We've seen that Mary was highly favored because God saw in her the right attitude, the perspective of a servant of the Most High. And that she believed nothing was impossible with Him. She also protected this Child with all her might. We'll see today one more reason why she found favor with Him; one more piece of the puzzle -- why He chose her to raise His Son.
The Father knew Mary; He knows us all. He saw in her the love and devotion needed to raise His Son. Mary's love for Jesus began before He was born, and it lasted beyond the cross. The first time we meet Mary, she's a teenage girl in the tiny town of Nazareth. The last time that we see her she is an older woman; perhaps her hair is a little bit grey. Where do we see her this last time? At the cross? Where Jesus looked down and told John to care for Mary as if she were his own mother? No, that's not it.
The last time we see Mary is in the book of Acts:
They all joined together constantly in prayer along with the women
and Mary the mother of Jesus and with His brothers . . . (Acts 1:14)
It's thirty years since we first met her, and she is still focused on Jesus; He is the center of her attention. Her love and devotion for Jesus is without question. And just in case we are thinking to ourselves that it must have been so easy to love Him . . . yes, it was. But it didn't make her road an easy one to travel.
Remember in the temple? When Joseph and Mary presented Jesus at the temple, when He was one month old -- remember Simeon? The old man who had prayed and hoped for the Messiah for so many years, was very truthful in what he told the young mother:
This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in
Israel....and a sword will pierce your own soul....(Luke 2:33,34)
Oh, how many times her soul was pierced because of her love for Jesus! Just think how she must have felt -- how frightened she must have been when they fled to Egypt, when Herod the King was seeking Him. He wanted to kill Him, and many wee babes died because of his hunger for power.
When He was twelve, she was frightened again when she and Joseph rushed everywhere searching for Him, and then retraced their steps to the temple. For three days they were not sure if He were alive or dead; then when they found Him in the temple, He said to her, "Mother, I must be about my father's business." (That must have hurt.)
In Mark's gospel, we read of another time she must have been hurt. The leaders in Jerusalem were saying that Jesus, her son, was a fanatic; these respected men said He was a lunatic -- demon possessed. Oh, to have to hear things like that about her child. (That hurt, too.)
In John's gospel, chapter seven, we're told that Jesus' own brothers and sisters rejected Him; they didn't want to have anything to do with Him. They didn't believe what their older brother was telling them. (Imagine what the dinner conversation was like at that family table.) That must have pierced her soul, too.
Every time she saw a lamb being led to the temple for sacrifice, and every time she heard Isaiah's prophecies read, her soul was crushed.
Then on that dark day, her Jesus, the baby that she'd given birth to in Bethlehem, was nailed to the cross. As she had watched, they had beaten Him, mocked Him, and now they were killing Him. Surely Mary's soul was hurting so badly . . .
But her love and devotion to Him was never sidetracked, never blocked. She was unwavering in her love for Him. Even at the cross, when the disciples (except for John) had fled, Mary was still there.
Whether it's the children we bear as mothers, or the believers that we witness to and bring to the Lord, loving people may not always be easy. We may have our soul pierced at times; it may be because of the things that happen to them, or it may be the things that they do. But our love needs to be unwavering, and constant. We need to learn from Mary: to have the proper outlook, and to know that we are servants of the most High. To remember that nothing is impossible with Him. To have a solid foundation by studying His Word. And to protect and love those who are entrusted to our care.
Mary found favor with God by doing these things, and by living this way. May we, too, delight the Lord by striving to do as Mary did.