Why was Mary chosen to be the mother of Jesus? The Gospel of Matthew doesn’t give us a clue. All of what we find is in the Gospel of Luke which states that she found great favor with God. Why? Her humility and devotion are all that are revealed (Luke 1:48). The mystery of her choosing thus precedes this mystery of the Incarnation.
Yeshua – Jesus – didn’t find the garment of human flesh, and one of a woman, disgusting. He exalted it in His very Incarnation when He entered the womb of humanity and human history as a fragile infant.
The first woman recorded in the Bible to give God a name was Hagar, Sarah’s slave and Abraham’s concubine. She called Him, El Roi, “The God who sees” (Genesis 16:13):
And she called the name of the Lord who spoke unto her: “Thou God seest me.” For she said, “Have I also here looked upon Him that seeth me?”
He saw Hagar’s low status and personally visited her. He exalted her and gave her a future, and she became the matriarch of the Arab peoples. She was a slave woman from the land of Egypt and she was eventually freed from the hand of Sarah, though she went through much travail in the wilderness. God preserved her and caused her own descendants through Ishmael to also be vast in number.
That Yeshua then – who was conceived by the Spirit of God and entered our world through the womb of Mary, through a woman…this is the most amazing thing to me. Yeshua, Son of Humankind – becoming clothed in Mary’s flesh, her blood, her bone, thus partaking of our humanity (Luke 1:26-38).
Even in is resurrection from the dead, Yeshua retains His humanity, a humanity no longer vulnerable to death. He didn’t shed it to become a spirit. Human nature became redeemed in Him, healed, made incorruptible by the divine.
“…Thereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises, that by these you might be partakers of the divine nature…” (2 Peter 1:4).
It is difficult for me to understand why many Christians are quick to disregard Mary. Many feel that honoring her takes the place of honoring Yeshua, but how many Christians would say that about loving their own mothers? Does loving and caring and honoring one’s own mother subtract from one’s love for Yeshua? Of course not.
And it’s also one of the Ten Commandments. Yeshua said that all the law, the Torah of Moses and the writings of the Prophets are contingent upon love. They are contingent upon the law of the Spirit, and the law of conscience. Love should not have to be commanded. Love should reflect what true Torah is, what one’s inner Torah should be. And as the sages have said, one should “be Torah.”
Without understanding the context, many Christians like to point to verses such as Matthew 12:46-50, or John 2:4, to form some kind of absurd idea that Yeshua disdained His own mother. But to advocate that is to accuse Him of iniquity for the Torah says: “Honor thy father and thy mother,” (Exodus 20:12; Deuteronomy 5:16). In fact, Jesus cited this very commandment (Matthew 19:19). Furthermore, He chided the religious leaders for making excuses to avoid it (Mark 7:9-13; Matthew 15:3-6).
Mary is sometimes relegated to a mere vessel through which Yeshua – the Son of God; God in human flesh – came into the world. Even by other women. But she, too, was a woman with natural and God-given rights in charge of her own destiny, just as much as any woman should be. And God chose her to not simply “bear” the Messiah. He chose her as His Mother, to raise Him, to nurture Him, to be a guiding influence in His life. She chose to respond and embrace that. And for the first few years of Yeshua’s life, just as it is with any child, Mary was at the center of His world.
Mary bore the Son of God, even though she was a virgin. Ancient Orthodox theology teaches that “He whom even the Heavens could not contain was contained in Mary’s womb” – because Yeshua is fully God as well as fully Human – and it is for this reason she is called “more spacious than the Heavens.”
What is so unscriptural about hymning, “Hail, thou that art highly favored, the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou among women” ? These are the very words of the Angel of the Lord (Luke 1:28). Even he was in awe of her, as was Mary’s cousin Elizabeth.
“And why is it granted to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For lo, as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in mine ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy” (Luke 1:42-44).
Should not awe be our response, too?
Remember what Mary said in her rejoicing?
And Mary said, “My soul doth magnify the Lord, and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Savior. For He hath regarded the low estate of His handmaiden; for behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed. For He that is mighty hath done to me great things, and holy is His name. And His mercy is on them that fear Him, from generation to generation. He hath shown strength with His arm; He hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. He hath put down the mighty from their seats, and exalted them of low degree. He hath filled the hungry with good things, and the rich He hath sent empty away. He hath helped His servant Israel, in remembrance of His mercy, as He spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his seed for ever” (Luke 1:46-55).
God the Son has always been God the Son – the Word from everlasting – Who was now conceived, and flesh, in the womb of Mary. There was never a time when He was not God the Son Who shared in the glory of God the Father before the very creation of the world and from time immortal (John 1; John 17).
Blessed be the Lord Yeshua the Messiah, King of Heaven and Earth, Who is King of kings and Lord of lords, upon Whom the Father bestowed all authority in Heaven and on Earth! Blessed be the Lord Yeshua Who partook of a woman’s humanity and Who has been given the highest glory by His Father (Matthew 28:18; Matthew 11:27; John 17:5, 24); Who will gather the outcasts and heal the broken. He will grant to those who seek Him the Kingdom of Heaven and to those who partake of Him the Heaven of Himself!
(Matthew 11:27-30; 28:18; John 17:5, 24; Revelation 17:14; 19:16)
Glory to Yeshua the Messiah! Glory to Him forever!
Scripture quotations taken from the 21st Century King James Version®, copyright © 1994. Used by permission of Deuel Enterprises, Inc., Gary, SD 57237. All rights reserved.
1. The Lost Gospel of Mary: The Mother of Jesus in Three Ancient Texts. Frederica Mathews-Green, © 2007. Paraclete Press.
2. On the Imitation of the Mother of God. Mother Maria Skobtsova: Essential Writings. Pgs. 61-74. Translated by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky, © 2003 by Orbis Books.
3. Annunciation of Our Most Holy Lady, the Mother of God and Ever-Virgin Mary, March 25, 2014. Royal Doors Liturgical Texts and Music. Web. Available Nov. 7, 2014.