MARY, THE MOTHER OF JESUS

 

Since today is motherís day, I thought we would take a look a Mary, who was one of the most privileged mothers to bring forth our Savior. Now, this actually a lesson that would be better suited for a mother to preach to a group of ladies because a mother would be able to relate to Mary more than a man could, but none the less, I will do my best to teach this lesson.

 

Starting at a young age, many girls dream about having lots of children. Many of them will pretend they are mothers as they take care of their stuffed animals or baby dolls. This in one area that us guys are completely different. I personally have never met a guy that grew up pretending to be a father. Instead, they were dreaming about being soldier, a fireman or some kind of superhero. Now, I am not saying that every boy was like this because not everybody fits in the same mold, but most boys do not think about being a father and having lots of children.

 

We can assume that Mary was probably like most girls who dreamed about married one day and having kids. When fantasy become reality, you can you imagine how happy a person becomes. As we try put ourselves in the mindset of Mary just imagine what was going through her mind when she got the following news:

 

Luke 1:26 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!"29 But when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and considered what manner of greeting this was.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."34 Then Mary said to the angel, "How can this be, since I do not know a man?"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."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.

 

We do not know the exact age of Mary, but most believe she was very young, but old enough to be betrothed. Betrothal was part of the marriage ceremony and it was considered just a binding as marriage itself. The custom was that the betrothal process would last for about a year, then the couple would come together and live under the same roof.

 

Mary was already on her way to having her dreams come true. Her marriage would be final and she would then begin trying to have children. Now, to the best of your ability imagine Mary sitting in house and then all of sudden an angel appears to her. First of all, it would be pretty overwhelming to have an angel in your presence, but the news his gives her is more shocking than the angelís visit.

 

He basically tells her that out of all the women God could have chose, He has chosen her to bring forth the Son of God, which would fulfill the prophecy of:

 

Isaiah 7:14 "Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.

 

The angel tells her to rejoice about this news. As you put yourself in her shoes, think about how hard this would be to process. While it would certainly be something to rejoice about, at that moment, that kind of news would be enough to send anyone in shock. Maryís response was:

 

29 But when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and considered what manner of greeting this was.

 

Here gears began to turn, as she thought about what this would mean. Now we are not told everything she was thinking about, but we can imagine the tug of war that was going on in her head. She is then reassured by the angel:

 

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."

 

I think most mothers go through a range of emotions as they think about baring a child under normal circumstances, such as thinking about how their bodies are going to change because of the pregnancy, the health of the baby, what it is going to be, getting things ready for the baby, hoping you will be good mother, etc. For you mothers that have went through those thoughts, now add to it the thought of baring the Son of God.

 

The angel does his best to encourage Mary not to be afraid, but to be happy that she has been chosen to bring the Son of God into the world. He lets her know before the child was even conceived that it would be a boy and that she is to call Him Jesus. He even lets here know that He will be great man that will have the throne of David and He will reign forever. This also made known to David by Nathaniel during his day in 2 Sam. 7:11-16.

 

Again, try to imagine how you would feel if you were in her place hearing all this for the first time. Knowing whose baby you would be caring and what He would mean to the world and that God chose you to bare that child would be enough to make you feel like you were going to pass out. As Mary thought about this, she said:

 

34 Then Mary said to the angel, "How can this be, since I do not know a man?"

 

Mary was a virgin and I donít think that she was doubting that God would make her be with child, but she had no idea how it could happen outside the normal way. Then angel explains:

 

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."

 

Think about how you would receive this explanation. Knowing that the Holy Spirit would overshadow you and that you would cause you to become pregnant with the Son of God would be mind boggling. As hard as that would be to comprehend the angel gives Elizabeth as a example of nothing is impossible for God. Apparently, that was a good enough explanation for Mary because we read:

 

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.

Though I am sure Mary was still in shock about this news, we see her faith shine through as she accepts this honor bestowed on her. Next we read:

 

Luke 1:39 Now Mary arose in those days and went into the hill country with haste, to a city of Judah,40 and entered the house of Zacharias and greeted Elizabeth.

 

As I read this, I can just imagine how excited Mary was to share her news with Elizabeth especial since she would understand this news more than anyone since God made it possible for her to bare a child as well.

 

Luke 1:41 And it happened, when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, that the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.42 Then she spoke out with a loud voice and said, "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!43 "But why is this granted to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?44 "For indeed, as soon as the voice of your greeting sounded in my ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy.45 "Blessed is she who believed, for there will be a fulfillment of those things which were told her from the Lord."

Mary was already full of anticipation to see Elizabeth, then she got more than she bargained for because Elizabeth speaking by means of the Holy Spirit confirmed once again that Mary was the mother of the Son of God. Hearing this proclamation caused Mary to praise God:

 

Luke 1:46 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."56 And Mary remained with her about three months, and returned to her house.

 

The beautiful words were poured from Maryís heart. She was so happy and thankful that she could be the mother of Jesus. I am sure there have been mothers that have poured out their hearts to God when they were with child. All mothers and fathers alike should praise God and thank Him when we are able to bring a child into this earth.

 

Now there is something we do not know about the timeline. We do know that Mary was with Elizabeth for the first 3 months of pregnancy, but exactly how and when Joseph was informed about Maryís pregnancy, I am not for certain. However, I am thinking it was probably sometime after she got back home.

 

Whenever or however Joseph was told it, this would be another difficult hurdle to face for Mary and for Joseph. Here is what we learn from Scripture:

 

Matthew 1:18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit.19 Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly.20 But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, "Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit.21 "And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins."22 So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying:23 "Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel," which is translated, "God with us."24 Then Joseph, being aroused from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took to him his wife,25 and did not know her till she had brought forth her firstborn Son. And he called His name JESUS.

 

Like I said, I do not know how Joseph found out the news, but just imagine if Mary had tried to tell him what had happened. It would be hard pill to swallow because he would naturally assume that she had broke her purity with another man. Joseph, was going to let her off easy because he was going to put her away privately. The reason I say he was letting her off easy was because the Law of Moses said that such an act was worthy of death:

 

Deuteronomy 22:23 " If a young woman who is a virgin is betrothed to a husband, and a man finds her in the city and lies with her,24 "then you shall bring them both out to the gate of that city, and you shall stone them to death with stones, the young woman because she did not cry out in the city, and the man because he humbled his neighbor's wife; so you shall put away the evil from among you.

 

No doubt Mary knew about this law and you could imagine how scared she would be thinking about it. There was one sure way that Joseph would be convinced of such a story and that was by the angel coming to him and telling it was true. This was proof enough for him, so he took her as his wife.

 

Now that that issue is taken care of, Mary and Joseph would grow more curious each day about what this child would look like when He was born. She would experience all the things all the other women do during her pregnancy such as having strange cravings for certain foods and enjoying feeling the baby move inside her.

 

Since Caesar Augustus made a decree to take a census this caused Joseph and Mary to go to Bethlehem, where Jesus would be born, which would fulfill the prophecy of:

 

Micah 5:2 " But you, Bethlehem Ö out of you shall come forth to Me The One to be Ruler in Israel, Whose goings forth are from of old, From everlasting."

 

Mary gave birth to Jesus. Again this is only something a mother can fully understand and appreciate. After 9 Ĺ of months of caring this child around in her womb, she is finally able to see his beautiful face and hold him in her arms. It a wonderful site to see the maternal bond between a mother and child. While I am sure she would have liked to have had better quarters for her son than a manger, like most mothers she would just be happy to have finally have her son with her.

 

Any mother or father would do whatever it takes to protect their children and Mary and Joseph were no different. Later on, Joseph was warned by an angel about the Heordís plans to kill Jesus, so they packed up and left and followed the instructions of God. No doubt, both parents felt afraid from their Son, but at the same time they could feel confident because they knew that God was there helping them along the way.

 

Luke says:

 

Luke 2:40 And the Child grew and became strong in spirit, filled with wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him.

 

There is nothing more rewarding to God fearing parents than for their children to grow and become strong in their faith and be full of wisdom and grace. Every Christian parent should have this desire. We are not given much detail about Jesusí childhood, but we are given some information about it in:

 

Luke 2:41 His parents went to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of the Passover.42 And when He was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem according to the custom of the feast.43 When they had finished the days, as they returned, the Boy Jesus lingered behind in Jerusalem. And Joseph and His mother did not know it;44 but supposing Him to have been in the company, they went a day's journey, and sought Him among their relatives and acquaintances.45 So when they did not find Him, they returned to Jerusalem, seeking Him.46 Now so it was that after three days they found Him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, both listening to them and asking them questions.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.52 And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.

 

We can see that his parents were bringing Jesus up in the way of the Lord. They were keeping the Passover as they were suppose to. Again, every parent should be doing what they can to show their children how important it is to keep the commandments of God. Most parents, especially mothers, have a real fear of losing their child. Add on top this, knowing your child is the Son of God. I am sure some of us have experienced that feeling that comes when you cannot find your child for a moment, well Mary and Joseph experienced this same feeling when they could not find Jesus, but it took them 3 days to find Him.

 

Of course, we learn that Jesus was amazing the teachers there at the temple with His wisdom especial since He was just a child. Jesus left with His parents and submitted to them. Jesusí example teaches all children that they too should always respect their parents just as Paul teaches:

 

Ephesians 6:1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.2 "Honor your father and mother," which is the first commandment with promise:3 "that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth."

 

After Jesus began His ministry and left His home, we can imagine how proud his mother was of Him. We do not for sure, but most believe that Joseph died because he not mentioned later on. Of course, Jesus was not Maryís only son she had other sons and daughters as well. As most mothers do, I am sure she loved all them the same.

 

One last thing I want to look at about the life of Mary is that she had to face one more challenge in her life that no mother or father wants to experience and that is the death of a child. Even worse, she saw it happening with own eyes as He was being crucified on the cross.

 

John 19:25 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.

 

It is bad enough when a child dies from natural causes or from an accident, but to see your child suffering at the hands of others when he did not deserve it would rip you heart into pieces. You would feel helpless because there would be nothing you could do about it. Even with Jesus being in pain, He wanted to make sure His mother would be taken care of by this disciple, which shows that Joseph was defiantly dead at this time or Jesus would not have asked His disciple to take care of His mother.

 

While she had to experience this horrible site of her Son suffering and dying, she would later get to rejoice knowing that He was raised from the dead. Because of Jesusí resurrection it shows us that we all have hope. Even if we lose child, we can take comfort in knowing that if they way faithful to God and we are faithful to God, that we will see them again on the other side. Life went on for Mary and we find her helping Jesus disciples in Acts 1.

 

As we have looked at the life of Mary and what motherhood meant for her. We can certainly see how important our mothers are and what role they play in our lives. We should respect them and fathers as well. Mothers and fathers alike should always to their best to raise their children in the way of Lord and be good example for them. Let always be thankful for our mothers and fathers, but especial today on Motherís day, let us show our appreciation for our mothers.