“It is in her humility and humanity that we find in Mary a life worthy of honor throughout all ages.”
Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – May 14, 2022
And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her. Luke 1:38, ESV
Who comes to mind when you try and imagine the model for discipleship, someone who perfectly embodies a life of devotion to Christ and the ways of God? Perhaps you think of a beloved family member, a pastor or small group leader, or of a great saint of old. And while all of these may be wonderful examples of faith, in Scripture and in the history of Christianity, there is one person who is honored above all others for their response of faith in God and his Word: the Virgin Mary.
Of course, this honor has over the centuries led to heated debate within the Christian family, with some traditions focusing on her too much, and others not enough! I spent most of my life in the latter camp, with rarely a word ever spoken of Mary from the pulpit or in a discipleship setting. In order to distance ourselves from the excesses and distorted extremes of some traditions, we built our own, going out of our way to deemphasize her place of honor, seeing her as unremarkable in every way. Yet somehow, we seemed to skip over the verse in which Scripture tells us “every generation will call her blessed” (Luke 1:48). Might it be that the pendulum had swung too far in the other direction?
Perhaps we should begin here, with Scripture. Why does Scripture tell us that every generation will bless and honor Mary? Is it because she is a special class of human being, set apart from the rest of us? Emphatically, no! It is in her humility and humanity that we find in Mary a life worthy of honor throughout all ages. She, like each of us, was in need of the healing rescue of God, for the Lord to draw near and speak a word of hope to his creation. Yet when the most remarkable word ever spoken to a human being was shared from the mouth of the angel, did Mary laugh it off, run in the other direction, or say the burden is too much to bear? No, no, and no. “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word” (Luke 1:38).
As followers of Christ, we must recover a robustly biblical honor for Mary, for in so doing we learn afresh what it means to respond to God in faith. When we struggle to accept hard words or difficult crosses that we must bear with humble strength, we can remember her life of complete devotion and trust, receiving by faith the very life of God into her body. Are we, by faith, able to do the same? Let us set our eyes unwaveringly upon the Lord Jesus Christ, yet also find encouragement in the life of discipleship from those who’ve gone before us, modeling the selfless love and humility of God, seen most perfectly in the faith and trust of our Lord’s mother.
Father, thank you for Mary and her unwavering trust in your goodness and mercy. Help me to live my own life in a similar way, receiving your word to me and responding by faith, through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Take time to read the whole of Luke 1-2, seeing in Mary a model of faithful discipleship to Christ and obedience to God.
Kirby Kaple: Let It Be So
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