Matthew 1: 18-25
“Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit. Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly. But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, ‘Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.’
“So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: ‘Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,’ which is translated, ‘God with us.’ Then Joseph, being aroused from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took to him his wife, and did not know her till she had brought forth her firstborn Son. And he called His name Jesus” (NKJV).
Happy Mother’s Day to all of the wonderful moms out there. My mom, Norma, will be 89 later this year. She has been my biggest fan for all of my life. She is suffering from Alzheimer’s now and is very weak. Nonetheless, she has been a spiritual giant in my life. She has faithfully loved the Lord, and I cannot tell you how many times I saw my mom sitting at the dining room table or in the family room reading her Bible. She has a lovely soprano voice and often sang either in the choir or solos in praise to our Lord.
My kids have a great mom as well; Marny is amazing. She loves the Lord, loves me, loves her children, and now her granddaughter. She is hard-working, a natural servant, and she helps me to be a better man than I could be without her. Truly, I am surrounded by lots of Godly women who have invested in the Lord’s kingdom, invested in me, and many who I can call mom without any embarrassment or shame, and they would call me son.
Today we will take a look at Mary, Jesus’ mom. She is an amazing character, and we can see a lot of wonderful lessons in her. It is necessary to dispel a lot of myths with her as we go ahead and set the record straight. Mary is NOT a god. There is no reason for us to pray to her; she has no power nor influence over Jesus, as He is God and she is not. Mary was a humble servant whose 23 chromosomes in her eggs God used to provide Jesus the Man (with a human body), who would die on the cross for your sins and mine.
Mary would be abhorred to think that some people, millions actually, were worshipping her and praying to her as if she was some deity. When we take a close look at the life of Mary, we see one that covers a lot of the lives that many mothers live today. We will explore them as we take a look at Mary for Mother’s Day. As we journey through, I pray that the Holy Spirit will speak to you. When attending the wedding in Cana, she told the people at the wedding to do whatever Jesus said (John 2: 1-5, NKJV).
“On the third day, there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Now both Jesus and His disciples were invited to the wedding. And when they ran out of wine, the mother of Jesus said to Him, ‘They have no wine.’ Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, what does your concern have to do with Me? My hour has not yet come.’ His mother said to the servants, ‘Whatever He says to you, do it’” (NKJV).
She said this in reference to the water and wine, but in a broader sense, her words are as powerful today as ever – just do what Jesus says. He says to us in John 3:3, “You must be born again.” One must be born from God above to have eternal life. Jesus told us in John 14:6, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life; no one comes to the Father, except through Me.” Let us look at Mary together and see how her life may help us with ours.
- Mary was a Teenage Mom.
The term that is often used is ‘young woman.’ But it is properly translated as a virgin; she was a virgin, and she had never had sexual relations with a man. In Luke 1:34, we see her admit to this as she spoke with the angel.
“Then Mary said to the angel, ‘How can this be, since I do not know a man?'” (NKJV).
We can go all the way back to Genesis and see that the term ‘to know one’s wife’ often resulted in the birth of a child. In Genesis 4: 1-2, we see this:
“Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, and said, ‘I have acquired a man from the Lord.’ Then she bore again, this time his brother Abel.” (NKJV)
We then can see clearly that Mary admitted to an angel that she had never been with a man sexually. She was a young woman who was betrothed (engaged) to a man named Joseph. As late as the early 1900s, teenage girls and boys were married. My grandmother was married and had my father at 17 in 1933. My wife is a big fan of Little House on the Prairie, and we see them marrying at 15, 16 and 17. The term young woman referred to a teenage girl of marrying age, meaning that she was able to have children. Mary was a young mother, a young wife, and she was called to do a big thing by her Lord. She was ready to be obedient and submissive to the Lord.
Sadly, many teenage moms are not in stable married relationships today. We have slowed the development of our youth so that most are not ready to handle the responsibilities of a husband or a child. That is our fault in the Lord’s churches; we have made everything else more important than the family. And as such, it has been put on the back burner by a lot of our young people, and we are suffering for it. A whopping 93% of kids born into families where the dad leads spiritually get saved. When we encourage our young people to put off marriage and childbearing, we are killing our churches and stunting their emotional and spiritual development.
- Mary was a mom to a big family (Matthew 13:55).
Matthew records this for us about Jesus’ family (chapter 13:54-56).
“When He had come to His own country, He taught them in their synagogue, so that they were astonished and said, ‘Where did this Man get this wisdom and these mighty works? Is this not the carpenter’s son? Is not His mother called Mary? And His brothers James, Joses, Simon, and Judas? And His sisters, are they not all with us? Where then did this Man get all these things?'” (NKJV)
There is a certain religious group that teaches that Mary remained a virgin all of her life. But nothing could be further from the truth. The Scriptures tell us that she has at least six (6) other children; 4 boys and at least 2 girls. Two of her boys, James and Jude, became believers and wrote books of the Bible.
I know some big families, some with more than ten children. My wife and I have dear friends with six children of their own. This kind of thing is often frowned upon in our modern world, but in the Bible, it would seem that the people of God took the command to be ‘fruitful and multiply’ very, very seriously.
Mary also had to manage a home that had some fighting in it. Jesus’ brothers did not always like Him. I cannot imagine what it would be like to be in a family with the ultimate ‘goody two-shoes guy. He never messed up, never slipped up, never screwed up ever. It was not until later in life, after the resurrection, that Jesus’ brothers became believers.
- Mary was a young widow.
We do not know when Joseph died. We see him when Jesus was 12 years old, and then by the time Jesus comes on the scene at age thirty, according to Luke, there is no mention of Joseph at all. This is further reinforced when we see that Jesus leaves the care of His mom to John. We see this in John 19: 25-27.
“Near the cross of Jesus stood His mother and her sister, as well as Mary the wife of Clopas and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw His mother and the disciple whom He loved standing nearby, He said to His mother, ‘Woman, here is your son.’ Then He said to the disciple, ‘Here is your mother.’ So, from that hour, this disciple took her into his home.” (NKJV)
There would have been no need to do this if Joseph was alive, so, since we see this, it further confirms our inference that none of his brothers were yet saved. Jesus left the care of His mom to His dearest friend. If he had a brother who would care for Mary and was a believer, the care would have naturally fallen to him.
Mary knew what it was like to lose someone that loved her dearly. Make no mistake; Joseph loved her. We often read verses and miss the inference that comes with them. Take another look at Matthew 1:19.
“Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly.” (NKJV)
Joseph had every right, according to the Law of Moses, to have Mary killed in a gruesome way, like being stoned to death. One of the reasons for the yearlong engagement was to make sure that she did not come up pregnant with another man’s child. And here he was, and Mary was pregnant, and in his righteous indignation, he could have had her killed. But not Joseph; he was simply going to divorce her secretly so as not to cause her any public shame. This was an act of love; he put her needs before his need for revenge or justice.
- Mary had a husband who loved God.
Joseph took the shame, along with Mary, of raising what everyone would have thought was another man’s kid as he obeyed God. In Matthew 1:24, Joseph got up from his sleep and took Mary in her pregnant condition and claimed his bride. He, too, had to bear the shame with her, and he did so in obedience to God.
His obedience was more important than his reputation. I do not think that it was an accident that God the Father chose Joseph as well to parent His Son. God chose a man who obeyed him and loved his wife, Jesus’ mom. God chose a man of integrity and one who was more concerned with obeying God than what man thought. As I was writing this, I wondered what it must have been like for Jesus to watch Joseph die and not heal him, yet He healed so many others? What was it like for Jesus to learn carpentry from Joseph when He was the One who created wood in the first place?
- Mary was a mom who had to watch her son die (John 19:28-30).
Like many moms, Mary watched a son die. I have done my share of funerals as a Pastor, and the ones for the young people are the hardest. Parents are not supposed to bury their kids; it is supposed to be the other way around. But Mary was there that fateful afternoon when her Son, our Savior, died.
After this, knowing that everything had now been accomplished and to fulfill the Scripture, Jesus said, “I am thirsty.’ A jar of sour wine was sitting there. So, they soaked a sponge in the wine, put it on a stalk of hyssop, and lifted it to His mouth. When Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, ‘It is finished.’ And bowing His head, He yielded up His spirit.” (NKJV)
She watched the life seep out of Him; she saw his blood-stained body stop struggling to breathe and to live. She watched the thorn-crowned head bow as the fight was over. I cannot imagine the pain and anguish she felt. I cannot imagine that pain in her heart, the gut-wrenching cry of her sorrow. Her boy, her son, the one who was supposed to change the world and save the Jews was dead. The son that had caused so much turmoil, so much division, the one who raised the dead and solved other people’s sorrows, that son she had nursed that first night in the manger was dead. She must have been so broken.
I am sure that there are more aspects of Mary that we can take a look at. But as you can see, God chose well for us. Not only did we get a Savior, but in the process, we get this amazing Godly woman who can be an example of life to a vast array of different mothers across the 2000 years that have passed since she walked on the earth. Mary would tell you that your circumstances should not determine the level of your commitment to God. Rather, obey God and all He says no matter the cost to our pride and our reputation.
Mary was not a superwoman; she was just a woman, a young girl really, who served and still serves a Super God. That same God wants you and I to serve Him with the same gusto and commitment that Mary served with. To close, I will offer up the very powerful words of Mary to the servants at the wedding in Cana.
“His mother said to the servants, ‘Whatever He says to you, do it.'” (NKJV)
HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!!!
God bless you,
Dr. Sean Gooding
Pastor of Mississauga Missionary Baptist Church
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