My dear fellow Proverbs 31 Women in Progress,
I am sorry for having been absent for a quite long week, whereas I committed to write at least 2 posts per week on my blog! However, I have a day-time job which becomes increasingly demanding as time passes by. But I promise I won’t neglect my webiste anymore!
Today, I will talk about a wonderful, exceptional woman in my Worthy Women Series. And her name is…
Mary, mother of Jesus!
Her life is so inspiring and I hope we’ll all be blessed by the messages her life story provides us.
Name: Mary (Miriam)
Children: Jesus (for sure). She might have had other children, but this is highly disputed between the different groups of Christianity
Her qualities: enthusiastic, faithful, willing to serve the Lord
Her joy: being entrusted with carrying God’s Word coming into flesh to this world
Her sadness: she was afraid about her son’s mission, knowing probably that he would have a sad end. She was deeply sad to see her son crucified and treated like a criminal
Mary was a young Israelite lady living in Nazareth, in Galilea (probably between 14 and 18 years old). We don’t have much information about her family background and lineage in the Bible. However, we know that she was Elizabeth’s cousin, whose husband served as a priest in the Temple.
She was certainly waiting for the Messiah, like every Israelite, who would come to save the people from the oppression of the Romans. She might have also heard about the miracle that happened in her cousin’ household, who was pregnant at 80!
Six months after John the Baptist’s birth was announced, the Lord sent the angel Gabriel to announce her that she was chosen among all women to bring forth the Savior of all nations:
“Greetings, you who are highly favored. The Lord is with you. Blessed are you among women” (Luke 1:28).
Mary was greatly impressed and disturbed at the beginning since she didn’t understand the meaning of those words. However, the angel reassured her and told her: “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. Listen, you will conceive in your womb and bear a Son and shall call His name JESUS. 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, and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever. And of His kingdom there will be no end”. (Luke 1:30-33).
This was a huge announcement! However, Mary asked how this could be since she was a Virgin and she never had intercourse with a man. She was a virtuous and honorable young lady betrothed to a man called Joseph, a descendant of King David.
The angel said: “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you. Therefore the Holy One who will be born will be called the Son of God. Listen, your cousin Elizabeth has also conceived a son in her old age. And this is the sixth month with her who was declared barren. For with God nothing will be impossible” (Luke 1: 35-37).
Mary did not hesitate any further. She willingly submitted to the Lord’s will, measuring her role in the human history with gravity and tact. She said: “I am the servant of the Lord. May it be unto me according to your word” (Luke 1: 38).
She soon became pregnant. However, when Joseph, her husband-to-be, noticed that she was pregnant, he was perplexed and didn’t want to marry her anymore, thinking that she might have prostituted herself with someone else. See, being betrothed during these times was like you were unofficially married.
However, as he was a dignified man who disliked scandal. He didn’t want to send her away with shouts and drama, which could have affected the reputation of Mary and her family’s as well. He just wanted to get rid of her discreetly and peacefully, and go on with this life.
Fortunately, God was watchful. He sent Gabriel again to Joseph to calm him: “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for He who is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. She will bear a Son, and you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins” (Matthew, 1: 20-21).
Joseph finally took Mary as his wife and took care of her. She might have been relieved to have a companion with whom she could take and share the huge task of raising Jesus to offer him to the world.
When the moment of delivrance approached, the Roman authorities decided to launch a census to count the people of Israel (and probably to calculate taxes). Joseph and Mary had to go back to Bethlehem for this administrative task. However, Mary started to have contractions. They went everywhere to find a suitable place, so that Mary could safely deliver her baby.
But nobody wanted to receive them. Yes, you heard. NOBOBY! They finally went to a stable and Mary delivered Jesus there. Can you imagine that no one wanted to attend the Savior’s birth! Imagine that today, the Duchess of Cambridge gets her contractions and needs a place to deliver her baby. It would be on the news headlines and a huge worldwide craze!
For baby Jesus, nothing of that happened. Of course, there was joy in Heaven and also on the earth, with the shepherds who adored the baby, as well as the Eastern Wise men. Those Wise men brought gifts with them as offerings: gold, incense and myrrh.
However, Mary’s life was not free from sufferings. When Joseph and herself went to the Temple of Jérusalem to present their son, a man named Simeon prophesied on him and told her: “Listen, this Child is destined to cause the fall and rising of many in Israel and to be a sign which will be spoken against,so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed. And a sword will pierce through your own soul also” (Luke 2:34-35).
Later, when King Herod noticed that the Wise men, from whom he expected information about the child, deceivd him and came back to their home through another road, he became really angry. What was the answer? He tried to kill Jesus but massacred many innocent children instead. Joseph and Mary had to flee in Egypt and stay there until Herod the Great died.
The Bible says that Mary kept all those things in her heart. I believe that she was meditating on her role and on the consequences of the acceptance of her mission in her life:
- facing dangers incurred by the birth of her baby, even if he was her greatest joy
- being prepared to cope with a precocious child who would always talk about His Father’s business, and whom she couldn’t understand sometimes
- being prepared to be mocked and pointed at by her family and friends – who thought that her son was probably crazy
Mary was indirectly at the origin of Jesus’s first miracle. During a wedding in Cana, wine was missing. She told him but he was reluctant to show His power at that moment. He even told her: “Woman, what does this have to do with Me? My hour has not yet come” (John 2:4).
As she knew what he was able to do, she told the servants to do whatever Jesus told them to do. And that’s how Jesus performed his first miracle – transforming water into wine – thanks to his mother’s insistence and support!
Later, when Jesus was arrested and crucified, Mary was at the bottom of the cross, crying but realizing that He was fulfilling His mission. When Jesus saw her grief, He asked his beloved disciple John to take care of her, which he did. Mary was also present during the Pentecost Day, praying for the Holy Spirit with the apostles.
We don’t know Mary’s aftermath after that time. It is believed that she died in Ephesus, while living with the apostle John.
- The Song of Mary (also called the Magnificat in Latin) is very similar to the Song of Hannah in the First Book of Samuel
- In the Catholic tradition, Mary is supposed to have ascended to Heaven after her death – however, nothing of the sort is recognized in the Bible
- The gifts offered to Jesus by the Wise men are highly symbolic: gold represents royalty, incense stands for Jesus’s divinity and myrrh announces His death and resurrection
What we can learn from Mary
Mary’s story shows a remarkable life. She is a woman of faith, character, and courage. We should, like Mary, be open to the Lord’s will and say “yes” when He calls us. Do you know what is your purpose in life? Did God call you and you refuse? Then, remember Mary and her eager will to accomplish the Lord’s will.
Moreover, as the angel Gabriel said, nothing is impossible to God. Mary is an example of how faith in God can be manifest in our lives. God truly loves humble people, who recognize their dependence on Him.
Mary’s attitude towards struggles is also admirable as she remains ladylike, courageous, and dignified. Nobody wants to welcome her to deliver her baby? No problem – a stable is just as fine. Is wine missing during the wedding party? No problem- her son will fix it. Does Herod try to kill baby Jesus? She doesn’t hesitate and follow God’s guidance – she flees to Egypt with her son and husband!
Do you agree with Mary’s life lessons? Please share your point of view!
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