Of all the people that God used to accomplish his plan to save the world by sending his only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, Mary was the most prominent. She was the virgin girl that God chose to conceive the Lord Jesus Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit. The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end” (Luke 1:30-33). It was certainly a scary message for one who was engaged to be married.
While Mary should be honoured and respected as the mother of Jesus, she should never be elevated to a position where she is worshipped, as others do. Nevertheless, we can learn valuable lessons out of the experience of Mary, as the mother of Jesus. Firstly, we can see that God can use an ordinary person to accomplish his plan. Mary was just an ordinary young lady. There was nothing extra special about Mary except that she was engaged to be married and that she was a virgin. She did not come from a rich or prominent family since she and Joseph could not even afford to offer the regular sacrifice required when presenting a firstborn son to the Lord at the temple, which is a lamb and a dove or a young pigeon. They were only able to present two doves, or young pigeons, an offering required from those who cannot afford a lamb (Lev. 12:8).
The second lesson that we can learn from the attitude of Mary is that humility and submission bring greatness. Mary could not have become the mother of the Lord Jesus Christ had she not submitted to the will of God the Father. She could have said “no” to the angel of the Lord when informed that she will conceive a baby. It could not have been easy for her to agree to God’s plan since this would significantly alter her own marriage plan. But in submission, she said to the angel, “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word” (Luke 1:38).
While Mary became the mother of the Lord Jesus Christ, she did not brag about it. Even after witnessing that her son was not an ordinary boy, we are told that “she kept all these things in her heart” (Luke 2:51). It would have been tempting on her part to boast about what Jesus was doing as a child and as he was growing up, but Mary’s humility prevailed. Her humility was further demonstrated at the wedding in Cana, when she informed Jesus about the wine running out. Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does your concern have to do with Me? My hour has not yet come” (John 2:4). Instead of being offended, she deferred to the Lord Jesus Christ and said to the servants, “Whatever He says to you, do it.” She did not impose as many mothers would have done, especially when it was said in the hearing of the people.
The third lesson that we can learn from Mary is that faith overcomes all. By submitting to the will of the Father, it was her faith that prepared her to face all the possible consequences of allowing herself to be an instrument in bringing about the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ. Certainly, she was not sure in the beginning of how Joseph would take the news that she was pregnant. Had Joseph decided to abandon her, she could have been charged with sexual immorality, which was punishable by being stoned to death. Besides, she could have been put to shame. While good words were said about the Lord Jesus Christ when presented at the temple as a baby, the man named Simeon also said, “yes, a sword will pierce through your own soul also” (Luke 2:35). Her faith carried her through, even to the cross where she saw the sufferings and eventual death of her son, Jesus Christ.
While we can learn many lessons from Mary’s life, she should not be worshipped. As mentioned, she was just an ordinary lady chosen by God as a vessel to fulfill his redemptive plan for the world. Even the Lord Jesus Christ did not elevate her above everybody else in his dealing with her. When someone said to him, “Blessed is the womb that bore You, and the breasts which nursed You!” Jesus responded, “More than that, blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it!” (Luke 11:27-28). This put everything in the right perspective. Mary was an ordinary human being just like you and me. Nevertheless, let us respect her as the mother of the Lord Jesus Christ and learn some lessons from her. Hallelujah!