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Ethics & Religion
Column #2,054
December 22, 2020
Who Was Mary?
By Mike McManus

Who was Mary, mother of Jesus? We don't know very much about her. We see her in church nativity scenes.

One thing is certain. Mary is a rock. Unlike Peter who denied Jesus three times, she never wavered. She never doubted. Why is Mary so full of grace?

First, she listened to God's word. Then she obeyed His word.

In Luke's account, God sent the angel Gabriel to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. We read, "The virgin's name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, "Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you." (Luke 1:26-28).

"Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of a greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, `Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name of Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end.'"

"How will this be" Mary asked the angel, "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. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God."

Mary was the first disciple - and a model disciple. She believed what Gabriel told her - that her baby, Jesus, would be truly man and truly God - 100% man and 100% God.

Mary knew that Jesus' birth would change her life forever. Yet she obeyed, saying, "I am the servant of the Lord." There was no complaint. No reservation. No objection. Most of the disciples of Jesus fled at the end. But she never wavered. Marry lived a life of obedience through decades, until his last moments on the cross.

She was a model of discipline. Virtually all of the others were unreliable. Thomas doubted Jesus even after His resurrection, until he put his hand in Jesus' side.

While she was still pregnant, Mary was reassured when the angel spoke to her about Elizabeth who "is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was barren is in her sixth month. For nothing is impossible with God."

"I am the Lord's servant," Mary replied. "May it be to me as you have said." Then the angel left her. (Luke 1:29-38).

Mary met Elizabeth, whose new baby jumped in her womb. Elizabeth in a loud voice exclaimed, "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! But why am I so favored that the mother of my Lord should come to me?" Luke 1:41-43).

That prompted Mary to sing a song of joy: "My soul glorifies the Lord and my Spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant.

"From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me - holy is his name.

"His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation.

"He has performed mighty deeds with his arm; he has scattered those who are in their inmost thoughts.

"He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble...

"He has helped his servant Israel, remembering to be merciful. To Abraham and his descendants forever, even as he said to our fathers." Luke 1:47-56).

Her son, Jesus had a powerful ministry. Twelve disciples followed him. But Judas betrayed him to Roman authorities who hung him on a cross. And Peter denied him three times.

At the end, as he hung on the cross, Mary was there, along with only one of his disciples, John. Jesus looked down and saw his mother and the disciple "whom he loved standing nearby." Jesus said to his mother, "Dear mother, here is your son, and to the disciple, "Here is your mother." From that time on, the disciple took her into his home."

This has been a hard year. But there is joy at Christmastime. Why? Because Mary listened and obeyed. That is what all of us must do - listen to the word of God, and do it. In obedience comes the joy that the Lord promised. Listening and obeying produces joy.

Mary was an inspiring and beloved mother.


Copyright (c) 2020 Michael J. McManus, a syndicated columnist and past president of Marriage Savers. To read past columns, go to Hit Search for any topic.


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