And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and exclaimed with a loud cry, ���Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb��� Blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her by the Lord��� (Luke 1:42, 45).
In that tiny babe of Bethlehem, both God and Mary gave to the world a gift of themselves. ���To assure us of His immutable counsel of peace, God gave His only-begotten Son to become one of the human family, forever to retain His human nature.��� (1) So it was not mere happenstance that the infant Jesus carried the genetic make-up of his mother Mary, a legacy that would be his throughout eternity.
Just who was this woman, Mary, whom the Almighty Son of God would not only voluntarily take on her DNA but be willing to lay helpless, vulnerable and trusting in her arms?
One of the most striking characteristics of Mary was her adventurous spirit, her proclivity for always being where the action was. She certainly could not be classified as a homebody. In fact, if Scripture is to be believed, she was seldom at home at all! Every mention of Mary places her in a different geographic location. (2)
Following the angel���s visitation, she left Nazareth and went to Judea to see her cousin, Elizabeth. Three months later, she returned to Nazareth to face Joseph with the news of her pregnancy. Their dilemma resolved, they journeyed together to Bethlehem and arrive just in time for Jesus��� birth. Within thirty-three days, Mary walks to Jerusalem to dedicate her firstborn and hears a prophetic message directed specifically to her.
Shortly thereafter, she, Joseph and the young child leave Palestine altogether. As expatriates it is possible they lived for a time among the large Jewish community in Alexandra , Egypt, assimilating the Greek language and taking advantage of the scholarly atmosphere that thrived in that region.
Returning to Nazareth, via Judea, the record reflects that it was family custom to go down to Jerusalem for the yearly celebrations. As an active participant, Mary was not hesitant to speak out openly when confronting her son who just happened to be standing among the temple scholars.
When Mary is mentioned next, she is in Cana of Galilee coordinating a wedding. After this event Scripture says that she went down to Capernaum for a few days and then returned to Nazareth��� via Jerusalem.
Once back in Nazareth, her sons urged her to return to Capernaum with them in hopes that her influence would be persuasive in convincing Jesus to stop his foolish activity before he endangered himself and others. Mary did not bring Jesus home. In fact there are indications that she left Nazareth for good and joined the group of women who accompanied Jesus thus becoming an apostolic witness to his miracles and teachings.
Mary was there at the cross and at the empty tomb. She witnessed his ascension and was present in the upper room when the Holy Spirit descended. When tongues of fire rested on her head, she praised God and prophesied as she had in the beginning when the Spirit overshadowed her at Jesus��� conception. The woman who gave birth to the Son of God also helped give birth to the movement that would carry His good news to the world.
Tradition has it that Mary accompanied the apostle John in his travels living for a while with him in the city of Ephesus. I like to believe that she is the ���elect lady��� to whom John addressed his second letter -written to encourage the ���children��� of her ministry and edify the believers who met in her home-church. (3)
Luke���s carefully researched and documented account of the nativity has details that only Mary would have known. He records her song of the mysteries of incarnation and election ��� that God would become one with the humble and that she would be chosen to participate in that purpose. What she treasured and pondered in her heart is the very essence of the Christmas story we enjoy today.
Mary, a sensitive, creative poet who sang the Magnificat and recalled the Angel���s Song; Mary, a reflective, insightful student of Scripture and history, whose son���s education was admired and praised by leading scholars; Mary, an adventurer, world traveler, boldly courageous in a society that dictated the woman���s role; this is the blessed woman whom God chose be mother, friend and disciple of his Son. (4)
- Ellen White, The Desire of Ages, Pacific Press Publishing Association, page 25>
- Matthew 2:11, 13-15, 21-23, 49,50; 27:56,61 Mark 8:31-35; 15:40,47 Luke 1:26,39,56; 2:5, 22,34, 41, 58; 8:1-3; 23:55, 56; 24:1 John 2:1, 12, 13; 19:25,27 Acts 1:12, 14, 2:1-4
- Addressed to ���the elect lady��� whom John loves as do ���all who know the truth��� fits Mary. Other phases connect the message to Mary: ���Just as you heard it from the beginning��� ���Do not lose what you have worked for, but receive a full reward.��� ���Who abides in the teaching has BOTH the Father and the Son.��� (And yes, I am aware of the ���dating problem���.)
- This article on Mary has been expanded from a short essay previously published in the Journal, Ponderings. Volume 2. No 6, Page 15.
This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/2841