“The angel went to her and said, ‘Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.’”
~ Luke 1:28
The second woman of Christmas is the one we usually think of first. Mary, the mother of Jesus, is probably the most well-known women in the Bible.
Let’s kick off today’s study by covering what we already know about Mary…
Luke 1:26-28 tells us that she was a virgin, pledged to be married, favored by God – how old would she have been? (12 or 13)
In Luke 1:31-33 we find that she is going to be the mother of God’s Son.
Luke 1:35 discloses that she will become a mother through miraculous conception.
And in Matthew 13:55 we learn that she would go on to be the mother of other children
Luke 1:36 tells us that she is Elizabeth’s relative.
And I think most importantly, we see in Luke 1:38 that she was willing.
Taking the angel at his word, Mary left immediately to go visit her relative, the first woman of Christmas, Elizabeth.
Read: Luke 1:39-45 and Luke 1:46-55
And then read:1 Thessalonians 5:11; Romans 1:11-12; Romans 15:5-6; 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17
God used Elizabeth and Mary to encourage one another. Do you ever need encouragement?
Mary is most commonly thought of as the most blessed woman in the Bible. She “found favor” with God (Luke 1:30), and was chosen as the mother of His child. What an honor! …But that honor came at a high price.
Mary’s life wasn’t an easy one. For starters, she was an unmarried, pregnant teen. Read Matthew 1:18-19. Do you know what would it have meant to be in those circumstances in that day and age? What would have happened to Mary?
Had God not intervened, she would have possibly been stoned, and at best, be forced to raise her child as an outcast. As it was, God did intervene, but that doesn’t mean life was easy. Read the rest of that passage in Matthew 1:20-25
Then, she had to travel from Nazareth to Judea in the end of her pregnancy, and give birth in a barn. Read Luke 2:1-7
So often when we think of the virgin birth, we remember how miraculous it was. We glamorize it and focus on the shepherds and wise men. Let’s take a moment to think about Mary. She gave birth in a barn, and was visited by a bunch of strange, socially unacceptable, men she didn’t know. And then she had to leave – to run away – to save her baby. Read Matthew 2:13-18.
We don’t know how old Jesus was when they had to leave for Egypt. The shepherds and wise men had all come and gone. Jesus had been circumcised and presented in the temple. Many scholars believe he could have very well been three years old by this time. Have you ever travelled with a toddler?
If you have a moment, look at some of the other situations Mary was put in as the mother of Jesus: Luke 2:41-50-52; John 2:1-5; Matthew 12:46-50; John 19:25; Matthew 28:1-10
Mary isn’t someone to be worshiped. Yes, she was blessed by God, but she was still just a woman. She still faced hardships and doubts. She still had to deal with peer pressure, heartache, and loss. She was the mother of our Savior, but she is also our sister in Christ. As you think about Mary this Christmas season, remember that God favor doesn’t always mean worldly honor, but the gift of salvation we have been given through His Son.
“Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother’s sister,
Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene.”
~ John 19:25
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