This past week at youth group as we continued to talk about legacy I was going to talk about Abraham, you know, the father of the Christian faith. And I had an idea of what I would talk about: righteousness. Because well he was the father of our faith for the righteousness given to him from God… But I didn’t end up talking about that. Instead I was lead to talk about Mary, the mother of Jesus.
Mary was a young girl, anywhere from 9-14 or 15 years old when she was betrothed to Joseph, a man that was probably in his 30’s. She was innocent. In my mind I imagined her being a petite, gentle, young girl. I imagine her as kind hearted and soft spoken. Genuinely sweet and caring. I don’t know this to be true exactly but I don’t see any evidence in scripture of the opposite so, I’m taking some artistic license in my mind. Anyways, we do know that she was young and betrothed when the angel announced that she was going to be the mother of the Messiah.
Now in our understanding of the word betrothed it would mean something like an engagement, a promise of being with someone… but it’s a little more serious than just an engagement. I mean getting engaged is a big deal but when compared to the act of getting married it pales in comparison. Well a betrothal was more of the act of getting married than it was the act of getting engaged. The only difference was that they waited a year before they consummated the marriage. So this is why Mary was still a virgin but also why Joseph thought to himself that he would “divorce” her quietly. You don’t have to divorce someone that you aren’t already married to.
Matthew 1:18-19 ” This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.“
Pretty crazy right. Mary a young, married, virgin girl is approached by an angel. She is told that she was chosen to give birth and be the mother of the Messiah. She explains that can’t happen because she is a virgin. As though that would change God’s mind… the angel announces that, “With God all things are possible.” My response would have still been a little wary because come one… who had ever heard of a virgin giving birth? But Mary’s response was humble and sincere, “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her.”
Mary humbled herself and believed God. Do you think maybe this was why she was chosen to be the mother of Jesus?
No matter what, everyone has a chance to leave a legacy and we chose whether our legacy will give God glory or not. Mary’s legacy was Jesus, the Messiah. But why?
I think that Luke gives us a couple of clues to answer that question.
Luke 2:8-20 “And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.”
Luke 2:41-52 “Every year Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem for the Festival of the Passover. When he was twelve years old, they went up to the festival, according to the custom. After the festival was over, while his parents were returning home, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but they were unaware of it. Thinking he was in their company, they traveled on for a day. Then they began looking for him among their relatives and friends. When they did not find him, they went back to Jerusalem to look for him. After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers. When his parents saw him, they were astonished. His mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you.” “Why were you searching for me?” he asked. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” But they did not understand what he was saying to them. Then he went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. But his mother treasured all these things in her heart. And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.”
Mary treasured up and pondered on the things of Jesus. She pondered on the idea that shepherds would come to glorify the son that had just been born and she pondered on the very fact that Jesus knew things that others didn’t, he was wise and was favored by God and man. She treasured the things of Jesus in her heart.
Colossians 3:1-2 “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.”
Romans 8:5-6 “Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace.”
Mary had her heart set on things above before they were above. She had her heart and her mind set on Christ.
In contrast to Mary we look at another who instead of choosing to set their heart on things above, choose to reject those very things. Pharaoh.
Exodus talks about the Israelites slavery in Egypt and how God called Moses to lead the Israelites out of their bondage and into the Promised Land. Moses went to Pharaoh and spoke on behalf of God to, “Let My people go!” But Pharaoh hardened his heart and he would not let the people go. From then on, no matter the sign that was presented or the sickness that afflicted them, God continued to harden Pharaoh’s heart. When you choose to set your heart against the things of God your heart becomes hardened to the things above.
Mary was the mother of our faith because before there was salvation she set her heart on it. Hebrews 11:1 “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” Mary treasured the things of Jesus in her heart for He was the assurance of things that she did not see.
Where is your heart? What do you set your heart on?
Are you like Mary, and set your heart on the things above, on the things of Jesus?
Or are you like Pharaoh, do you turn your heart from the signs of God so that your heart becomes hardened?