Blessed Among Women
How apt were these words of Elizabeth! Mary, indeed, was blessed. She was chosen to be the mother of Israel’s promised Messiah! While just a humble peasant girl with no formal education, Mary was asked to do the impossible—carry and deliver the Son of God while yet a virgin—and as we saw last week, she did not question the Lord’s calling but obeyed and was honored to be called “mother” by the Creator of the world. So yes, blessed is she who believed the word of the Lord!
However, since the far-reaching spread of the gospel and founding of the church, Mary has become an immortalized icon and highly revered figured in Christian history. Too revered. While she was an important character in the Nativity story and subsequently the story of salvation, Mary was nothing special. She was just an ordinary girl who served an extraordinary God. Like us, Mary had her faults and weaknesses; she didn’t know anything about parenting nor did she see the whole picture of God’s plan. All Mary knew was that she was asked to bear and raise the Son of God, and she said yes.
As an unwed, betrothed girl, it would have been scandalous to be found with child, so Mary probably didn’t tell anyone her good news. Therefore, could you imagine Mary’s surprise when her cousin Elizabeth greeted her with “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! And why is this granted to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me?” It must have been so encouraging to Mary as she prepared herself to face the ridicule and alienation of her friends and family back home! Not only did Elizabeth tell Mary that she knew about her condition, but she was also rejoicing with her and exalting her as “blessed” and “mother of my Lord”! All of this could have easily gone to Mary’s head and puffed her with pride and feelings of self-importance, however, what was her response? Mary—the woman people have worshiped for centuries—replied with humility and praise to God. Her song of worship is reminiscent of Hannah’s prayer after the birth of her long awaited son, Samuel, and gives all the glory and praise to the God with whom nothing is impossible!
“My soul magnifies the Lord,
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant.
For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
for he who is mighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his name.
And his mercy is for those who fear him
from generation to generation.
He has shown strength with his arm;
he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts;
he has brought down the mighty from their thrones
and exalted those of humble estate;
he has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty.
He has helped his servant Israel,
in remembrance of his mercy,
as he spoke to our fathers,
to Abraham and to his offspring forever.”
Our world, our church, and our generation need people like Mary who had the faith to follow God into the impossible, not counting the cost, and executed her special role in history with a humbleness that should inspire us all. Therefore, may we learn from and become like this humble, ordinary girl whom God used mightily to bring about His purposes!
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