By the time Mary delivered Jesus, she had been through a lot. A lotttt.
Here's a timeline recap from Luke chapter one and two :
Mary is visited by the angel Gabriel, Gabriel tells Mary that she will be the mother of the Lord God in the flesh, Mary, the virgin, is found miraculously with child, she tells her fiance, her fiance doesn't believe her, her fiance is visited by an angel of the Lord, he finds out that everything she said was true, he takes his pregnant fiancee on a very long, mandatory trip to register for a census, Mary arrives with her fiance Joseph, very pregnant, there is no room at the inn, Mary delivers her baby, and then places him in a manger, because that was her only option.
This woman was a tough cookie, and a tough cookie who relied on the Lord who highly favored her.
Mary was hardcore, and she was not messing around.
Back in Luke 1:26-38, when Mary first got the most incredible news in her entire life, Gabriel also tells Mary that she was highly favored by God. Gabriel also tells her that the Lord was with her.
How was Mary living in favor with the Lord? What did her life look like?
Some Biblical Scholars believe that when the angel tells Mary "The Lord is with you" In Luke 1:28, he is actually saying, "The Lord be with you " and meant it as a common greeting and blessing, like we see in Judges 6:12 or Ruth 2:4. But the other theory is that he did in fact mean "The Lord is with you", and it could be referencing the presence of the Holy Spirit with Mary. In the Old Testament, not all believers had the presence of the Holy Spirit. It wasn't until after the death and resurrection of Jesus that all believers receive the gift of the Holy Spirit when they accept salvation. So, in the Old Testament and prior to Pentecost, there wasn't a promise of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.
In Numbers 27:18, Joshua has the presence of the Holy Spirit, but He is not all believers. In Judges 3:10, it's made clear that the Holy Spirit came upon believers for a period of time, but He would leave, like in 1 Samuel 16:14, when believers stopped submitting to Him, or they would stop obeying and go with their own fleshly wants.
If the latter of these ideas is true, and the angel meant to tell Mary that the Holy Spirit of God was with her, that tells us so much about her character. Mary was abiding with the Holy Spirit, she was settling down at home with Him. She submitted her life to the Lord, and made her decisions and choices prayerfully and with guidance from God's Word.
Another really obvious thing that we observe see from Mary's life is that she was a virgin, which meant she was following God's Word about marriage, and it was something she took seriously. She made a commitment of purity to the Lord because she knew that His way of doing things would be the best way for her to live her life, and have a marriage that God blessed, which you can see He really did.
In Luke 1:45, Elizabeth makes a prophetic statement about Mary and gives a blessing to her: "Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!”
Mary had no doubts in God. That's why she jumped on board, straight away, when she got the news about Jesus. She trusted God right from the start, and knew that He would not leave her hanging. She was confident in the promises He had made to her.
I think one of the most telling things in the Bible about Mary's character is her song in Luke 1:46-55.
46 And Mary said: “My soul glorifies the Lord
Mary was highly favored with the Lord, not because she was perfect. She was a regular woman with a regular life, but what separated her was that she loved God with a fierce and trusting love. Her spirit rejoiced in God, her savior. She was humble. She knew of how abundant God's mercy was. She knew of all the incredible things God had done for her people, and she was completely confident that He would extend that to her. She knew God's heart, and sought after it. Mary was not a perfect woman, she didn't have it all together, she wasn't living an insta perfect life, but Mary was a woman who was confident in God above all things. She was a very strong woman and her strength came from God, and that's what kept her fighting.
It's hard to look at the life of Mary sometimes because it's hard not to feel like you won't be able to measure up to the way she lived her life. No one else will carry the Savior of the world for nine months or raise Him. No one else will support His ministry the way she did. We won't get an announcement from and angel about the birth of Christ and have to give birth to God incarnate in a manger. But, we all have a calling on our lives from God. We all have a purpose, and God has a plan for each one of us. It seems like we'll never live up to being the perfect Mother Mary figure, and we won't because she wasn't perfect or flawless either. We won't be virtuous women of God 100% of the time, all day every day, because we're people. We're sinful people in a messed up, hard to swallow, sinful world. But, we do have a Savior who forgives relentlessly and loves beyond what our brains can think. We have the legacy of a woman who lived a highly favored life, a woman who we can strive to be like. We can live in God's mercy, we can be confident in Him, we can soak up His love, we can walk in His forgiveness, we can say yes to Him without questions, we can be all in when He calls us. We can live in the legacy of Jesus, a man who was born of a woman who lived a highly favored life.
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