A Word for Today

Holy Week: Mary, the Mother of Jesus

As Mary did, we need to allow God’s Word to enter into our lives each day and keep the Word of God close to our hearts. The world needs to see that we are living expressions of the light of Jesus. by Lt. Colonel Jackie Bowers

“But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those Who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.”

Galatians 4:4-5 ESV

I have always cherished the song that is so often sung at Christmas time, “Mary, did you know?” In this season of Lent, let me share with you the words as they are powerful for even our time today:

“Mary did you know that your baby boy would one day walk on water?  Mary did you know that your baby boy would save our sons and daughters?  Did you know that your baby boy has come to make you new?  This child that you’ve delivered, will soon deliver you.  Mary did you know that your baby boy will give sight to a blind man?  Mary did you know that your baby boy will calm a storm with his hand?  Did you know that your baby boy has walked where angels trod?  When you kiss your little baby, you kiss the face of God,  Mary did you know? Mary did you know? The blind will see, the deaf will hear, the dead will live again.  The lame will leap, the dumb will speak, the praises of the Lamb.  Mary did you know that your baby boy is Lord of all creation?  Mary did you know that your baby boy would one day rule the nations?  Did you know that your baby boy is heaven’s perfect Lamb?  That sleeping child you’re holding is the great I Am.”

Mark Lowry

This song makes me think, how much did Mary know about how she would be used for God’s purposes? Did she know all the amazing things her Son, Jesus, would do while on earth? Did she understand that her Son was the Messiah? Did Mary fully realize that Jesus would be the Savior of the world? Did she comprehend that her Son would be the sacrificial Lamb of God who would take away the sins of all who trust in Him?

As the mother of Jesus Christ, Mary of Nazareth stands apart from all women in history. From what we can tell from Scripture, Mary remained by Jesus’ side from His first breath to His last– her loyalty was unwavering! As I think of her life as a person used by God, it makes me think, what if Mary considered saying no to being the mother of Jesus? But she didn’t, maybe that’s why God chose her. Mary considered herself a maidservant, and she was willing to be put to use. Surrender, trust and a willing heart to God’s desires are wonderful traits for this young teenager. There was nothing particularly unusual about Mary. She was not from a wealthy family nor did she necessarily stand out in society, but the things that happened to Mary were about God’s grace. Over and over again in Scripture, we see that God chooses undeserving people. God didn’t look down from heaven and say, “I see a woman who has something to offer Me. I think I’ll use her.” Mary did not deserve to be used by God. On the other hand, she marveled at God’s grace in choosing her. A lesson we can learn from Mary is that the moment we cease to see ourselves as undeserving instruments, we will likely cease to be useful in the hand of God.

Mary was a woman of the Word of God. In those days, women did not have a formal education so she was probably illiterate. But she had listened to the reading of the Word and had hidden it in her heart. Her life was filled with Scripture and praise. As Mary did, we need to allow God’s Word to enter into our lives each day and keep the Word of God close to our hearts. The world needs to see that we are living expressions of the light of Jesus. The Scripture tells us:

“Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You.”

Psalm 119:11 NKJV

“I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits, and in His Word I put my hope.”

Psalm 130:5 NIV

“Get wisdom, get understanding; do not forget My words or turn away from them.”

Proverbs 4:5 NIV

Just as Mary, we can find strength in God as we read His Word and rely on Him in all things of life.

In closing, we can see how Mary must have suffered greatly to see her Son hanging on a cross. This suffering was predicted by a godly man in the temple (Luke 2:21-35) when Mary and Joseph took baby Jesus to be consecrated as required by the Jewish law. Simeon was waiting in the temple for the appearance of the Messiah, and when he saw Him, he took the Child into his arms and blessed Jesus. Simeon spoke how this Child would be spoken against-foretelling the cross and all the suffering He would go through. Then Simeon looked at Mary and spoke words that she did not fully understand until she stood at the foot of the cross years later. On the day that Jesus was nailed to the cross, Mary remembered Simeon’s words, “A sword will pierce your own soul too.” There at Calvary, I believe that a painful sword did pierce Mary’s heart in more than one way. First, as a mother, she was losing her Son. She was giving up His life. Even as Jesus laid down His life, she gave up her Son for the salvation of the world. I am sure she also understood that her Son was dying not only for the sins of the world but also for her sins. As good as Mary was, she had to place her trust in the sacrificed life of her Son, Jesus. As Mary stood at the cross, perhaps she recalled the Scripture in Isaiah, “ He was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities…and by His wounds we are healed.” As she gazed at her Son on the cross, she realized that Jesus was taking her sins upon Himself. As Mary believed, she was healed– cleansed from her sins. Three days later, Mary would witness Jesus as the risen Savior who had conquered death and was alive. I believe she was part of the band of believers who took the Good News of His atonement to the wounded, sinful world so that others would know Christ’s great salvation.

Reflection

  1. The book of Luke tells us that Mary was the “maidservant “ of God. She was ready to be at God’s disposal to do His will, and because she was willing, she became the “mother of God.” Are we willing to be as ready as Mary and to be obedient to anything that God asks of us?  What task could God have for us if we are openhearted and willing to do what He asks?
  2. Mary was a woman of the Word of God.  In Luke 1:46-55, Mary sings her praises to God and quotes at least a dozen Scriptures. Are we seeking God’s heart and are we faithful in reading His Word? Are we praising Him each day? Are we praising God even in hard times?
  3. Mary was a wounded woman – wounded not only by her suffering, but also by her sin. As she gazed upon her crucified Son, she realized that He was taking her sins upon Himself. And as she believed, she was healed — cleansed of her sin. Today, are we trusting in the cleansing that only Jesus can provide?

Song

Only by grace can we enter, only by grace can we stand; Not by our human endeavor, but by the blood of the Lamb. Into Your presence You call us, You call us to come. Into Your presence You draw us, and know by your grace we come. Lord, if Your mark our transgressions, who would stand? Thanks to Your grace we are cleansed by the blood of the Lamb.

Prayer

Dear God, Thank you for Mary’s life as an example on how we should live our lives for You. Each day may we seek Your grace, allow Your will to control us, and constantly seek Your Word for Your truth to guide us. In this season of Lent, help us be living expressions of the light of Jesus. In Your name we pray, Amen.

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