this is a quick little post about the humanity of Mary the mother of Jesus.
The big question for me has always been, Did Mary tell Jesus he was the messiah- or did she just let him figure that out on his own?
She sees an angel, gets pregnant miraculously, has wise men and shepherds visit her after the birth and tell her about more angels and signs and then goes to get Jesus circumcised and has two separate people prophesy about the amazing things that are going to happen.
Great. Thank you for all the nice gifts and kind words, now if you will excuse me, I have to flee for my life because some King is very upset about this whole messiah thing. (I did not see that coming!)
Then, (note, it is years later) one of the first times that scripture records Jesus speaking (and it’s in red!) John 2:4 Jesus saith unto her, Woman, what have I to do with thee? mine hour is not yet come. (this is at the famous ‘tuning water into wine’ incident)
Mary has been made out to be much more than she ever was- certainly by some religions- But put yourself in her shoes, what would you do? If you had to raise Jesus, would you tell him that He is God’s son, the Messiah or say nothing. Here are your options:
A. tell him -Jesus is God’s son and He must know this, so if I tell Him- that is just redundant and no big deal. –or– If I tell Him, will it set me on this course and I will never be able to talk normally to Him and I will never be able to correct Him (as a child) and it might cause Him to become this jerk with this gigantic ego, who did not have the normal childhood He was suppose to have – and then fulfill the mission- but someone spilled the beans and now He is too young to handle the responsibility, and telling Him will reveal my own doubts about how this whole thing got started- and how Joseph had to leave the community to save our reputation and no one believed us and then we had to travel right when I was really pregnant- and we got into town late – and had to barge in on strangers-and totally invade them and have a baby in the living room*- while they had company staying over- if I had not screwed things up- it would not be like this…..
………Then I ask a simple thing – at a wedding. Jesus is thirty. I did not complain that it is not His wedding. But I mentioned that there was a problem with the wine. Maybe I overstepped my bounds, but … He is thirty, I mean come on, its been 30 years- 30 years and there have been no angels. Next thing I know- there is all this talk about how great the wine is! Should I have said something sooner? Then we have a whole year of healing and helping people – which was great, my faith has been restored. But He keeps saying awkward things about the religious leaders and making waves, I am embarrassed. People are treating me differently – So I get the family together, His brothers and sisters, and we go to find Him and give Him a talking to. Maybe He has gone too far and I need to tell Him that this is not how Messiah should act…- Matthew 12:46 While Jesus was still talking to the crowd, his mother and brothers stood outside, wanting to speak to him. 47 Someone told him, “Your mother and brothers are standing outside, wanting to speak to you.” 48 He replied to him, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” 49 Pointing to his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers. 50 For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.” Well, I am not going to lie, that hurt a lot. Was this my fault? I wish I had never said anything.
B. don’t tell him Jesus is God’s son, Messiah, He knows it- and that’s that. –or– I never talk about it- but because I remember how this all started, I can’t help but look at Him differently and I try to treat Him like my other kids – but even they notice I treat Him different. I don’t know how to explain it- maybe I am afraid of what He might say or do?- Can He read my mind? If He is messiah- oh, no- now I have unbelief- it’s not unbelief, I tell myself- I am just thinking through the possibilities – can He read my mind when I am alone and He is at school? He should be able too – why doesn’t He just talk to me and let me off the hook- after the way this whole thing began, I never imagined the rollercoaster ride would slow down, much less stop. It has been years. The world we live in- that He made- is not getting any better. Did I do something wrong- have I messed up the whole thing- I did not mean to have the baby in those nice people’s house – we were supposed to get our own place and have some real help – I made us late and then there was nothing I could do, I had never had a baby before – was I supposed to stay with Elizabeth and have her help me?……
……He must know who He is.- He studies the scriptures with the older men….. like when He was a boy, but now He is a grown man. His grades in school were always very ordinary- He was probably trying not to show off, but why not show off? Should something have happened? If I was supposed to do something, I don’t know what it is. Then that day at the wedding- I just made a statement about the wine, honest- and the way He looked at me. I didn’t say anything about Him being Messiah – I know now that He was kind of sensitive about it, because many of the people He healed, He told them not to say anything about who He was – He never showed off. But that first year of Him being the Messiah was wonderful – He did so many miracles – any mother would be proud. But then, He started to confront the Pharisees and He really rocked the boat – it was very difficult for me, and all my neighbors were talking about me, so I knew I needed to talk to Him and when I got His brothers and sisters together …. well, you know how that went. I was so embarrassed, maybe I should have told Him .
What did she really do? We may have to ask her in heaven.
When Luke was putting together his gospel, he interviewed everyone he could, including Mary and that is why we have the whole Christmas/nativity story. He records that when Mary and Joseph had heard what the shepherds said and after they had lost Jesus and found Him in the temple, she: “kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart” (Luke 2:19 & 2:51) But this could just be referring to the angels or the details of misplacing Jesus – she still had to raise the baby Jesus into an adult – and He was the oldest child – (all you ‘oldest’ kids know what that’s like) imagine if Jesus had been the youngest!
Hebrews 4:15 says that Jesus was tempted in all ways, like us, but did not sin. I don’t think that Jesus and his family sat around at the dinner table and did not talk. They were a real family and there must have been moments when Jesus wanted to say something extremely sarcastic to his little brother the jerk. These temptations are not one-time-things that we face and move on to the next level. It was probably a steady drip, and you can just imagine how the creator of the universe could really put you in your place!
When we read the bible and hear about the people in it, we sometimes forget that they were only people, just like us. Not special amazing people from the pages of fiction, but real people with real doubts and fears and hang-ups and baggage and unbelief and imperfections and huge lapses in judgement and a great capacity for failure, but all loved the same by God. Just like us.
When we live our lives, our future and how things turn out are not known. In the Bible, we have the whole story, but the people in the story had to live it in real time- like we do. As opportunities present themselves, act as though it was going to be written down and people will base their lives on how you did. Will it be like the window that gave her two mites or the woman who broke open the alabaster box- we are Epistles (books/story’s) known and read of all men.. 2Cor 3:2 So serve God with all your heart.
Merry Christmas, much love, TMark & family
*this stuff about having the baby in the living room is loosely taken from a great book by Kenneth Bailey called Jesus Through Middle Eastern Eyes, and the author explains some of the cool cultural things that are included in scripture- but we miss- because our culture interprets them differently. The author says he is not trying to ruin little kids Christmas plays, but instead provide insight and revelation to us westerners. It’s a great book.