Luke 1:45 (New American Standard Bible)
“And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what had been spoken to her by the Lord.”
If Abraham can be called the “father of faith,” then surely Mary, wife of Joseph, can be called the “mother of faith.” Truly, not since Abraham had anyone been told that the Lord would bless the world through their offspring, and so when Mary heard that she was to give birth to “the Son of the Highest” (Luke 1:32), it would have been understandable if she’d had doubts. Mary could have laughed like old Sarah, or she could have doubted in some little way, but she did not.
Then Mary said, “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.
Mary simply believed. She believed that she would give birth to a Son and call Him Jesus. She believed that this Son would be the heir to the throne of David, the leader of Israel, the “Son of the Highest” – the very Son of God. She believed His kingdom would have no end. She believed that the Holy Spirit would come upon her, and she believed that the Lord God Himself would bring all of this to pass. But most importantly, not only did Mary believe in her Son’s inheritance and power, she believed in her role in bringing Him to the world. Her faith in the coming Christ led her to obedience to God’s will.
What is most remarkable to me is that she did not waver for all of Jesus’ life. She was with Him here and there throughout His ministry, even at the foot of the Cross – where only ONE of the Apostles watched. We are not told, but I imagine that after Jesus was laid in the tomb and the disciples went back to their lives as fishermen and tax collectors, Mary shook her head and said to them, “Remember, He told you to wait three days? Believe!” Nonetheless, they went back to work and were astonished when the risen Lord came among them. But Mary, I am sure, was not much amazed, if at all.
As we see from today’s verse from the Gospel of Luke, Mary’s cousin Elizabeth was a believer, too. In fact, she recognized Mary as the mother of the Lord, and she announced that Mary would be blessed because of her faith and obedience. Elizabeth knew without being told that Mary was with child, and that the Lord had spoken to Mary. In fact, we are told “Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.” (Luke 1:41) Isn’t that something reserved for the faithful in Christ? And yet both Mary and Elizabeth had the Holy Spirit BEFORE the birth of Christ. Oh that we all had such faith!
And after the birth of Jesus, even as He lay in the manger, the shepherds came and told Mary and Joseph what they had heard from the angels, that their own Son was “Christ the Lord.” Look at Mary’s reaction:
16 And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger.
17 Now when they had seen Him, they made widely known the saying which was told them concerning this Child.
18 And all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds.
19 But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart.
Mary literally treasured these sayings and meditated on them, considered them. Unlike the others, Mary did not marvel at the good news, she held on to it and kept it alive in her thoughts. And when the Child was older and had stayed behind in the temple to talk to the teachers there, Mary and Joseph didn’t quite understand what He meant when He said, “Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?” (Luke 2:49) But Mary kept those things in her heart, too. She cherished the good news, she pondered and meditated upon the words of God and His Son. And even as Jesus was an obedient Son to her and Joseph, so was Mary an obedient daughter of God.
Today, let us meditate upon the gospel, too. Let us all listen to the Word of God, cherish it in our hearts, and believe that He shall bring all these things to pass. Believe that Jesus is the Christ, and that His death and resurrection bring us forgiveness and life. Believe that God seeks only our goodness and gives only His love. Believe that with God, all things are possible – even our salvation and eternal life. Believe that we can – and WILL – do all things through Christ who strengthens us. But most importantly, let our faith draw us into obedience to God’s will. May we then be blessed for believing and for doing as God has spoken.
Father God, lead me to Your Son, and speak Your Word to me in my heart. May I treasure Your Word as Mary did, and may I keep it in my heart to ponder and meditate upon. Guide my way with Your Holy Spirit, Lord God, and free my spirit to do as You ask. Let me be Your obedient servant, Lord, and so be blessed as You have promised. Amen.