A Prototestant pays tribute to Mary this Christmas
A Protestant gives tribute to Mary
26 Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city in Galilee called Nazareth, 27 to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the descendants of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. 28 And coming in, he said to her, “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.” 29 But she was very perplexed at this statement, and kept pondering what kind of salutation this was. 30 The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; for you have found favor with God. 31 “And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus. 32 “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; 33 and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and His kingdom will have no end.” 34 Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?” 35 The angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy Child shall be called the Son of God. 36 “And behold, even your relative Elizabeth has also conceived a son in her old age; and she who was called barren is now in her sixth month. 37 “For nothing will be impossible with God.” 38 And Mary said, “Behold, the bondslave of the Lord; may it be done to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her. (Lk 1:26-38).
Matthew tells us of the Savior's Virgin birth from Joseph's viewpoint.
20 But when he had considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for the Child who has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. 21 “She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” 22 Now all this took place to fulfill what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet: 23 “Behold, the virgin shall be with child and shall bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which translated means, “God with us.” 24 And Joseph awoke from his sleep and did as the angel of the Lord commanded him, and took Mary as his wife, 25 but kept her a virgin until she gave birth to a Son; and he called His name Jesus. (Mt 1:20-25).
Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord, and his family was the only one saved when the flood came. So here Mary found grace in the eyes of the Lord so the Savior of the world could come to us. Few individuals in scripture are called out by name with this singular honor. It is a designation of honor when an individual is said to find grace in the eyes of the Lord.
Mary had lived a pure life as evidenced by her virginity when Gabriel announced what God was getting ready to do. Like Zacharias at the announcement of John's birth, Mary was afraid at the appearance of the angel. It had been 400 years since God had moved like this. The angel explained his purpose: Mary was to be the mother of the long awaited Messiah promised to Eve and Adam in Gen 3:16. She was going to conceive and give birth, a real physical birth, to a Holy Child. God, His Father had decided the name already. He was to be named Jesus meaning Jehovah is Salvation. How fitting since the 2nd person of the Trinity, is Jehovah God en-fleshed with humanity. In fact since Mary was already pregnant, when she and Joseph did marry they did not consummate their marriage until after the delivery of Jesus. There is no doubt as to the Virgin Birth of the Savior.
The angel calmed Mary's very human and natural fear, and answered her honest question how this would happen by explaining the Holy Spirit would overshadow her. The Holy Spirit's overshadowing or hovering above her assured the sinlessness of the conception which would result in a Holy Child who is the Son of God. To further ease her fears God thought ahead and arranged for Zacharias and Elizabeth to have a child when they were both too old (Like Abraham and Sarah). The family of the Savior was chosen well before the fall in the Garden, and God elected and protected that family (Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Judas, David) through which Messiah would come. God directed history Sovereignty with this moment in mind: the Birth of The Savior God/man through the Virgin Mary. While God had Sovereignty chose how Jesus was to be born (Isa 7:14), Mary yielded too. Her submission is exemplary for us all "Behold, the bondslave of the Lord; may it be done to me according to your word.” (Lk 1:38).
Mary's statement to Elizabeth is important too because it shows her attitude.
46 And Mary said: “My soul exalts the Lord, 47 And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior. 48 “For He has had regard for the humble state of His bondslave; For behold, from this time on all generations will count me blessed. 49 “For the Mighty One has done great things for me; And holy is His name. 50 “And His mercy is upon generation after generation Toward those who fear Him. 51 “He has done mighty deeds with His arm; He has scattered those who were proud in the thoughts of their heart. 52 “He has brought down rulers from their thrones, And has exalted those who were humble. 53 “He has filled the hungry with good things; And sent away the rich empty-handed. 54 “He has given help to Israel His servant, In remembrance of His mercy, 55 As He spoke to our fathers, To Abraham and his descendants forever.” (Lk 1:46-55).
At His presentation in Luke 2 the Holy Spirit spoke through Simeon of Jesus being a light to the Gentiles and the glory of Israel. While both Joseph and Mary were amazed at these things, Mary was warned a sword awaited her soul too. At 12 Jesus wisdom amazed the scholars which He was talking to in teh temple. Jesus was subject to the authority of Joseph and Mary, and Mary treasured all these things in her heart. (Mary herself probably shared much of this with Luke the doctor/historian because some of this material is found only in Luke). At age 12 Jesus also made it clear that His Heavenly Father's will was uppermost, and came first. In Jn 2 Jesus clarifies that it is not in the maternal control when His ministry will start. Mary knew who her son was, and what He could do. She believed with all the love of a mother who knew the whole story up to that point. Then time goes on and in Matt 12:46-50 Christ refuses to see His mother and explains the relationship of the new Family which is not based on blood relation, His or anyone else's. As in any Jewish family, obedience to the Father is first and foremost. His word is final. Jesus demonstrated what it was like to both honor His parents (Mk 10:19) and leave them for the sake of the Gospel (Mk 10:29-30). Mary felt the pain at being at the periphery of Jesus life. She had treasures from His childhood, and He had a path to follow that meant their separation. The sword in her soul was very real already. Perhaps Jesus wanted to protect her from the Pharisees and perhaps He had to prove the point that all must come to Him on equal footing (no royal favorites in His Kingdom).
At what point did Mary understand her Son, the Messiah, would have to die ??
In Jn 19:25 the sword in Mary's soul became more pronounced as she watched her miracle child die after being tortured and beaten beyond recognition. Perhaps her mind wandered to their time together when Jesus was a child. Perhaps she understood now the full impact of her appointment as mother of the Son of God, Savior of the world and Messiah of Israel. In the end, we have the last recorded statement of Jesus to His mother. Based on the Biblical record, they had not spoken directly since the marriage of Cana (3 years earlier).
While my view of Mary differs from that of others here, I pay tribute to this handmaid of the Lord who watched her only Son die on a cruel cross for all sinners.
In Acts 1 we find the last recorded mention of Mary by name. Again she is on the side as the apostles follow Jesus to where He speaks His final words and ascends. I wonder though what she was feeling. According to 1 Cor 15 between the Resurrection and Ascension Jesus showed Himself to over 500 people. Was Mary one of them? Doubtless Mary knew her Son was alive and had now ascended to Heaven. Simeon's and Anna's words, and the words of teh Old Testament prophets were being fulfilled before her very eyes. The Savior of the world, forever her Son, is her Savior too.
I pay tribute to Mary, the handmaid of the Lord, whose Son became our Savior.
While this IS clearly a Protestant view, I hope everyone can find something here to agree with too. I have taken my shots and probably will again, but this is not a shot. I thank God for preparing the nation, family and person who brought the Savior of the world to us. We may disagree on many doctrinal issues, but Jesus love for us is the greatest thing on earth and heaven. I praise God for Mary the bondservant of the Lord.