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Monday, December 7, 2015

Why Mary?



Why did God choose Mary to bear His Son? What did He see in her that moved Him to select the Virgin to nurture, comfort, and educate the Savior of the world?

I think those are reasonable questions to ask, especially perhaps during the Advent season. Truth is, of course, we don’t know the answers. Scripture is silent. But we can infer several reasons from what Scripture does tell us.

First, Mary possessed courage. In first century Israel, unmarried pregnant girls were outcasts. Israelite culture considered sexual immorality a capital offense, punishable by stoning. That’s why the adulterous woman in St. John’s gospel (chapter 8) would have died had Jesus not intervened. Mary, knowing her unwed pregnancy would cost her reputation, probably her betrothal to Joseph, and perhaps even her life – nevertheless, laid herself at God’s feet and told the angel, “Be it done to me according to Your word.”

Mary knew Scripture. In an era when the culture didn’t consider it a priority to teach Scripture to girls, it's clear Mary read and memorized God’s word. Her adoration of God (Luke 1:46-55) is an example. She quotes or alludes to at least six Old Testament texts in those short eleven verses (1 Samuel 2:1-10, Psalm 34:2, Psalm 35:9, Psalm 98:1, Psalm 103:17, Psalm 107:9).

Mary also demonstrated humility. She could have told the angel, “You’re asking too much of me. Send someone else.” But instead, she answered, “May it be done to me . . .” In other words, she said not her will, but God’s. Not her plans, but His. Perhaps as she spoke, she remembered Solomon’s conclusion in Ecclesiastes, “The last word, when all is heard: Fear God and keep his commandments” (Ecclesiastes 12:13). Perhaps she remembered the Proverb, “Charm is deceptive and beauty fleeting; the woman who fears the Lord is to be praised” (Proverbs 31:30).

Further, Mary presented herself obedient to God. "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord.” If Eve, the Mother of mankind, had answered God as Mary, and not disobeyed the Father’s commandment about the forbidden tree, salvation history would be different. But Eve disobeyed, and Mary, by her obedience, fixed what our first mother broke.

And finally, if there is a final word about the Theotokos (Greek for “God-bearer” or, “Birth-giver-of-God, or “Mother of God”) Mary didn’t model herself after the world, but let love for the Triune God transform her into a useful vessel for Him.

No wonder God chose her to carry and mother His Son. 

When Christians recite one of the earliest statements of Christian faith – the Nicene Creed – we declare, “by the Holy Spirit [Jesus] was incarnate of the Virgin Mary, and became man. In so doing, we remember we can look to Mary as an example worthy of imitation of her obedience, humility, courage, purity and knowledge of God’s word. 

God chose the Virgin Mary to bring the God-Made-Flesh into the world. By imitating Jesus’ mother, we bring Him to our world.



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