…the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph…The virgin’s name was Mary…. Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son and shall call His name JESUS.” The Mary said, “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.” (Luke 1:26, 27, 30, 31, 38.)
“Mary, Did You Know” is a beautiful song originally by Mark Lowry (lyrics) and Buddy Greene (melody). The song asks Mary, the mother of Jesus, if she knew her Baby Boy would walk on water, calm the storm, heal, save people, and one day rule the nations. It got me wondering, what did Mary know based on Scripture? What did she probably know about the Lord before she made her decision to obey what the angel Gabriel told her?
Historians think Mary was a young girl, probably around fourteen years old. Over 2,000 years ago women usually were not educated, so she probably didn’t study the Torah with a rabbi or prophets. Her spiritual education was learned at the synagogue or at home.
Mary knew that God knew her, a girl from Nazareth. The angel called her by name and told her she had found favor with God.
Mary knew what the angel told her about the conception of her Baby, and that He would be holy. “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born is to be called the Son of God.” (Luke 1:34-35) Just imagine being told you were going to raise the Son of God! What an overwhelming task.
Mary knew part of this Holy One’s future. “He will be great, and will be called the son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give 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.” (Luke 1:32, 33)
Did Mary know her Son would someday hang on a cross? Did she know He would be resurrected? I doubt it. The spiritual leaders of the day didn’t recognize that the Messiah would come as a humble servant and save them from their sins through His death and resurrection. They were looking for a political rescue from the Romans.
Mary’s words in Luke 1:46-55 tell us that she knew that God was her Savior. She knew the Lord was mighty; He scattered the proud and put down the mighty from their thrones. He exalted the lowly. “He has filled the hungry with good things.” Perhaps she knew the Lord provided from her own poor childhood experiences. Mary knew the Lord had come to Israel’s deliverance in the past, and would in the future, for she said “He has helped His servant Israel, in remembrance of His mercy, as He spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his seed forever.”
Mary also knew her culture. She must have feared the gossip. How would she tell Joseph and family and friends that this Baby was conceived through the Holy Spirit? No one would believe her. She and Joseph would be judged as sinners, having conceived a child outside of marriage. Worse yet, Joseph knew the baby would not be his; he could have her stoned for immorality!
Yet Mary chose to submit to God. “Let it be to me according to your word.”
Mary trusted the Lord enough to overcome the fears and the shame her obedience would cost her. She rejoices! “Henceforth all generations will call me blessed.”
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What do we know of the Lord, and does it lead to our obedience to Him? Do we willingly submit to God’s will and to what He asks us to do? Do we find favor with God? Do we rejoice? Are we following Jesus and becoming more like Him? What has God asked you to do?
Dear Lord, thank you for the best gift ever, my Savior, Jesus Christ. No gift is greater. Please forgive me for those times I do not obey. Please help me become more like You. Amen.