The Bondslave Mother

Have you ever been falsely accused? Slandered? Exposed to public humiliation? We’ve all experienced the embarrassment that comes from being misunderstood. Most of us can relate to the pain of verbal insult. But imagine being totally innocent of serious accusation, but suspected of a crime punishable by stoning (Deuteronomy 22:23–24), all because you’ve obeyed God.

That was Mary’s situation.

Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: when His mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child by the Holy Spirit. And Joseph her husband, being a righteous man and not wanting to disgrace her, planned to send her away secretly.

But when he had considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for the Child who has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. (Matthew 1:18-20)

 

By submitting to the Father’s plan, she stepped into the role every young Jewish women dreamed of, but she also embarked on a humbling and difficult journey, as her purity and reputation were called into question. Her life was changed forever. She faced rejection by family and friends, endured labor in the harsh discomfort of a stable, delivered her son with only an inexperienced new husband as midwife, left Bethlehem as a fugitive on the run, and faced her son’s execution drawing closer each day.

In light of all that, Mary’s pronouncement that she is a “bondslave” of the Lord is a most telling statement (Luke 1:38).

And Mary said, ‘Behold, the bondslave of the Lord; may it be done to me according to your word.’” Luke 1:38).

Bondslave she certainly was. Humbly she brought her Savior into the world and painfully she watched Him secure her redemption at the foot of His cross.

When you think about it, Mary’s response to Gabriel’s message was nothing short of amazing. Barely beyond a child, betrothed, a young maiden, a virgin in waiting, and yet, when Gabriel told her she would conceive a son miraculously by the Holy Spirit . . .

She didn’t run.

She didn’t throw up excuses.

She didn’t attempt to dodge the assignment.

She simply said, “Yes.”

Her life was one long symphony of “Yes, Lord” as His bondslave.

How do you approach the tough assignments? I like a challenge, but at the same time, I’m not real fond of pain and fear of the unknown can sometimes paralyze me. But we see Mary face her unknown future with a heart to obey and worship.

Mary had one intimidating assignment and she met it with worship.

Worshiping in the Daily Grind

When my children were young, I encouraged them to do their chores and school assignments “as unto the Lord” and would throw in a quick paraphrase of Ecclesiastes 9:10 often: “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might.” I hoped to teach them to approach daily tasks with an attitude of worship; to make their beds or clean their rooms, not just for the sake of orderliness or character training but to see simple chores as an opportunity to glorify God in the accomplishment of a duty well done.

I think Mary probably approached life that way. We don’t get a glimpse of her before she was invited to carry the Son of the Most High, but . . . I wonder if she was given such an important assignment because, in some sense, she had a heart to trust and obey in the everyday ordinary stuff.

I think Mary’s ready response to this awesome—yet difficult—assignment was prepared in the quiet of her daily “yeses.”

Gabriel issued a special greeting as he announced her blessed status as being chosen by God for this role. As such, this young Jewish girl from the small village of Nazareth embarked on a most privileged calling.

And coming in, he said to her, ‘Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.’ But she was very perplexed at this statement, and kept pondering what kind of salutation this was. The angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary; for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus.’ (Luke 1:28-31)

Do you ever wonder why she was chosen? Why this particular young Jewish woman? Out of all the women of all ages, what qualities did she possess, why did she stand out as worthy for this role?

I think there is more to it than just this basic observation, but I do feel it is noteworthy that she was prepared for this task through her many, humble, daily “yeses.”

We didn’t see Mary in her years as a child, but we have some clues in this text that indicate her approach to duty. After Gabriel exits, we see Mary take the long trip to serve her elderly cousin Elizabeth who was in her last trimester of pregnancy (Luke 1:26–56). Most commentators think “the hill country” where Zacharias and Elizabeth lived was probably Hebron, which was no small trip—perhaps 70 miles from Nazareth.

Peeking Into Mary’s Personal Life Gives a Clue

When she arrived at her cousin’s, Mary’s response to Elizabeth’s greeting was saturated with Old Testament Scripture and covenant promises from God. This small detail gives us a peek into Mary’s personal life:

Mary loved the Word and knew it by heart. Her response to an extremely challenging assignment was worship and praise using memorized sacred texts.

Today you will have the opportunity to perform several duties. You may feel overwhelmed with challenging assignments, perhaps face difficult obstacles. Or you may be struggling with the ordinary responsibilities of a “not so exciting” life. Consider each moment as an opportunity to respond in humble worship and praise.

And Mary said, ‘My soul exalts the Lord, And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.’ (Luke 1:46-47)
 

What about you?

What is your response to today’s tough assignments?

Is He calling you to follow Him on a difficult journey today?

What is your response?

Photo by Josh Bean on Unsplash



  1. Posted by Kathy Leverett

    Beautiful reminder!


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