Mary Did You Know: From Troubled Maiden to Willing Servant

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David Bahn-Reflections Podcast 

Luke 1:26-38

In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, 27 to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin’s name was Mary. 28 And he came to her and said, “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!” 29 But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be. 30 And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”

34 And Mary said to the angel, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?”

35 And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God. 36 And behold, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. 37 For nothing will be impossible with God.” 38 And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.

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I had an interesting, but all too brief conversation with a non-believer not too long ago. He seemed to think that there was a fundamental error in the Bible. Beyond simply being an irrelevant religious curiosity, his assumption was that there was no lasting truth in Scripture. The conversation was brief simply because he quickly realized that I had a strong different opinion. He dismissed further conversation, I believe, because he thought he would undo my faith. I wish we could have had a deeper conversation. He might have been surprised. We simply went on our way. Maybe one day I can have that conversation. Maybe God will prepare him for that to be more than a lip service agreement to agree to disagree. Seems he was not ready to open himself to a deeper exploration of faith, God, truth, and the eternal truths of Scripture.

Mary, on the other hand displayed a great willingness to enter into the conversation with the angel. She was startled and afraid at the outset. But as the encounter unfolded her fears were allayed and she became a willing servant.

I wonder how often we shut down the conversations about God, his will for us, and our place in relation to the truth of Scripture. It may have to do with our fears, or even the fears of the messenger of God. In the case of the holy angels of God, and in this case the angel Gabriel, there seems to be no fear. He is completely dedicated to delivering the message from God. There is something very powerful in a non-anxious presence. And Gabriel has that in spades. His lack of fear dispels Mary’s initial fear.

Mary’s path from fear to willing servant of the Lord passes by the markers of faith, trust, confidence, grace, and fearless willingness to love and see others for who they are. If someone is not put off by your fear nor dissuaded by your vulnerabilities, you may be willing to open yourself to God’s healing grace and truth.

God has favor toward Mary. She will conceive a child. He will be the Son of God. A miracle is about to happen. For Gabriel that is nothing new. Perhaps he’s seen others express their willingness to bend their will to God’s will. On this occasion that bending is world-changing.

I wonder what fears may need to be allayed within us by which we may become ever more willing servants. That’s what God did for us when he took on human flesh. Maybe you or I need to acknowledge our fears to him and see how he deals with them. Mary is an indication of God’s gentle spirit toward those who open themselves humbly to his word. She didn’t know how things would turn out, but she did finally say, “I am the Lord’s servant. Be it to me as you have said.” Mary didn’t know. But she did believe. And we are blessed for it.

Mary Did You Know?

Mary, did you know that your baby boy
Would one day walk on water?
Mary, did you know that your baby boy
Would save our sons and daughters?
Did you know that your baby boy
Has come to make you new?
This child that you delivered, will soon deliver you

Mary, did you know that your baby boy
Will give sight to a blind man?
Mary, did you know that your baby boy
Will calm the storm with his hand?

Did you know that your baby boy
Has walked where angels trod?
When you kiss your little baby
You kiss the face of God

Mary, did you know?
Mary, did you know?
Mary, did you know? Did you know?
Mary, did you know? Mary, did you know?
Mary, did you know? Mary, did you know?
Mary, did you know? Mary, did you know?

The blind will see, the deaf will hear
The dead will live again
The lame will leap, the dumb will speak
The praises of the Lamb

Mary, did you know that your baby boy
Is Lord of all creation?
Mary, did you know that your baby boy
Would one day rule the nations?
Did you know that your baby boy
Is heaven’s perfect Lamb?
That sleeping child you’re holding is the great, I Am

Mary, did you know? (Mary, did you know?)
Mary, did you know? (Mary, did you know?)
Mary, did you know? Oh

Songwriters: Mark Lowry / Buddy Greene
Mary, Did You Know? lyrics © Greensleeves Publishing Limited, Word Music, LLC

PS: You might find it interesting to read this biblical examination of the song.

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