No. 7 – Mary the Virgin – blessed among all womenWatch the Video
Like Rebekah, in the study No.05, Mary started her young life totally sold out to God and submitted to His will and calling on her life.
To be the mother of the Messiah was the dream of every young Jewish girl. Although even in her wildest dreams she could never have thought that the circumstances would have been as they were, which makes her response even more remarkable.
The angel Gabriel came to Nazareth to visit Mary to give her the news that despite her position in society, her poverty and her youth God wanted to use her to carry His Son. The awesomeness of Gabriel’s visit was in the first instance shocking but Mary recovered her composure after his reassurance of God’s favour, and she managed to listen to the announcement. She did not doubt the angel Gabriel’s words but she was interested to know exactly how God planned for her to become pregnant.
Why a Virgin?
The idea of a virgin becoming pregnant by the Holy Spirit is hard for us to accept, let alone understand, but if we know the character of God as the creator of the Universe, it is no problem to Him to create a baby in a virgin’s womb. This is one of the fundamental truths of our faith in Jesus, Son of God. It was vital that Jesus was born to a virgin so that sin (that entered the world through Adam) did not have any part of Jesus. He was born holy, just as Adam was created sinless. So Jesus obeyed God and so is able to be our substitute for sin’s consequences and make us acceptable to God, Romans 5:14-19; Galatians 4:4. Don’t question the Truth of the statement; just rejoice about the amazing fact as the Holy Spirit reveals it to you. Jesus entered the world in a holy womb and when He died He was placed in a holy tomb where no one had been before, John 19:41!
Mary was a girl who knew God through the books of Moses, the Psalms and the writings of the prophets. She knew that the Messiah had been promised first to Adam (Genesis 3:15) then more clearly to Abraham, Acts 3:25; Galatians 3:16. She had a deep reverence for God in her heart because she knew what He had done in the history of her people, for the Nation and for individuals. This unmarried teenage girl risked disaster by becoming pregnant but she said, despite the possible costs, “I am willing.” Luke 1:38. When Mary said that, she joined her faith with God’s Word, and conception happened. She didn’t know about the tremendous blessing she would receive and she could never have guessed the problems and heartache she would also suffer, Luke 2:35. She only knew God was asking her to serve Him, and she willingly obeyed.
“I am the Lord’s servant…May it be to me as You have said” Luke 1:38
Total surrender was all that God was asking of Mary for the exceptional blessing of being the mother of the Son of God. Some of the things she had to deal with were:-
…….Her desire for her husband,
…….Suspicion from Joseph,
…….Threat of divorce, and stoning
…….Misunderstanding from others
…….Jealousy from other girls
…….Questioning of her mental state.
God was overseeing His precious Son and sent an angel to Joseph, who was willing to obey God and trust Him. He willingly laid down His own reputation to fullfil God’s purposes.
As she rushed off to visit her aunt, Mary must have been wondering if the events of the last few days were real. Elizabeth’s greeting would have strengthened her faith. Mary’s pregnancy may have seemed impossible, but her wise old aunt believed and rejoiced in it.
“Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished!” Luke 1:45.
Here we see 8 steps to the birth of a vision for us.
1. Time of decision
3. Time of conception, impossibility
5. Preparation – study and discipline
8. Joy when you see it come to birth.
Look at the vision that God has given you and see what stage you are at in bringing this to birth. Proverbs 29:18. Whatever stage you are at, talk to the Father about what He wants you to do to grow your vision. If your vision is alive review His instructions that you are obeying His design He gave you. Have you been led off for different reasons; disappointment, strong people with you, lack of funds, etc? Return to the original vision and seek God’s face for His way forward, it is so important we have a vision.
Mary believed God and it caused her heart to well up with the most amazing song of love and praise to her Heavenly Father (Luke 1:46-55), on whom she focused her attention. She showed in this song how she knew her God, Who enlarged her heart to take in the magnitude of what He was about to bring to pass through her. She knew He was the champion of the poor, the oppressed and the despised. The child that was about to be born would be the Saviour of the world but He would also be her Saviour as she too was a sinner born to natural human parents. She knew people would call her blessed for future generations, not because of who she was but because of what God had done through her. The great Almighty God had chosen her who felt so unworthy, with nothing to offer but a heart of gratitude and praise.
There was nothing Royal about the birth in a cave for farm animals, just outside Bethlehem, a long way from home, after a very difficult journey, and not even a decent crib for the birth of the Son of God, Luke 2:7. First the shepherds came which must have encouraged Mary so much, Luke 2:8. Then at His presentation in the Temple (Luke 2:21) the words from Simeon and Anna were so amazing and daunting. Not much later the first sorrow came as they had to flee to Egypt for the safety of the baby, as all others under two were being murdered as Herod tried to kill the King of the Jews. Mary must have wondered when she knew other babies were being butchered because of her Son. Being a new mother herself she easily identified with the pain of the other new mothers. This too is a picture of what Satan will do if we bring our vision to birth, his aim is to destroy it by any means possible. Our vision is our baby so we must protect it and not allow it to be stolen or destroyed.
“…His mother treasured all these things in her heart.” Luke 2:51
Ten years passed of Jesus growing up and becoming strong, and full of wisdom. God’s grace was upon Him, Luke 2:40. Mary had other children, James, Joseph, Judas, Simon and daughters Matthew 13:55-56. During this time of babies and a busy household Mary must have kept the promises of God in the forefront of her thoughts. She must have prayed as she busied herself round the children and often wondered how it was all going to work out. She must have guarded herself against favouritism as she kept God and His ways in the centre of all she did, so Jesus was able to grow in grace, wisdom and favour with God and men, Luke 2:52. When the twelve-year-old Jesus disappeared for three days, so many thoughts must have gone through Mary’s head. His response brought her up short and reminded her of Simeon’s words. Jesus had started to take a stand that would eventually end in Him fulfilling His destiny for the world.
Mary seems happy to take second place as she makes herself available to help Jesus at the start of His public ministry. She points others to Him “Do whatever He tells you.” (John 2:5) as she knew He could do miracles and could help in a time of great need. Mary grew in her trust of God and His Word as she experienced more of the sword in her life, which went hand in hand with the favour of God. Mary must have found it hard that Jesus’ brothers didn’t believe in Him (John 7:3-5) and this caused division, Matthew 12:46-50. She recognised the need for all people to put their faith in Him and no one could have eternal life any other way (John 14:6) not even herself or the family, or the neighbours of Nazareth who rejected Him, Luke 4:16-30.
Mary’s suffering reached a climax at the Cross, when she stayed near her Son to the end. She must have been so blessed when Jesus, even through His devastating pain, thought of her and provided for her, John 19:26, 27. She was able to hold on because as a young teenager she had declared “I am the Lord’s servant. May it be to me as You have said.” How she felt was of secondary importance to God’s will in the world. After Jesus’ death she didn’t give in to grief but committed herself, along with many others including her other sons, to prayer, Acts 1:9-14. Mary was present at Pentecost (Acts 2:1) and she must have been so encouraged as she saw the fruit of her Son’s life in lives changed, healings, and miracles. We can react to our problems in the same way as Mary did, holding on to God’s promises remembering that trials are only temporary and everything is working towards a bigger purpose. She proved with her life that she hadn’t changed her attitude towards God. She meant what she said! We must always remember our ‘Yes’ is ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ is ‘No’ Matthew 5:37
No.07 – Mary the Virgin – blessed among all women. – Challenge Questions
1. Read the Notes about ‘Mary the Virgin.’ Do you have a problem believing Jesus was born of a virgin? If you do stop now and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal the Truth to you. Put behind you all previous teaching and traditions and accept God’s version.
2. Is there an area of your life where God is asking you for total surrender, obey now and sense a great weight being lifted off your shoulders?
3. Write down what you have believed that the Lord has said to you about your life. Which step are you at with the birth of your vision? Read Luke 1:45 and refocus your sight on it being done.
4. Consider Mary’s feelings at the death of her precious first born son. How do you think she was able to be in the upper room at Pentecost?
Read 2 Kings 5:1-14
5. What was Naaman’s position and what was his problem?
6. Where did the young girl come from and who did she work for?
7. What advice did she give and what faith-filled words did she use?
8. In your personal opinion why did anyone listen to the young servant girl?
9. What response did she get to her advice?
10. Do you think Naaman’s servants received boldness hearing about the young girl, so when Naaman refused to wash they could speak up? (2 Kings 5:11-13)
11. What happened to Naaman as a result of him overcoming his pride? (2 Kings 5:14)
12. What was the result of one girl’s bold witness of one sentence? How many kings heard about it?
13. Does this challenge you to speak up for Jesus? Where, when and how?
14. Read Acts 1:8 AMP “You shall receive power (ability, efficiency and might) when the Holy Spirit shall come upon you, and you shall be My witnesses in Jerusalem and all Judea and Samaria and to the ends (the very bounds) of the earth.” How does this apply to your present situation? Learn and obey!