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  • Gary Hatrick

Mary, Did You Know?


 

By Gary S. Hatrick

 

It's the Christmas season, Christmas messages often focus on the angels and the stable and the shepherds and all sorts of things that seem, and are, magnificent and wonderful. That is certainly not wrong. The "dawn of redeeming grace" was one of the events that overshadow all of human history. It was the "fullness of  time." It is no wonder it seems larger than life.

 

Yet, while tremendous things were happening and Scripture was being fulfilled. People were just living normal lives. These were people whose names would become familiar to billions for years to come, yet they were just people like you and me.

 

I want to talk about one of the most, in fact probably the most important woman ever. I want to talk about a young girl who was willing to do the will of God no matter what the cost. Her name was Mary if you haven't guessed already.

Mary was a young virgin in Israel. I know that, sadly, unmarried virginity is not as highly prized. as it has been in the past, but it was highly-prized in those days. She was likely a teenager, betrothed to a man named Joseph and was waiting for the day when  her betrothed would come and take her into his home as his bride.

 

People are very much the same no matter where or what time you visit. Customs are different, social mores are different, but people and their hopes and dreams are much the same. Mary probably dreamed with anticipation of the day Joseph would come for her and wondered about the life they would have together and the children they would raise. She may have mused that she will never want for nice furniture because her Joseph was a carpenter.

 

Then an angel came to visit her. His name was Gabriel. He told her she was going to give birth to the Messiah of Israel. The people of Israel  had been waiting for Him for thousands of years, ever since Adam and Eve had been cast out of the Garden of Eden. She may have looked forward to being a mother in Israel with the hope of giving birth to the awaited Messiah with holy expectation.

 

The Scripture account found in Luke Chapter One tells us that Mary was troubled when Gabriel spoke to her. No kidding. Some people think the people in the Bible were seeing miracles and angels and people rising from the dead all the time, but they weren't. This would have been a scary and shocking experience.

 

Gabriel says “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and give birth to a son, and you shall name Him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David; and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and His kingdom will have no end.”

 

Mary was a virgin, but she was not deficient in sex education. She asked, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?” The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; for that reason also the holy Child will be called the Son of God."

 

Mary was a godly young lady and she was willing to do the will of God. but do not think for a moment that she did not know that this story was not going to fly in the community. People were not going to accept that she had not slept with a man but had become pregnant by the power of God. They weren't going to believe that any more than people would be willing to believe it now.

 

Still, Mary's response was: “Behold, the Lord’s bond-servant; may it be done to me according to your word.” These are simple words, but the are heavy with meaning. She will accept whatever the Lord requires. She will do His will no matter what the cost to her.  Mary's decision to trust and obey God meant that she would suffer under the gossip of people who would never believe that she had been.a virgin when Jesus was conceived. She would be considered an ungodly woman

Even Joseph, her beloved, and her betrothed, who himself was likely dreaming of his future with his girl as men do. He did not believe that story, but he was not going to deal with Mary as the law permitted. He apparently loved her and must have been devastated, until an angel came to him in a dream and told him not to be afraid to take her as his wife, because the child in her was of The Holy Spirit. The story was true.

 

Joseph would also show restraint and obedience to the Lord. There are dreams of marriage men have as well and as he would forgo one of those dreams for the sake of God's purposes. Perhaps he would be the only one who knew for certain, but He would not have a physical relationship with Mary until after Jesus was born. He could back up her story

 

Even so, Joseph's reputation  would likely suffer as well, He would be the foolish man who married the floozy who's good fortune was to escape potential death by marrying a man who was either crazy enough to believe her unbelievable story or desperate enough to marry a woman of less than sterling reputation.

 

That gossip would follow Mary all of her life. How do we know? In John 8, Jesus is speaking to some people who hate Him and He tells them they are doing the work of their father, the devil, and one of their responses is, "We were not born of sexual immorality." The implication? You were. Apparently they knew the story.

Mary, the favored one of God, who was indeed blessed among women would suffer all of her life for doing the will of God. Not only suffering the backbiting rumors, but she would experience unmerciful pain while watching her Son die for the sins of the world. I wonder how many people looked at her as if to say, "Serves you right, nothing good ever comes from immorality and lies."

 

Mary's sacrificed her hopes and dreams on the altar of God's will.  Joseph was also willing to bow to the will of God. Are  you?

 

Doing God's will does not mean you will not suffer, in fact it often means that you will. Did Mary know that? I believe she did.

 

Think about it this Christmas. It may not be a sweet Christmas story, but it is the truth and the end of the story is glorious.

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