By Abi Lasquety Ruelo
Delayed obedience is disobedience, or so they say. Sometimes, people say yes to God without really knowing what they are getting into. They simply trust that God has a perfect will for them and that He will bring everything into completion in His perfect time.
Mary, the mother of Jesus, is one such person. At a very young age, she said yes to the call of being the mother of God without really knowing what was in store for her. There is something about Mary that made God choose her. What about her? I am sure she was not the only virgin during that time. Surely, there were other girls who were good and deserving. Mary could have also said no to the call. But she said yes! Right away! There was something about Mary that drew her to God.
Luke 1:26-27 says, “In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a village in Galilee, to a virgin named Mary. She was engaged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of King David.” In these verses, we will state why it had to be Mary and nobody else. Have you ever thought of what could have happened if Mary said no? Maybe God will find somebody else. But these verses state why Mary was the perfect choice. She is part of the equation that fulfills the prophecies of old.
Mary was from Nazareth. “Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.” says Philippians 2:6-7. We all know that Jesus came to serve and not to be served. It was prophesied long ago that the Messiah would be of little reputation. To be called a Nazarene was an insult in those days. In John 1:45-46, when Philip was telling Nathaniel that they have found the one that Moses and the other prophets wrote about, that He is Jesus the son of Joseph from Nazareth. What did Nathaniel say? He said, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Mary, coming from a poor background, means that Jesus would also be born poor . If Jesus had been born rich, do you think it would be easy for Him to reach out to the poor people in His community? That is why Mary coming from Nazareth was an important factor in this equation.
Mary was engaged to Joseph. Micah 5:2 says, “But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, are only a small village among all the people of Judah. Yet a ruler of Israel, whose origins are in the distant past, will come from you on my behalf.” Mary, being engaged to Joseph, a man whose heritage would require him to go to the city of David called Bethlehem, would fulfill this prophecy. In Luke 2:1, 3-6, Ceasar Augustus ordered a census which required every man in the Roman empire to return to his birthplace to be counted. When Joseph and Mary made this trip, Mary was already with child. That would put Mary in Bethlehem at just the right time to give birth to Jesus.
Through Mary’s marriage to Joseph, she enters his lineage. And Jesus would be qualified to wear the title, son of David. This fulfills scripture. Jeremiah 23:5-6 says, “For the time is coming,” says the Lord, “when I will raise up a righteous descendant from King David’s line. He will be a King who rules with wisdom. He will do what is just and right throughout the land. And this will be his name: ‘The Lord Is Our Righteousness.’ In that day Judah will be saved, and Israel will live in safety.”
Lastly, Mary was a virgin. “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel,” says Isaiah 7:14. This was critical in the equation. Mary cannot be married to any man to kill the speculation that Jesus could have an earthly father. Also, Jesus not having an earthly father means that original sin could not have been transferred to Him. Mary also being a virgin, cannot have a bad reputation. If she did, do you think people will believe her when she says she conceived of the Holy Spirit?
So these things give truth to the prophecies about the Messiah. And that is why it had to be Mary. Nobody else. She is the balance that makes the prophecy come true.
But aside from all of these things, why did God really choose Mary? Did God see something in Mary that He did not see in anybody else? Was she just blessed?
“In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a village in Galilee, to a virgin named Mary. She was engaged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of King David. Gabriel appeared to her and said, “Greetings, favored woman! The Lord is with you!” Confused and disturbed, Mary tried to think what the angel could mean. “Don’t be afraid, Mary,” the angel told her, “for you have found favor with God! You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David. And he will reign over Israel forever; his Kingdom will never end!” Mary asked the angel, “But how can this happen? I am a virgin.” The angel replied, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the baby to be born will be holy, and he will be called the Son of God. Mary responded, “I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.” And then the angel left her.”
Luke 1:26-35, 38
Do you see how Mary responded? If you do not know, research says that Mary was about 13 or 14 years old when she had Jesus. At that time, 12 year old girls were already at the betrothal stage. Can you imagine making such a huge decision when you were 12? I was still playing outside with my friends when I was at that time. There must have really been something about Mary that God specifically chose her to be the mother of Jesus. Why did God choose Mary?
God chose Mary because she was favored. Luke 1:28 says, “The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.” What does being favored mean? In my opinion, favor is like grace. It is undeserved and unmerited but you get it anyway. It is being preferred over others. So why was Mary favored? Maybe because she kept herself pure. It is easy to say that I am a virgin, but could you say that you have never thought of bad things too? Mary did not only keep her body pure but her mind as well. You might be thinking that God will not favor you anymore because of all the bad things you have done in the past. True. But that should not stop you from living a life that is pleasing to Him.
God chose Mary because she was obedient. Luke 1:38 says, “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Look at how she responded to Gabriel. Do you think Mary knew what was to come? She was very confused when God chose her. Do you think she knew the enormity of the situation she would face in the future? Still, she said yes and trusted everything to God.
Mary surrendered everything to God. Luke 2:34-35 says, “Then Simeon blessed them, and he said to Mary, the baby’s mother, “This child is destined to cause many in Israel to fall, and many others to rise. He has been sent as a sign from God, but many will oppose him. As a result, the deepest thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your very soul.” Mary did not have any idea what was going to happen in the future. She did not know that she would have to face people who would hate her son. She did not know that many would prefer to set a criminal lose than her innocent child. She did not know that people would want her son to die. And most of all, she did not know that she would watch her son suffer and be crucified right in front of her eyes. But she said yes.
Do you know why God really chose Mary? Because God knew that Mary would be the perfect mother for Jesus. God saw the way Mary would raise her son. Mary showed Jesus how to love the poor people around them. I am sure that when Jesus was small, Mary was the one who taught Him how to pray. And she taught Him all about the laws at that time. And told Him about all the stories of His people. She taught Him all about God, His Father and she brought Him to the synagogue to learn more about the word. Mary was so full of God that she was able to impart to Jesus everything that she knew.
Kenosis is a Greek word that is the concept of 'self-emptying' one's own will and becoming entirely receptive to God and His divine will. It is emptying yourself of the things of this world so that God can fill you and do mighty things through you. When all of me is out of the way, that is when God can use me. When my tank is dry, it is when God can fill me up. So we have to be empty in order to be filled. Just like Mary, we we need to be so full of the Lord in order to serve from the overflow. We must become less so that He can be great in our life.