Abundant Life

Teaching: The Mother of All Mothers

Every Sunday I provide videos and valuable links to the Truth or Tradition teachings. We’ve been following the Truth or Tradition teachings for many years now and they have truly blessed our family. We have found peace and happiness through our beliefs and we walk confidently for God. My hope, by passing on this information to you, is that what you find here, or on the Truth or Tradition website, will guide you to a better, more blessed and abundant life.

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One of the truly great women of the Bible is Mary, the mother of Jesus. She was a woman of faith, courage, humility, praise, and prayer. She was a good wife and mother, and an exemplary disciple of Christ. Nevertheless, Mary often is not given the recognition she deserves, and that is primarily due to all the fanciful things that have been taught about her, such as that she was a “perpetual virgin,” or that she answers prayers and dispenses grace. These unbiblical things tend to make the average Protestant Christian avoid studying her life, which is too bad because she was an awesome believer. We can learn a lot from the woman who was chosen by God to bear His Son.

A Woman with a Pedigree

Mary’s family pedigree was exalted and spotless. She was born into spiritual royalty because she was a descendant of David through his son Solomon, and down through the kings of Judah, including such greats as Asa, Jehoshaphat, Hezekiah, and Josiah. [1] Mary, of course, did not choose her family heritage, one that made it possible for her to bear the promised Messiah. Nevertheless, Old Testament Scripture made clear that the Christ would be from the line of David, and there is little doubt that the subject was discussed in her home, just as godly people today often speak of the Rapture and return of Jesus Christ. However, it is clear that Mary never thought of herself as better than others, and instead saw herself as an Israelite whose work was to be a good wife and mother, and to live her life in service to God.

A Woman of Faith

We do not know how cold, or perhaps even snowy, it was that December day in Galilee when the young woman we know as Mary was surprised by the angel Gabriel. [2] We do know that Mary would have been in her early teenage years, most likely twelve to fourteen years old. We can tell her age because she was engaged, but not yet married, to a man named Joseph, and yet was physically mature enough to both have and rear God’s Son, something she did for at least a couple of years without much family support. While twelve to fourteen may seem very young to us, it was common in biblical times for women to be married at that age, and much older than fourteen would have been uncharacteristically old for marriage in her culture. We can better understand the great courage and faith Mary had when we realize that she was not a middle-aged and experienced woman of the world, but rather a young woman of faith who accepted the call to be the mother of the Christ.

When the angel Gabriel appeared to Mary, he said, …“Hail, favored one! The Lord is with you” (Luke 1:28b NASB). [3] The angel told Mary that she had “found favor with God” (Luke 1:30), and that she would be impregnated by God and give birth to the promised Messiah, whose “kingdom will never end” (v. 33). Although we do not know a lot of details about Mary’s life, we can tell from Scripture that even at her young age she was familiar with Scripture, and would have immediately understood some of the immensity of the task being asked of her. She also would have known, though only in part, the personal price she would have to pay to be the mother of the Messiah.

Part of the price she paid was the doubt, suspicion, and rejection she encountered because of her virgin conception and birth. Neither Mary nor her fellow believers were expecting a virgin birth. Isaiah 7:14 is quoted in Matthew 1:23 (“The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son…), and therefore Christians, with 20/20 hindsight, realize that Isaiah was at least in part foretelling a virgin birth. But in its context, the “son” in Isaiah 7 was born during the lifetime of Isaiah (Isa. 7:15-17), and there is no historical record that the Jews were expecting a virgin birth until it actually happened. [4]

On being told she would have a child, Mary herself said, “How will this be, since I am not knowing a man?” (Author’s translation). [5] Mary was confused about how she would get pregnant when she was not “knowing,” actively having sexual relations with, a man. The angel told her that she would be impregnated by God Himself (Luke 1:35). Mary believed what the angel Gabriel told her, but it had to occur to her that it would be difficult, and often impossible, to get people to believe what she would tell them. Even so, in a statement of faith that has echoed through the ages and been an inspiration for millions of believers, she replied to the angel, “Behold!, the slave-maid of the Lord, may it be to me according to your word” (Luke 1:38b Author’s translation).

Mary’s humility and faith shine brilliantly through her statement. She referred to herself as the “slave-maid” of the Lord, indicating that she completely submitted her will, her agenda, even her life, to God. The Greek word I translate “slave-maid” (following the well-known biblical scholar, R. C. H. Lenski), is doule, the feminine form of the better-known masculine noun doulos, and it can refer either to a servant or a slave. In the biblical culture, servants were not owned, and thus were free to stay or leave as they wished, and they were paid for their work. Slaves, on the other hand, were owned and thus were not free to come and go, and they were seldom paid for any service. Also noteworthy in this context is that a slave was the sexual property of the owner, something that devastated many marriages in the ancient world. Mary did not think of herself as a servant who could leave if the employment was unfavorable or the pay was not good enough. No, she thought of herself as the slave of God, willing to do whatever he asked. A better example of faith could hardly be set by anyone at any time.

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