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Mary the Mother of Jesus: Fearlessly Obedient | President’s Blog

December 23, 2021

As you consider biblical persons of fearless faith and obedience, who comes to mind? Perhaps Abram (later Abraham), who followed the Lord’s direction to “leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you” (Genesis 12:1). Perhaps Moses, standing toe to toe with Pharaoh and demanding that he let the Lord’s people go (Exodus 5:1). Or perhaps it is the Apostle Paul and his radically fearless obedience to preach and teach the gospel of Jesus Christ, establish churches, and make disciples. They would all make my list as well. But another person who makes my shortlist of fearless faith warriors is Mary, the mother of Jesus.

You know her story. Mary was a virgin, pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. This pledge, however, is not the equivalent of today’s American engagement, which can easily be broken. In Mary’s time and place, this pledge usually involved a very public ceremony. Joseph would have already paid the bride price to Mary’s father at this point. Ending this relationship would have been difficult, and it had the potential to be ugly for Mary and Joseph. Consider all this as you think of how Mary might have interpreted the news delivered to her by the Angel Gabriel in Luke 1:26-38.

We tend to first consider how honored Mary must have been to be chosen by God for this incredible job, but consider how anxious she must have been as well. She clearly had questions. She clarified with the angel that she was, in fact, a virgin, which made the idea that she would bear a child difficult to understand. And then, even past the supernatural, seemingly impossible thing that Gabriel was announcing to her, there was the issue of Joseph—his embarrassment and how he might deal with her after finding that she was pregnant with a child who was not biologically his. If Joseph’s friends were anything like my buddies, I can imagine the conversation: “Guys, my wife-to-be Mary is having a baby. It’s not my baby, but it’s fine. The Holy Spirit came upon her, and the power of the Most high overshadowed her….”

Stock photo of painting of angel appearing to Mary

We tend to first consider how honored Mary must have been to be chosen by God for this incredible job, but consider how anxious she must have been as well.

Since I have been in intentional relationship with Jesus Christ, I have continually desired to be used by God. My prayer continues to be that God would find ways to use me daily for His purpose and His glory. But not a single day have I prayed that prayer hoping that God’s choosing to use me would lead to potential public ridicule and humiliation by my family and my community.

For most of us, if we are honest, while we might not need fame, fortune and accolades to come along with being used by God, I bet few if any of us want God to use us in an incredibly painful and potentially humiliating fashion—in a way that could make our lives much more difficult. But consider Mary’s humble response: “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled” (Luke 1:38). That’s the model for fearless faith and obedience, not fearless because of an arrogant belief in her only strength and ability, but because of her total trust in and obedience to God. Fearless based on what she knew of God’s faithfulness, strength and power, not her own.

As we continue in this Advent season, in preparation for the celebration of our Lord and Savior’s birth, let us ask the Lord to give us the strength, the humility, and the obedience of Mary. In gratitude for the gift of Jesus Christ, let us prepare ourselves to be available and used by God for His glory, in whatever ways He chooses.

“I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled”

Luke 1:38

President Wayne D. Lewis Jr.

About the Author

With 20 years of experience in education, higher education leadership is a calling for Wayne D. Lewis, Jr., President of Houghton College. He is recognized as being a champion for students; focusing on improving educational access, opportunities and experiences for students, including those who have historically been underserved.

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