Saturday, January 16, 2016
Triplets of Submission to God’s Will: Mary, Mother of Jesus
God’s plan for Mary, mother of Jesus, allowed His Son to fulfill details of the Messianic prophecy through Mary’s genealogy, residence, and betrothal. Man looks on the outward appearance, whereas God looks at the heart (1 Samuel 16:7). Mary’s community may have perceived her as adulterous (Matthew 1:18-19), simple (John 1:42), and weak, but God knew her purity, Godly wisdom, and strength in Him.
One of the most miraculous prophecies concerning Jesus Christ, and proving His divinity, was His virgin birth (Matthew 1:18-20; Luke 1:27). Mary herself said she was a virgin (Luke 1:34); the angel of the Lord told Joseph that Mary was a virgin (Matthew 1: 20), and Joseph protected Mary’s virginity by not consummating their marriage until after Jesus was born (Matthew 1: 25)
The prophet Isaiah had foretold that a virgin would conceive, and bear a son, and call his name Immanuel (Isaiah 7:14). In the New Testament, the angel of the Lord repeated the three parts of this prophecy, adding the three-word meaning of Emmanuel: God with us (Matthew 1:23). The third pronouncement of this prophecy was by the angel Gabriel, who explained to Mary that the Holy Ghost would come upon her, that the power of the Highest would overshadow her, and that the holy thing which would be born of her would be called the Son of God (Luke 1:35).
Mary was to call her son Jesus (Yeshua; God saves), Who would be great, and be called the Son of the Highest. The Lord God would give Him the throne of His father David, and He would reign over the house of Jacob forever; and His kingdom would never end (Luke 1:31-33).
How did Mary react to this astounding news, and to Gabriel telling her not to fear, for she had found favor with God and was blessed among women? With humility (Luke 1:28-33), obedience (Luke 1:38-39), and faith (Luke 1:45). Her Godly wisdom was therefore profound, for she knew her utter dependence on Almighty God (Luke 1:48-49); she followed His Word (Luke 1:38); and she believed that He would keep His promises (Luke 1:45).
Like Mary, may we always remember that we are nothing without Him (Psalm 8:3-4: John 15:5), that His Word will guide us if we obey it (Psalm 119:105; Proverbs 3:5-6), and that without faith, it is impossible to please Him (Hebrews 11:6).
As the handmaiden of the Lord, Mary submitted to His perfect plan; immediately sought out her cousin Elisabeth (Luke 1:38-40), whom the angel had told her was blessed by God to be pregnant in her very old age (Luke 1:36-37); and sang God’s praises as soon as she arrived (Luke 1:46-55).
Mary’s song of praise to her Lord, God, and Saviour (Luke 1:46-47), often referred to as the Magnificat, echoes several elements of Isaiah’s prophecies concerning Jesus Christ. The Magnificat also resembles Hannah’s song of praise to God for granting her a son (1 Samuel 2:1-10), so that there are three recorded praise testimonies glorifying God’s gift of a Saviour: those of Isaiah, Hannah, and Mary.
Mary’s hymn praised God, for He would raise up the people of Israel over their enemies (Isaiah 49:6; 1 Samuel 2:1,10; Luke 1:54); give strength to the weak (Isaiah 49:4-5; 1 Samuel 2:7-8; Luke 1:48-49), and fill the hungry (Isaiah 49:9-10; Luke 1:53), for He is the Lord, the Redeemer of Israel, and his Holy One (Isaiah 49:7; 1 Samuel 2:1-2,10).
Through Holy Spirit inspiration, Isaiah had foretold that the Messiah would be the servant of God even from the womb (Isaiah 49:5), the Light (salvation) of the Gentiles (Isaiah 42:6), and Salvation for Israel (Isaiah 49:6). The angel repeated to Mary that Jesus would be conceived by the Holy Spirit in her womb, and it is fitting that the mother of God’s servant would herself have a servant’s heart (Luke 1:38), as should all who follow Him (Philippians 2:5-8).
Mary may have known these prophesies of Isaiah from hearing them in the temple, but we are also told that she was reminded of them by Simeon, who told Mary and Joseph that the young Child was salvation to all people, a light for the Gentiles, and the glory of Israel, God’s people (Luke 2:30-33).
Even before Jesus is born, Scripture gives us three glimpses into Mary’s life: when the angel Gabriel appears to her (Luke 1:26-38); when she visits Elizabeth for three months (Luke 1:56); and when she travels with Joseph to Bethlehem, only to learn that there is no room for them in the inn (Luke 2:7).
Do you have room for Jesus Christ in your life today? Have you placed your faith in His death, burial and resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:1-4) as the only Way (John 14:6) to Heaven? If you are born again (John 3:3-8), are you willing to submit your will to His and let Him be Lord of your whole life? May we follow Mary’s example of submission, praise and faith in His perfect plan!
© 2016 Laurie Collett