Mary had a little lamb, who’s life was pure as snow. And everywhere the Holy Spirit went, the lamb was sure to go.
One character from the Bible that has always baffled and inspired me is Mary, Jesus’s momma. She was a young girl, not married, pregnant, giving birth to the Messiah-like for reals?! No pressure there. The trust that she had and the faith she showed God is astounding and encouraging. This week I decided to dive into Mary and her minor contribution to the world (sarcasm intended).
We first see Mary’s story in the first book of the Gospels, Matthew. Matthew 1:18-24 sets the scene for the birth of Christ with the backstory. In verse 18, we see that this new character, Mary, is a virgin that became pregnant through the power of the Holy Spirit. It then addresses this miraculous occurrence again in verse 23. This passage in Matthew shows the point of view of Mary and her man Joseph (who is equally as much of a rock star as Mary). We read later that an angel comes to Joseph and says, “Hey, Joey, you gonna have a son and you’re going to name him Jesus, and he’s going to save everyone from there sins alright. K Cool.” (v.21).
Ok, just so we’re on the same page, here’s what we’ve got thus far: Mary is a virgin who is going to give birth to a son, but PLOT TWIST, she is a virgin and giving birth to this kid through the power of the Holy Spirit. But wait there’s more! This kid is going to save the world from their sins.
Trucking right along through the Gospels, we skip on over to Luke, where things get interesting. In Luke 1:26-38, the birth of Jesus is foretold. An angel named Gabriel appeared to Mary in a dream saying, “Greetings, favored woman! The Lord is with you!” (v. 28). He then says, “Don’t be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God! You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of this ancestor David. And he will reign over Israel forever; his kingdom will never end!” (v.30-33).
Ok so let’s get this straight, Mary has:
1-found favor with God
2-will conceive and give birth to a son named Jesus (as a virgin)
3-Jesus will be son of God
4-he will reign over Israel forever
Question 1: Why?
Question 2: How?
Why?: Because Mary found favor with God and Old Testament prophecy foretold the Savior’s birth from a virgin
How?: Luke 1:37-For nothing is impossible with God.
In response to this porcupine dropped in her lap, Mary elegantly replies, “I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.” (v. 38). God literally just came in and flipped this girl’s world upside down and side ways, putting her in harm’s way because she would be pregnant out of wedlock, and she simply wishes for it to be as God as said. I strive to have that kind of faith and obedience.
In verses 46-55, we read Mary’s praises to God for this miracle he has chosen to make her the epicenter of.
Mary responded, “Oh, how my soul praises the Lord. How my spirit rejoices in God my Savior!
For he took notice of his lowly servant girl, and from now on all generations will call me blessed.
For the Mighty One is holy, and has done great things for me.
He shows mercy from generation to generation to all who fear him.
His mighty arm has done tremendous things! He has scattered the proud and haughty ones.
He has brought down princes from their thrones and exalted the humble.
He has filled the hungry with good things and sent the rich away with empty hands.
He has helped his servant Israel and remembered to be merciful.
For he made this promise to our ancestors, to Abraham and his children forever.” Luke 1:46-55
Mary was chosen to do something great and she gratefully, humbly and obediently accepted the mission, all the while praising and validating God for His mightiness.
In Luke 2, we see the actual birth of Christ. Mary and Joseph had to travel to Bethlehem because of a consensus set in place by the king. The young couple went door to door to find a place of rest for Mary to give birth, and what they found was closed doors and no room for them. Mary literally had to give birth in a stable, where she wrapped her baby in strips of cloth and laid him in a feed trough to sleep. I could not imagine, having to give birth on a stable ground. I’m from Texas, I’ve raised animals, I know what barns look and smell like…even at their best, it ain’t pretty. I’ve never given birth, but from what I gather it is quite painful, therefore I imagine you would want to do this somewhere comfortable, and sitting on a hard, dirt ground would not be ideal. Plus, once you have birthed this sweet little baby who is going to do great things, having to wrap him in probably very dusty and dirty strips of cloth and lay him where the cows and camels were chowing down and have slobbered all over, would be torture to a new mom. I try to put this in perspective with my nieces and nephew and how I would feel if they had to sleep in a manger when they were first born. It’s a little heartbreaking, but adds to the story of Jesus and his humble nature.
I did a little research on Mary and historians believe that she was around the age of 13. To put that into perspective, she would be in about 8th grade if she were in America. Take yourselves back to middle school and put yourself in Mary and Joseph’s shoes. God’s just come and said you will give birth out of wedlock, therefore you will possibly be rejected by the town and your family because they think you’ve done something you should not have, when in reality you are innocent and been made part of a miracle and something incredibly important. God also said that you will give birth and raise His son, who will one day save everyone from the their sins, the Lamb of God (John 1:29). Ok, no pressure there, you’re just raising the Savior of the world!
I feel as though we overlook the importance of what Mary did and how big of a deal this all was. She was a young girl told by God to make a very big, important action that would change the world. She was a teenager who was asked a lot, but followed and was totally obedient. Not once do we see that she wrestled with God about this or questioned things or questioned why, she just said ok to what God had said. I would be wondering 1-why me, 2-how can I be pregnant, 3-how am I supposed to raise this child, 4-what are people going to say, and probably a slew of other irrational fears and questions. But, no, Mary showed more trust and obedience than just about anyone in the Bible. She showed grace and faithfulness. I wonder if she knew what all her son would do for the world, the impact she would make, the ministry her son would fulfill, or the sacrifice he would make. If she did know the sacrifice, how hard on her heart that must have been, knowing that her son would die a criminals death as an innocent man? Again, Mary is fascinating and admirable.
Mary had this little Lamb of God to be a gift to the world, without looking back or questioning. She simply validated God and praised Him and asked guidance as she raised her son to help him grown into the man that would save us all. She fully believed Luke 1:37 and that nothing was impossible with God. I strive to be obedient like Mary. I strive to faithful like her. And personally, I would like to thank Mary for having a little lamb.