December 23, 2013
Even Mary Needed a Friend
Yes, I see it all now: I’m the Lord’s maid, ready to serve. Let it be with me just as you say (Luke 1:38, The Message).
Friend to Friend
Has God ever asked you to do something that seemed illogical in your pretty head? Has He ever called you to a task that seemed nigh to impossible? Can you imagine how Mary, the mother of Jesus, must have felt when Gabriel gave her the news of her impending pregnancy?
This heavenly decision caused an earthly dilemma. An unwed pregnancy could lead to her parents disowning her, her fiancée divorcing her, and her accusers stoning her to death. She had to know that she was called. God sent an angel to explain her calling and sent her to Elizabeth for confirmation.
When God called Moses to lead the Israelites out of Egyptian captivity, Moses tried to convince Him to send someone else (Exodus 4:13). When God called Gideon to lead the Israelites into battle, Gideon reminded Him of his lack of credentials and asked for a sign (Judges 6:17). When God called Jeremiah to be the next great prophet, Jeremiah argued that he was far too young for the job (Jeremiah 1:6). When God appointed Jonah to preach repentance to the people of Nineveh, he hopped on the next boat out of town (Jonah 1:3). But when God called Mary to bear His only Son, she accepted the assignment with beauty and grace.
“I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May it be to me as you have said.”
In Peterson’s paraphrase, The Message, Mary said, “Yes, I see it all now: I’m the Lord’s maid, ready to serve. Let it be with me just as you say.”
Another translation puts it this way: “Behold, the bondslave of the Lord; may it be done to me according to your word” (nasb).
The Greek word for “bondslave” is doulos or doule (feminine form) and means “one who gives himself up to the will of another, without any idea of bondage.” In the Old Testament it referred to a slave set free who chose to stay with his master for the rest of his life. In the New Testament, it was used figuratively of a Christian set free from the slavery of sin who chose to serve his master, Jesus, for the rest of his life.
Here’s what happened next:
At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, where she entered Zechariah’s home and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. In a loud voice she exclaimed: “Blessed are you among women and blessed is the child you will bear! But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy.” (Luke 1:39-44)
At God’s prompting, Elizabeth joined Mary on the stage, grabbed her by the hand, and joined her on the journey to fulfill an extraordinary purpose. But this was not simply a supporting role. She was a leading lady in her own right.
Elizabeth was more than an incubator for the forerunner of Jesus, John the Baptist. She was a prophet who God chose to mentor the mother of His child. Elizabeth’s grasp of the situation was remarkable! She understood that Mary was carrying the Messiah when even those closest to Jesus in future years would not.
And why was that? It is simple, really. It was not because Elizabeth was especially smart. It is because the illuminating power of the Holy Spirit revealed it to her. And that is the same with you and with me. We understand spiritual truth only when the Holy Spirit opens our eyes to see.
Isn’t it wonderful that God created women for relationship? He knew that Mary was going to need a friend—a girlfriend. God is always with us, but sometimes He gives us like-minded friends with whom to walk the journey.
Lord, thank You for girlfriends. I am so thankful that You have not called us to walk through life alone, but arm-in-arm with friends. Show me someone who needs an extra hug, a word of encouragement, or a helping hand today. May I be as free with my words of praise as Elizabeth was with hers.
In Jesus’ Name,
Now It’s Your Turn
Why do you think God sent Mary to Elizabeth?
What do you think Mary did during her time with Elizabeth?
What did she get to experience before she returned home?
How would this have been helpful during her time of delivery in the stable?
Click over to my Facebook page and tell me one woman who has been a friend to you. I’ll randomly pick one entry and send you both a gift card for a cup of coffee.
More from the Girlfriends
Today’s devotion was taken from my book, What God Really Thinks about Women: Finding Your Significance Through the Women Jesus Encountered. This book goes through every encounter Jesus had with a woman in the New Testament, and shows how he broke a rule every time, just to show them they mattered…to show you that you matter. He risked his reputation to save theirs. Read their encounters and see yourself through Jesus’ eyes.
And just in time to start the New Year off right, my book Praying for Your Husband from Head to Toe: A Daily Guide to Scripture-Based Prayer is now available. Click on the title to watch a video or read a sample chapter.
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how to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
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