We are concluding our Women in the Bible series for Mother’s Day by discussing the most famous mother in the Bible – and in history – Mary, the mother of Jesus. When individuals think of Mary, people tend to either elevate her to a status she would never want, or people do not regard Mary with enough respect. As you will discover, Mary never sought glory, but she did something glorious because of her humility and faith.
For this blog series, we are referencing to Dr. Warren W. Wiersbe’s book Life Sentences often. Life Sentences: Discover the Key Themes of 63 Bible Characters focuses on highlighting a key sentence that sums up the life of 63 Bible characters, including Mary, the mother of Jesus. We highly encourage you to pick up a copy of this book for your own reading. It will work well for devotional reading or study.
The key sentence Wiersbe chose for Mary comes from Luke 1:46.
“My soul glorifies the Lord.”
It’s easy to think of Mary as someone out of reach. She was the mother of our Savior! As Wiersbe explains, “Yes, Mary participated in a unique miracle, but in every other way, she was just like any believer today who wants to glorify God.”
Mary Glorified God – Not Herself
When the angel Gabriel appeared to Mary, she did not act pridefully. She did not say anything to suggest she “deserved” to be singled out as someone the Lord called “highly favored.” She wasn’t expecting or counting down the days until the angel showed up to announce that she would give birth to the Son of the Most High. Instead, she simply asked how this would happen. Upon hearing Gabriel’s answer, she not only believed his message, but she also said, “I am the Lord’s servant. May your word to me be fulfilled (Luke 1:38).”
Furthermore, the Magnificat, Mary’s Song found in Luke 1:46-55, shows her desire to glorify God. She continually points to the One who has done these good things. She does not point to herself; instead, she praises God.
“My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant.”
– Luke 1:46:48
Mary’s “great desire was to glorify the Lord in all that she did (Wiersbe).”
Mary Was a Humble Servant
Mary did not use the angel’s message as a means to elevate her own status. She did just the opposite. She humbled herself before God and declared she was the Lord’s servant. As Wiersbe describes, “With beautiful modesty and strong faith, she turned herself over to the Lord for whatever He wanted her to do.”
The King James Version translates this declaration from Mary as “[I’ll be] the handmaid of the Lord,” which was the lowest class of female slave at the time. Too often, we allow pride to take over our lives and attempt to glorify ourselves and our deeds rather than God. However, Mary did just the opposite. Mary sought to serve and glorify the Lord. She did not want herself to get in the way of what He was doing.
Mary Believed and Acted
When it comes to living out our faith, we should take a good hard look at Mary. After Mary declares she is the Lord’s servant, she says, “May it be to me as you have said.” In other words, “Let Your will be done.” She believed in the promises God gave her. But, she went farther than just believing in His promises – she acted on them throughout her life.
“Blessed is she who has believed that
the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!”
– Luke 1:45
Wiersbe points out Mary’s last words as recorded in the Bible: “Do whatever [Jesus] tells you (John 2:5),” and her last appearance is a prayer meeting recorded in Acts 1. As Wiersbe explains, “She heard God’s word and obeyed it, and the Lord did the rest. That’s how we magnify the Lord.”
In our own lives, we must put our faith into action. We must know the will of God and do the will of God. We must believe and act as Mary did.
Mary Was an Ordinary Girl Who Gave Birth to the Savior
When we fall into the trap of believing Mary is an impossible role model for believers, we need only look at who Mary was. She was an ordinary girl. Some viewed her as an ordinary nobody during the time she lived. She was poor, her race and ethnicity were not valued, and she was from Nazareth (a despised town). Yet, none of these attributes kept her from believing God’s promises, obeying, and giving birth to the Savior of the world. She welcomed our Savior into the world, and she was there when he was crucified – the only person to be present at both life-changing events.
Mary Was a Mother to Jesus and His Siblings
We also tend to forget that Mary was a mother. We picture Mary at the nativity, and that is where our minds stop. However, Mary mothered Jesus. She was distraught when they discovered he was missing from their caravan at age twelve and questioned him when they discovered he had stayed behind at the temple in Jerusalem. “When his parents saw him, they were astonished. His mother said to him, ‘Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you (Luke 2:48).’” We also tend to forget that Mary gave birth to other children. She had four more sons and at least one daughter.
Mary, the mother of Jesus, shows us that our willingness to believe and obey God’s will can be used to achieve His great purposes.