Why God Chose Mary
"Now…the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee,
named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David.
The virgin's name was Mary."
Luke 1:26, 27.
Was God being arbitrary when He chose Mary to be that special person who would bring His Son into the world? We are forced to conclude that the answer is "no" because God makes His choices based upon certain qualities he sees in the people He chooses.
"For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him." 2nd Chronicles 16:9. God uses those who are "completely His."
There are many tasks God has purposed to accomplish. At any given time there may be thousands of people who have the natural talents, learned abilities and spiritual gifts to accomplish these tasks…but the vast majority are not available to God.
Some of you have been saying to yourself, "God could never use me." If you are not useable, you are dead right no matter how capable you are. If you are willing to make yourself useable, you are dead wrong.
In this message I would like for us to learn from Mary why God chose her above all other women to bring His Son into the world.
First of all, it is important that we lay aside some of the misconceptions about Mary. Not once does the Bible say that Mary was sinless. In fact, Mary said that her spirit rejoiced in God her Savior. (Luke 1:47). In so doing, she declared her need of a Savior just as much as anyone else. Not once does the scripture say that Mary was God or that we should worship her. We read that as the church began the apostles "…with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary, the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers." (Acts 1:14). They did not pray to Mary, they prayed with her and she prayed with them.
If we are going to learn from Mary how God can use us, we must understand how God took an ordinary woman and used her in an extraordinary way.
God did not use Mary because she was highly educated. She was not. He did not choose her because she was wealthy. She was poor. Why did God choose Mary?
Mary's Initial Reaction Was Fear
The angel, Gabriel, greeted Mary, "Rejoice, highly, favored one! The Lord is with you. Blessed are you among women. But… she was troubled at his saying…" Luke 1:28, 29. We can correctly understand the meaning of "troubled" by our English words of "petrified" and "scared to death."
What kind of fears came up in Mary's mind:
· The fear of criticism - "What are people going to think. I haven't been joined in marriage and I'll be having a baby."
· The fear of uncertainty - "What are all the things that will happen to me?"
· The fear of inadequacy - "Can I handle all of this?"
· The fear of change - "What changes will all this bring about?"
The same four fears can keep any one of us from being used by God. Mary gives us an example of three qualities that kept these things from controlling her and enabled her to be used by God:
· The desire to do God's will.
· The willingness to pay the cost
· The faith to trust God's promise
GOD USES PEOPLE WHO DESIRE TO DO HIS WILL
We must want to do God's will more than anything else. God has a definite purpose for what He wants us to be and what He wants us to do. But, He will not make us do it. If we do not have a strong desire to do God's will, we will miss the purpose He has for our life. For that reason God will allow some very unpleasant things to happen in our life to bring us to the place where we desire to do His will.
God's will for Mary.
One day the angel, Gabriel, shows up and says in effect, "Mary, God has this fantastic plan. He's going to come to earth so people will know what God's like. He's going to use your body to enter the human family. You are going to be the mother of Jesus Christ." Many girls would have answered, "Can't you get somebody else. I've already got my plans and this whole thing really doesn't fit in. I've really got to think of what's best for me." Instead, Mary answered "Behold, the maidservant of the Lord; Let it be to me according to your word." Luke 1:38. Mary was willing to do what God wanted her to do.
There are three things about Mary that reveal she earnestly desired to know and do God's will.
1. She was sensitive to finding out what God wanted her to do. In Luke 2:19 we read,
"But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart." Whenever there was a clear message from God, Mary would ask, "What is God saying and how does it apply to me?" We get our clear messages from God from the scriptures. Every day we ought to have a private time to read God's word and ask, "What is God saying and how does it apply to me?" If we are truly sensitive to knowing God's will He will show it to us.
2. She was joyful and enthusiastic about doing God's will. Luke 1:46, 47, "My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior." She was not like some who say, "Well, I know God wants me to do so and so. That's not what I wanted to do, but I guess I'll have to just grin and bear it." Mary was joyful and enthusiastic about doing God's will.
3. She was humble and yielded. "Behold, the maidservant of the Lord." Luke 1:38. "For He has regarded the lowly state of His maidservant;…" 1:48-49. She didn't think, "God is sure lucky to get me! With my abilities I'm going to do a lot of great things for Him." She was thankful that God was willing to use her. Mary desired to do God's will.
GOD USES PEOPLE WILLING TO PAY THE COST
After Gabriel explained to Mary that as a virgin she would conceive and bear a son by the empowering of the Holy Spirit, she answered, "…be it done to me according to your word."
Luke 1:38. Mary surely knew that doing God's will was going to cost her the loss of her reputation. She was only engaged to be married and before long it would become obvious that she was pregnant. In that close community of Nazareth everyone would know. Mary could imagine herself explaining, "I'm still a virgin. I conceived by the power of God and the son I'm giving birth to will be the God/man by the name of Jesus. Mary could probably also imagine everyone responding in sarcasm, "Right!".
And the questions probably rose fast in Mary's mind, "What will my family…my fiancée…my friends think!" "Will I lose the man I love over this?" She also knew she could be stoned to death.
Doing God's will did cost Mary her reputation for many years.
Jesus would not begin His ministry of miracles that would vindicate that He truly was the Son of God for thirty years.
The plain truth is, if we do get serious about knowing and doing the will of God, it will cost us our reputation in some circles. There will be many who just will not understand. There will be others who will flat out dislike what we are and strongly disagree with what we do. We will be criticized and slandered.
Doing God's will also cost Mary her comfort.
Mary and Joseph lived in Nazareth, but the prophet Micah prophesied that Jesus would be born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2). Sure enough, the Roman emperor decreed that everyone had to go to the city of their ancestors to be enrolled for taxation. Here is Mary, eight months, three and one half weeks pregnant and she has no choice but to make the long journey on the back of a donkey. When she arrived in Bethlehem there was no room available and she gave birth to Jesus in an animal stable. After His birth, she and Joseph received word that King Herod wanted to kill their baby, so they fled to Egypt until they could safely return to Nazareth. When Jesus died on the cross Mary felt like a sword had been driven through her heart.
Doing God's will may cost us our comfort. This is not accidental, but part of God's plan. Jesus was right up front about the cost of doing His will. He said "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily, and follow Me." Luke 9:23. What did He mean? Our fleshly nature is tainted with selfish desire in every area. To follow Jesus we have to reckon it dead daily, because it has a resurrection every morning. It sounds gruesome, but necessary to set our spiritual nature free to "seek first His kingdom and His righteousness." Matthew 6:33. Paul tells us this involves. "…For the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit." Romans 14:17 Paul, the apostle, personally evaluated living in the spiritual nature instead of the fleshly nature,
"But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. Yet indeed, I count all things loss for the
excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish…" Philippians 3:7,8. (Example) We cry to God to help us in our ministry, and when He does, our flesh wants to take the credit.
To follow Christ every one of us will have to give up some fleshly stuff. It may be some of our habits…some of our relationships that are pulling us down…some of our dreams and ambitions. Mary was willing to pay the cost and God used her in fabulous way. He will do the same with us.
GOD USES PEOPLE WITH FAITH TO TRUST HIS PROMISES
Christians are saved by faith; live by faith and walk by faith. The object of that faith is God and the basis of that faith is God's promises. "So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of God." Romans 10:17.
When Gabriel told Mary what God was going to do she had fear, but she did not have doubt. She did ask, "How can this be, since I do not know a man?" But she was not expressing doubt she was asking how such an awesome thing could take place. Gabriel proceeded to tell her how it would take place and added, "For with God nothing will be impossible." And Mary said, in effect, "Well, let's get on with it." The promise from God gave her faith to believe it would all come to pass. That faith also gave her courage to face all the potential difficulties that would lie ahead. Elizabeth said to Mary,
"Blessed is she who believed for there will be a fulfillment of those things which were told her from the Lord. Luke 1:45
Over 40 years ago I became aware that there were "experts" who said that certain things in the Bible were impossible. I had to conclude that in the natural realm, they were correct in many cases. At the same time I knew I had become a new creature in Christ Jesus by faith. Painfully aware that my faith was pretty flimsy, I exercised my faith on God's promises. When I did I rose above the natural into the realm of the supernatural. I made a decision that no matter what any "experts" said, I would choose a life of faith in God. I encourage you to do the same.
I remind you once again, if you desire to be used of God you need the same qualities that Mary had:
· The desire to do His will
· Be willing to pay the cost
· The faith to trust His promises
Copyright © 2002 Thomas E Berry
All Scriptures quoted from NKJV unless otherwise noted