply need a love for God that says, “I love you Lord and if that’s what you want me to do, I’ll do it.”
We have our own scripts for our lives and we want God to bless our script. If he doesn’t, or alters it, we get upset, pull away from God, stop coming to worship, etc. Mary had her script. She would be a virgin marrying and giving herself to Joseph, making a home, and have some babies. God said “New script.” Mary said, “Ok, whatever the Lord wants.” Are you willing to allow God to write you a new script?
We read the story every Christmas and set out the nativity scene. We sing the Christmas carols and it all sounds so sweet and simple, but it was rough and tough. Mary mother of Jesus decided to pay a tremendous price. She was ridiculed for her pregnancy. Even after Jesus was grown, we read an insinuation by the Jews. Jesus debating Pharisees said,
John 8:41 Ye do the deeds of your father. Then said they to him, We be not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God. [KJV]
Mark 6:3 Isn’t this the carpenter? Isn’t this Mary’s son and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas and Simon? Aren’t his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him. [NIV]
No mention of Joseph the father insinuates the ridicule of Mary. Mary probably went through the largest scandal Nazareth ever experienced. You all know the viciousness of a small town. Yet, Mary went with it. Do you think the things people said and did hurt her? How do you think her parents felt? I said that to say watch your mouth before you persecute someone. Instead of putting someone down, say, “I wonder what God is doing?”
Mary was extremely special, but the scriptures never teach us to pray to Mary mother of Jesus. That’s a doctrine of men and you need to know the certainty of the things you’ve been taught. Mary is not a co-mediator for us along with Jesus.
1 Timothy 2:5 For there is one God and ONE MEDIATOR between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, [NIV]
As significant as Mary was, she doesn’t connect us to God. Jesus does.
So, some doctrines overdo who Mary was. Others make way too little of Mary. Protestants seem to avoid her role, but of course they are “Protest-ants” and protest everything Catholics do. We don’t want to overdo Mary, but neither ignore or dishonor her. Obviously, she is special to God and chosen for a unique, one of a kind, purpose. Mary is not our object of faith, but is a tremendous example of faith. Every person should desire to have faith like Mary mother of Jesus. “I am the Lord’s servant, may it be to me as you have said.” I’ll do whatever you want no matter what. Can you say that?
Immanuel – God is with us – came to the most peasant of conditions to a no place to no bodies. The Jews had tremendous problems bowing to and receiving a peasant boy, coming from a peasant town, and birthed by an unwed mother as Immanuel. How about you? It’s easy today to bow to the Lord and King, but can you bow to the peasant? Unless you can bow to the peasant you can’t bow to the king because that’s who Immanuel is.
God looks upon anybody, even a no body from nowhere, and chooses them to do amazing things. I feel he did me. God has come to all of us like Mary. He desires to birth new life in each of us. We were virgin from the life of God, peasants far from God, God, by his Holy Spirit, comes upon us and overshadows us. We can be born again. The only thing we need to do is respond like Mary mother of Jesus. “I am the Lord’s servant, may it be to me as you have said.” It won’t be easy. There will be ridicule, but only God can take the no body in all of us and make someone special who can only do what you can do. Mary mother of Jesus.
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