Today’s Reading: Matthew 12:46-50; Mark 3:31-35; Luke 1:26-38, 46-56; 2:1-7, 21-38, 8:19-21
There are five women in the genealogy of Jesus – five women with stained reputations but also five women whom God chose to bless by placing them in this royal lineage. As Jesus was growing up, I am sure his parents taught him the stories of his ancestors.
What would Jesus have said regarding his precious mother, Mary, the fifth of the women in this genealogy recorded by Matthew? Let’s look at her story – a story of a young woman who was the object of gossip, speculation, condemnation and, best of all, the love of Jesus.
Mary – a simple young woman seen by God to be worthy of the task of raising God’s Son.
Mary – a virgin waiting for her upcoming marriage to the carpenter Joseph.
Mary – found to be with child before her wedding day.
Who would believe her when she said an angel appeared to her?
Who would be convinced she was still a virgin?
Who would be the first to call out for her stoning?
This is the story of how Mary came to be in the lineage of Jesus:
In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a village in Galilee, to a virgin named Mary. She was engaged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of King David. Gabriel appeared to her and said, “Greetings, favored woman! The Lord is with you!”
Confused and disturbed, Mary tried to think what the angel could mean. “Don’t be afraid, Mary,” the angel told her, “for you have found favor with God! You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David. And he will reign over Israel forever; his Kingdom will never end!
Mary asked, “But how can this happen? I am a virgin.”
The angel replied, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the baby to be born will be holy, and he will be called the Son of God. What more, your relative Elizabeth has become pregnant in her old age! People used to say she was barren, but she has conceived a son and is now in her sixth month. For nothing is impossible with God.”
Mary responded, “I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.” And the angel left her. – Luke 1:26-38
She could have panicked. She could have argued, “Why me?!!” She could have worried about her reputation or what her community might do to her. But Mary, precious Mary, responded in submission to God’s holy plan with a humility that is still highly respected today.
Mary – who sang a song of praise, “…Oh, how my soul praises the Lord. How my spirit rejoices in God my Savior! For he took notice of his lowly servant girl, and from now on all generations will call me blessed…” (1:47-48).
Mary – who traveled to Bethlehem in Judea, while far along in her pregnancy, only to arrive in labor with no place but a simple manger to give birth to the Christ child (2:4-7).
Mary – who listened to the shepherds’ story of what the angels had said to them and kept all these things in her heart, thinking about them often (2:16-19).
Mary – who presented her baby to the Lord in Jerusalem and was amazed by what Simeon had to say about the baby she held in her arms. Can you imagine what she was thinking when she heard his words: “This child is destined to cause many in Israel to fall, but he will be a joy to many others. He has been sent as a sign from God, but many will oppose him. As a result, the deepest thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your very soul” (2:34-35).
Mary – who, while talking to Simeon, was approached by the prophet Anna, who began talking to everyone who had been waiting expectantly for God to rescue Jerusalem (2:36-38).
At what point do you think Mary began to feel a little overwhelmed? She was human and would have felt the same things we would feel if we thought we had lost our twelve year old in Jerusalem during the crowded Passover festival (2:48). She was his mother, no wonder she pushed him toward greatness at the wedding in Cana (John 2:3-5). She was his mother, no wonder she interrupted his ministry with the desire to talk with him and spend time with him (Matthew 12:46). He was her son, no wonder she wept as he hung on the cross dying (Matthew 27:56).
What would Jesus have to say about this fifth woman listed in his genealogy? She was his mother and he loved her.
Standing near the cross were Jesus’ mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary (the wife of Clopas), and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother standing there beside the disciple he loved, he said to her, “Dear woman, here is your son.” And he said to the disciple, “Here is your mother,” and from then on this disciple took her into his home. – John 19:25-27
Jesus said very little while on the cross, but he took the time to respond to his mother’s breaking heart. His love for her must have been so great! Wouldn’t it be great to be loved by Jesus in that way? But wait, we are! Remember this conversation:
Jesus asked, “Who is my mother? Who are my brothers?” Then he pointed to his disciples and said, “Look, these are my mother and brothers. Anyone who does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother!” – Matthew 12:48-50
This fifth woman in the genealogy of Jesus was no doubt loved and cared for by her son, but that same love and care was poured out for us when Jesus gave His life on the cross so that we might spend eternity with Him. Let’s consider how much Jesus loves us as we finish our morning coffee…