Luke 1:29-30 – But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be. And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.”
For Christians, the abortion debate hits close to home. Mary was probably a teenager, poor, possibly uneducated, living in a small rural town. She was not wanting or planning to have a child, which explains why she remained a virgin until after she was married. Mary got pregnant out of wedlock by a miracle of God the Holy Spirit in a highly religious ancient cultural context. She is facing a life as a poor, likely uneducated, very young mother with a ruined reputation in a religious small town.
If she walked into a clinic today, we know what she would be encouraged to do. But Mary gave birth to God. Jesus came into the world through the womb of a woman who fits the stereotype
of someone who “should” get an abortion. Thankfully, Mary courageously brought Jesus into the world so that He could save the world from death.
Mary is betrothed to Joseph, meaning they have pledged to marry each other in an arrangement far more serious and binding than what we understand as engagement today. In a small rural town where kids grew up together and most everyone operated like one big extended family, to publicly declare engagement was something only done if the bride and groom to-be were fully committed to walking down the aisle.
Most theologians believe Mary is somewhere between 12 and 14 years old at the time when Gabriel pays her a visit. Let that sink in.
Everything is riding on a teenage girl. Now that’s faith.
Mary’s response to God’s plan is legendary: “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word”. (Luke 1:38) She is a humble young woman with simple but sincere faith. Mary believes God. Her son will one day emulate this simple, courageous resolve. In the Garden of Gethsemane, as Jesus atones for the sins of the world through the shedding of His blood, He says, “Your will be done”. (Matthew 26:42) There are moments in His life when Jesus echoes His godly mother.
Unmarried. Poor. Young. Pregnant with God. Mary has a lot to worry about. Rather than worrying, Mary starts worshipping. Her beautiful, spontaneous, anointed, song begins with the words, “My soul magnifies the Lord.” (Luke 1:46) Her spirit and the Holy Spirit intersect to worship.
Culturally, we may not completely appreciate what Mary and Joseph are willing to sacrifice. Mary risks losing her fiancé. She does lose her reputation. (Small town religious gossip can be brutal.) Joseph’s boy Jesus is called illegitimate, his wife is called unfaithful, and he is called a fool for the rest of his life. He doesn’t have to accept this fate and can cancel the wedding. He is seemingly a strong and steady kind of guy who does a lot more than he says. We know he has numerous angelic visits and every time he is told to do something, he obeys the Lord no matter what the cost.
Read the story of Luke 1-2, of Jesus’ birth being foretold and of our Savior being born. Imagine if Mary was in today’s time and how she would likely be pressured to abort her baby. Give thanks to God that His son, Jesus, was born to save our sins.
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