Mother’s Day: Mary, The Highly Favored One
Today, in honor of Mother’s Day, I want to talk about a woman who is called “highly favored one” and “blessed . . . among women”. Let’s read her story in Luke 1:26-55.
26 Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, 27 to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 And having come in, the angel said to her, “Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!” 29 But when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and considered what manner of greeting this was. 30 Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus. 32 He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. 33 And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.” 34 Then Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I do not know a man?” 35 And the angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God. 36 Now indeed, Elizabeth your relative has also conceived a son in her old age; and this is now the sixth month for her who was called barren. 37 For with God nothing will be impossible.” 38 Then Mary said, “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her. 39 Now Mary arose in those days and went into the hill country with haste, to a city of Judah, 40 and entered the house of Zacharias and greeted Elizabeth. 41 And it happened, when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, that the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. 42 Then she spoke out with a loud voice and said, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! 43 But why is this granted to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44 For indeed, as soon as the voice of your greeting sounded in my ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy. 45 Blessed is she who believed, for there will be a fulfillment of those things which were told her from the Lord.” 46 And Mary said: “My soul magnifies the Lord, 47 And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior. 48 For He has regarded the lowly state of His maidservant; For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed. 49 For He who is mighty has done great things for me, And holy is His name. 50 And His mercy is on those who fear Him From generation to generation.
51 He has shown strength with His arm; He has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. 52 He has put down the mighty from their thrones, And exalted the lowly. 53 He has filled the hungry with good things, And the rich He has sent away empty. 54 He has helped His servant Israel, In remembrance of His mercy, 55 As He spoke to our fathers, To Abraham and to his seed forever.”
Mary wasn’t anyone special, but she did love God and chose to follow Him. God saw her heart even when no one else saw that she was anything great. In the same way, we don’t have to be someone amazing in order for God to take notice of us or to do great things for God. God picked Mary to be His earthly mother and for that we have great respect for her. While we are to have a great respect for Mary, we have to realize a few things about Mary.
Mary was a human being just like you and me. She was a regular girl probably between 12 and 16. She was also a sinner. Romans 3:23 reminds us “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”. This means as great as Mary was and as much as we should acknowledge that God picked her to be blessed, she still had to ask Jesus to forgive her of her sins just like we must.
Also, Mary has no special position in Heaven or effect on Jesus. 1 Timothy 2:5 says”For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus,”. This means that when we pray, we should not be praying to another person to talk to God for us. Jesus said that we can go directly to Him now that He’s died on the cross and now that we have a personal relationship with Him. I’ve heard people say that they were told they had to pray to Mary and then she would talk to Jesus for them. In a sense buttering Him up or trying to get Him to listen. The Bible tells us that Jesus is the only person that we can go to. Once a person has died, we are no longer able to be in contact with them. This means that even if you were to pray to Mary or another saint or person, they would not hear you.
While Mary is the only one who received the honor of having Jesus, the Bible tells us that God has plans for our lives that are good (Jeremiah 29:11). Knowing this, you can put your trust in God to forgive you of your sins, but also to have a great plan for your life. Your beginnings cannot be too humble, you can’t be more of a nobody than Mary, and you can’t even say that God doesn’t hear your prayers, because He does. He made you. He notices you. The Bible says that He knows every tear that you’ve ever cried and He keeps them in a bottle (Psalm 56:8). He knows the number of hairs (Luke 12:7) on your head at any given time even though you lose about 100 a day. He knows our thoughts and He knows when we get up and sit down (Psalm 139:2). God cares so much for us that He sent Jesus to die on the cross to take our punishment for all of the things that we have done. Even though God knows everything that we’ve ever done, the Bible tells us that “As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us.” (Psalm 103:12) The awesome part about this is that if you start off going east, you will always be going west and the same with west. If you start off going north, you will eventually be going south and vice versa. When God forgives us of our sins, He completely puts them away from Himself and never allows them to be brought up again. So even when we still have to suffer the consequences of our sins or we continue to feel guilty about things we’ve done, the Bible tells us that this is God doing it to us because He’s forgiven and chosen to forget.
We all have sinned (missed the mark of God’s standard) and we all need a Savior. Will today be the day you choose to follow Jesus? I sure hope so. Happy Mother’s Day!