Many of these thoughts are ideas from the book Mary Did You Know? by Mark Lowry, with additional personal devotional thoughts of Yvonne Pistole interspersed.
Blessed is the Lord God of Israel, for He has visited and redeemed His people, and has raised up a horn of salvation for us. Luke 1:68-69
I wonder if Mary realized the power, authority, and majesty she cradled in her arms that first morning. Wrapped in swaddling clothes, in an eight pound bundle, gaining nourishment from her breast, ... was God. She had just given birth to the one who created her - the fullness of the godhead looking around with the wide-eyed wonder of a newborn. God became a crying, nursing, diaper-wearing baby boy.
Every mother counts the fingers and toes of her newborn child ... to make sure they're all there. But I wonder if Mary realized those tiny hands that were curled around her fingers were the same hands that had formed mankind? Those little feet were the same feet that had walked on streets of gold and been worshipped by angels. That tiny infant voice had once spoken worlds into existence.
On that first morning when she kissed her newborn child, she wasn't just kissing a baby--she was kissing the face of God.
A woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised. Proverbs 31:30
When Mary was visited by Gabriel and told she was to have a baby--and not just a baby but THE baby, the one every Jewish girl hoped she would be privileged to bear--she didn't ask why but rather how. She could quite understandably have asked, "Why? And why now? Why here?" Instead, she simply asked, "How?" The answer to "How can I possibly do the will of God in this incredible situation?" was quite simple, given by the angel visitor: "The Holy Spirit ...." Immediately Mary responded with a glad "I am the Lord's servant."
God became one of us ... with our limitations. He left His ability to be everywhere. He left His ability to know everything. He, like us, had to get His information from the Father. He left His throne in heaven to become a newborn baby boy. What a way for God to enter the world! Who could have devised such a plan ... but God?
Jesus came to fulfill the law because we couldn't. The only way He could fulfill the law was to become one of us. To be tempted just like us ... but to say "no" to the temptation. Then, after saying "no" for thirty-three years, He drank the cup, became our sin, took our beating, died in our place, and rose from the dead.
And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. Luke 2:7
What did Mary know? Mary had received her information from an angel--a messenger sent by God. "Mary, you have nothing to fear. God has a surprise for you: you will become pregnant and give birth to a Son and call His name Jesus. He will be great. He will be called 'Son of the Highest.' The Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David; He will rule Jacob's house forever--there will be no end, ever, to His kingdom."
Unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end. Isaiah 9:6-7
That's all the information she had. Sounds like a good deal. Her Son's gonna be king. But did she know about the beatings? Did she know about Gethsemane? Did she know about the cross? Did she know about the resurrection? Aren't you glad God gives us just enough light to take the next step? He doesn't tell us everything that lies ahead. He gives us just enough information to spark our interest, to encourage us to follow. And the life-changing events He keeps to Himself ... until we're ready for them.
Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! John 1:29
Mary, grasped and seized by the Spirit, speaks of God's coming into the world, of the advent of Jesus Christ. For she knows better than anyone what it means to wait for Christ. She waits for Him in a way unlike anyone else. She awaits Him as His mother. She knows about the mystery of His coming, about the Spirit that is at play here, about the almighty God who works His wonders. She experiences in her own body that God's ways with humans are wonderful, that He isn't bound by human standards, that He doesn't follow the path that humans like to lay out for Him--that His way is beyond all understanding, beyond all proof, free, and with a mind of its own.
I don't know how much Mary knew. But I do know she knew an angel had come to her. And that angel told her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, the power of the Highest hover over you, therefore the child you bring to birth will be called Holy, Son of God." The Lord gives us signs and landmarks on our journey. The virgin birth was the perfect landmark in Mary's life. If anyone knew Jesus was virgin-born ... she knew it. That's one thing she would never doubt. And God knew she would need very strong landmarks. She was walking down a road no one had ever walked before. She was the virgin whom Isaiah had prophesied would deliver the Messiah to the world. But as Mary's stomach grew, neighbors stared. An angel came to Joseph, who believed and took Mary away privately so she wouldn't be embarrassed.
Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart. Luke 2:19
Who among us will celebrate Jesus' birthright? Those who finally lay down all their power, honor and prestige, and their vanity, pride and self-will at the manger, those who stand by the lowly and let God alone be exalted, those who see in the child in the manger the glory of God precisely in this lowliness.
Mary had to deliver her firstborn into the world with as much straining, blood, and afterbirth as the rest of the women who had given birth before her. She didn't have the luxury of an epidural. There were only a few barn animals and her husband Joseph to witness the birth of God. I'll tell you who I feel sorry for--all the people in the inn who missed it! They were there! They were all in the same time period. They didn't have to learn of this event 2000 years after the fact, like we did. While they were lying in their beds, trying to get some rest ... they missed it! They could have walked right out to the stable and witnessed the coming of the Messiah! But they were too busy with the mundane to notice the eternal. And aren't we, too, sometimes?
How did Jesus learn who He was? Did He learn from His mother's bedtime stories? Her stories must have been full of wise men, angels, and stars in the sky. Did Jesus ever crawl up in Mary's lap and say, "Momma, tell me the one about the angel again. What did he say to you that night?" or "Tell me the story of the wise men who brought those gifts."
Then Simeon ... said to Mary His mother, "Behold, this child is destined for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign which will be spoken against. Yes, a sword will pierce through your own soul also, that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed." Luke 2:34-35
As He studied the Scriptures He must have seen His face on every page ... because His life was fulfilling every prophecy. Maybe Jesus knew who He was by the time He was twelve. He ditched His parents for two days to stay behind to confuse and confound the elders of the temple with His knowledge and questions. Can you imagine the panic in Mary's heart when she realized Jesus wasn't with them? She had been entrusted with God's child--and she lost Him! She raced back to Jerusalem to find Jesus teaching in the temple. She started to scold Him. "Where have you been? We've been worried sick about you." And Jesus said, "Don't you know I must be about My Father's business?" Mary knew Jesus and that He must be about His Father's business. Jesus was saying, don't you know? Aren't you the one who told me? Don't you remember the bedtime stories? Have you forgotten the angel? I must be about My Father's business.
Then there are the silent years in the life of Christ. Between age twelve and thirty, we don't know what happened. But it makes you wonder. Did Jesus ever perform miracles around the house? He could have. How would Mary know that He could turn the water into wine? And they must have had many discussions about when He would begin His public ministry, because when He was thirty, He was still living at home!
Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made Himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled Himself and became obedient to death--even death on a cross. Phillipians 2:5-8
Turning water into wine was just the beginning. From that moment on, Jesus began performing many miracles. He gave sight to the blind, a new mind to the demon-possessed, legs to the lame, a fresh start to the leper, and to all who would really listen ... a new life. And Mary saw it all. Jesus never traveled more than thirty miles from His birthplace. Surely she was there for the baptism, the feeding of the thousands, and every other major event of His life.
And she was there when they crucified Him. Most of the others had scattered like the wind. Peter was warming himself by a fire, denying he even knew Jesus. But Mary was there. That was her firstborn hanging on the cross. She had nursed Him. She had changed His diapers. She had watched Him learn to crawl and then walk. She had told Him bedtime stories. She had rocked Him and calmed His fears at night. James and Jude, the half-brothers of Jesus, were nowhere to be found. In fact, they didn't even believe in Jesus as Savior until after the Resurrection. It would be hard to acknowledge that your older brother was not just good ... He was God! But Mary saw it all! She was the first one to hold Him when He entered the world, and she was the last one to hold Him at the end of His life. Mary saw it all. The Birth, the Life, the Death. And Mary was there to see Him after the Resurrection.
Jesus never asked us to remember His birth. He asked us to remember His death, because through His death we have found life. By believing on the Lord Jesus Christ and being baptized, we are saved. Peter had to believe for himself. Thomas had to believe for himself. James and Jude had to believe for themselves. Mary, the mother of Jesus, also needed a Savior. She had to believe for herself. And because we have chosen to believe in the virgin-born, crucified and risen Savior, Jesus Christ, we know we have received eternal life. And this, for sure, Mary knew.
Link to Jeannie Cole's Ladies' Bible Class lectures
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Link to Jeannie Cole's Ladies' Bible Class lectures
Link to WINGS Home Page