When I think about mothers, moms, and mommies, and the fantastic yet often forgotten work they do, I find that my thoughts often turn to Mary, the mother of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Mary has been held in high regard in many parts of the Christian church. In the church tradition that I am connected with, we tend to think of Mary as a bit-player in the onstage drama of redemption. For most of us, the mother of our Lord is seen as an extra and not the central and integral part that she plays in God’s wonderful plan of salvation.
As I have studied the Gospels and the story of Jesus, I have become convinced that Mary’s story is majestic in its own right. Before becoming a pastor, I was a youth minister. I spent my days, weeks and months making disciples among teenagers.
As I have studied the Gospels and the story of Jesus, I have become convinced that Mary’s story is majestic in its own right.
When I think about the number of poor decisions and big mistakes that many well-meaning young people make during the formational teenage years, I am amazed by Mary’s story. When I consider the struggles that students have as their identity is formed and their relational networks established, I am in awe of this young, teenage, future mom and her dedication to the Lord.
In the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin’s name was Mary.
And he came to her and said, “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!” But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be.
And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favour with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to 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.”
And Mary said to the angel, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?”
And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God. And behold, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. For nothing will be impossible with God.”
And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her. Luke 1:26-38 (ESV)
3 Lessons From A Mother’s Obedience
In this moment of obedience, Mary is saying:
I am willing to accept the social shame of what is about to happen. Denial from family. Scorn from friends. Disgust everywhere. Mary was in a legally binding relationship, which for all she would know would now be terminated, leaving her alone, without the support of a man to care and provide for her.
I am willing to accept the physical pain. I haven’t had a baby, but I was with my wife through two births, and I have to tell you my hands were raw from rubbing her back! Honestly, though, I think we often have this idea that Jesus’ birth was different. Can you imagine that journey on a donkey, pregnant, on the hot, dusty roads to Bethlehem? Then, giving birth to a baby in a cave, surrounded by filth and fear in the dark? Mary was made of tough stuff. A teenager lying on a floor with no access to gas and air or epidurals embraces all the physical pain of birth in obedience to God.
I am willing to accept the future and all that will entail. As the Savior enters into the story, ultimately, his journey led towards suffering and death on a Roman cross.
Jesus Turns Our Lives Upside Down
What does Mary’s journey teach us today? As we take time to think about Mother’s Day, it is good for us as men to think about this amazing young woman and her calling to motherhood with Jesus.
Here are few things for us to reflect on for our obedience:
Saying “Yes” to Jesus means being willing to choose him over social expectations placed upon us by our culture and our environment.
Saying “Yes” to Jesus means having our faith redefined by a new reality, obedience and trust. It often means embracing discomfort and immense challenge.
Saying “Yes” to Jesus means letting go of all of our plans for the future, allowing God to establish his plan in our lives.
Mary’s story reminds us that when God breaks into our lives, everything gets turned upside down: our friends and families, our faith and our future.