26th November 2012, mgh
1) Mary's great example to us
Mary who was chosen by Yahweh to bear the son of God, the Saviour of man, must have been a remarkable woman in regard to her faith and character. The record of the gospel of Luke states that she was “highly favoured”. It was most important that she would be a suitable guide in the raising of the young Messiah .
And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. (Luke 1:28)
The name Mary comes from the Hebrew, Miriam, meaning rebellious or bitter. Mary was to experience great sorrow as prophesied by Simeon after the Birth of Y'shua .Mary would see her son crucified and the words of Simeon would be fulfilled when the Roman sword would metaphorically, as Simeon prophesied to Mary, “pierce through thy own soul also”.
And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel: and the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Spirit, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord's Christ.
And he came by the Spirit into the temple: and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him after the custom of the law, Then took he him up in his arms, and blessed God, and said, Lord, now let thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word: For mine eyes have seen thy salvation, Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people; A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.
And Joseph and his mother marvelled at those things which were spoken of him. And Simeon blessed them, and said unto Mary his mother, Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against;
(Yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also,) that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed. (Luke 2:25-35)
When we take the portion of scripture where Mary speaks to Elizabeth about the expectation of the Son of God, we gain a glimpse of her mind and her great faith. She reveals a deep understanding of the Old Testament and reverence for Yahweh. Her words in Luke 1: 46-55 reveal an attitude like the faithful of old and the hope for the future redemption of mankind.
Luke 1:46 states “Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord,”
which echoes the words of Psalm 34. There is a recognition of reverence due to Yahweh and his great name..
My soul shall make her boast in the LORD: the humble shall hear thereof, and be glad. O magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together.(Psalms 34:2-3)
In verses 47 and 48 of Luke 1 there are references to Yahweh as the Saviour. Mary rejoices in the hope of salvation and reflects the mind and faith of Hannah as shown in 1 Samuel 2..
“And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Saviour. For he has regarded the low estate of his handmaiden: for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.
And Hannah prayed, and said, My heart rejoices in the LORD, mine horn is exalted in the LORD: my mouth is enlarged over mine enemies; because I rejoice in thy salvation. (I Samuel 2::1)
The same sentiment is shown by the Psalmist who also rejoices in the promise of salvation.
And my soul shall be joyful in the LORD: it shall rejoice in his salvation. (Psalms 35:9)
Luke 1 verses 49 and 50 reveal Mary's trust in Yahweh and the greatness of his name, his mercy and promises “For he that is mighty has done to me great things; and holy is his name. And his mercy is on them that fear him from generation to generation.”
Two examples from the Psalms that show the same recognition of Yahweh's mercy and power follow.
Thy righteousness also, O God, is very high, who hast done great things: O God, who is like unto thee! ( Psalms 71:19)
Let them praise thy great and terrible name; for it is holy.(Psalms 99:3)
In Luke 1 verse 51 Mary acknowledges again the power of Yahweh and his judgements that he brings upon the people and nations. It shows a recognition that Mary is aware that her contemporary generation will face the wrath of Yahweh and Israel will not escape. “He has showed strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.”
The Psalms frequently deal with the way that Yahweh deals with the devices of the people.
O sing unto the LORD a new song; for he has done marvellous things: his right hand, and his holy arm, has gotten him the victory. (Psalms 98:1)
The LORD brings the counsel of the heathen to nought: he makes the devices of the people of none effect.(Psalms 33:10)
In Luke 1:52 Mary mentions the way in which Yahweh deals with corrupt leaders, elevating some and deposing others. “He has put down the mighty from their seats, and exalted them of low degree.”
This time there are echoes of the words of Ezekiel.
Thus said the Lord GOD; Remove the diadem, and take off the crown: this shall not be the same: exalt him that is low, and abase him that is high.(Ezekiel 21:26)
In Luke 1:53-54 Mary deals with Yahweh's great mercy. Even though mankind has neglected the promises and failed to acknowledge their Creator, he is merciful and has provided a way of salvation for the faithful. “He has filled the hungry with good things; and the rich he has sent empty away. He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy;”
The Psalms have many references to the mercy and salvation of Yahweh that has been expressed by Mary. The following quotation from the Psalms give a reason for this mercy, which is expressed as his mercy and his truth toward the house of Israel, in Psalm 98..
He has remembered his mercy and his truth toward the house of Israel: all the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God.(Psalms 98:3)
In Luke 1:55 Mary takes up this theme and the importance of the promises made to the patriarchs of Israel, to Abraham and his promised seed. “As he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham, and to his seed for ever.”
The following selection of verses from Psalm 105 encapsulate the many ideas expressed by Mary in these few verses. The rejoicing and thanks she felt, the power of Yahweh, his marvellous works, his judgements in the earth and his covenant that “he made with Abraham, and his oath unto Isaac” Yahweh had remembered that covenant that would be fulfilled in the salvation that would come through the child that she would give birth to..
O give thanks unto the LORD; call upon his name: make known his deeds among the people. Sing unto him, sing psalms unto him: talk ye of all his wondrous works. Glory ye in his holy name: let the heart of them rejoice that seek the LORD.
Seek the LORD, and his strength: seek his face evermore. Remember his marvellous works that he has done; his wonders, and the judgements of his mouth; O ye seed of Abraham his servant, ye children of Jacob his chosen. He is the LORD our God: his judgements are in all the earth.
He has remembered his covenant for ever, the word which he commanded to a thousand generations. Which covenant he made with Abraham, and his oath unto Isaac. (Psalms 105:1-9)
We cannot but be impressed with the mind and thinking of Mary. She places almost no emphasis on her role in bearing the child. Her words reflect her knowledge of the Word, of the Old Testament. She is familiar with these writings and they have been imprinted in her heart and so made her the right mother so that we can see why she was highly favoured. and chosen for the work that she had to undertake. She would have taken heed to the directive given to Israel in Deuteronomy 6.
And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And you shall teach them diligently unto thy children, and shall talk of them when you sit in thine house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise up. (Deuteronomy 6:6-7)
She had faith, conviction, courage and knowledge that equipped her for the task that lay ahead for her. There would be sorrow, but ultimately joy for her in the salvation that came through the Messiah, Y'shua, 'Yah who saves'..
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