Monday, December 14, 2009

Was there something special about Mary?

In the past I assumed that Mary was chosen to be the mother of Jesus because she was an unusually good girl. Scripture, however, tells us that Mary did not earn the honor of being the mother of Jesus; rather, the honor was a gift of grace. We see the truth of the matter in Luke 1:28, 30. In verse 28, the Greek word χαριτόω was used. This word is the verb form of "grace." She was "graced" or "endued by grace." In verse 30, the noun form χάρις was used. Clearly, her selection was not because of her good works. It was all of grace. Many Jewish girls desired to be the mother of the Messiah. Apparently, however, they were not expecting a virgin birth. Mary expressed her surprise (1:34): "How can this be, since I am a virgin" (NASB)? She knew that she could be put to death when she was found to be pregnant during the one-year betrothal period (Deuteronomy 22:23-24). Nevertheless, she accepted her role by faith (1:38): "Behold, the bondslave of the Lord; be it done to me according to your word." Gossip about her may have followed her for the rest of her life. John 8 may indicate that some insinuations were made about her as Jewish leaders addressed Jesus. Notice John 8:19a: "And so they were saying to Him, 'Where is Your Father?'" Also notice John 8:41b: "They said to Him, 'We were not born of fornication.'" On the other hand, at least one of the admirers of Jesus complimented her (Luke 11:27-28): "And it came about while He said these things, one of the women in the crowd raised her voice, and said to Him, 'Blessed is the womb that bore You, and the breasts at which You nursed.' But He said, 'On the contrary, blessed are those who hear the word of God, and observe it.'" Clearly, by faith Mary heard the word of God and observed (kept) it.