The Maid Servant of the Lord

It has been written that when Gabriel appeared to Mary of Nazareth (Luke 1:26-38), she was perhaps no more than 15 years old. His starting announcement – that she would soon bear the very Son of the Highest – meant the end of a normal life. Mary’s name would forever be on the lips of gossips and rumor-mongers. Joseph, her husband-to-be, could decide to end their betrothal through a public, humiliating divorce. Betrothal (Luke 1:27) was a mutual promise or contract for a future marriage (De. 20:7; Jer. 2:2). Not to be entirely equated with the modern concept of engagement, betrothal followed the selection of brined by the prospective husband. The contract was negotiated by a friend or agent representing the bridegroom, and by the parents representing the bride. In Hebrew custom, betrothal was actually part of the marriage process.

Even if he “put her away secretly” (Matt 1:19), she would still have to return in shame to her father’s home or else survive on her own by whatever means she could. Faced with these ruinous prospects that she had neither caused or sought., Mary would have had plenty of reason to balk at Gabriel’s message. Instead she accepted her assignment: “Let it be to me according to word” (Luke 1:38). Her response was submissive obedience to the clearly revealed will of God. After Gabriel’s departure, Mary took practical action by visiting her relative, Elizabeth, during the third trimester before John’s birth (Luke 1:39-56). Mary’s journey into the Judean hill country was no leisurely stroll. Her support network, Elizabeth and family was probably very valuable to her. The route was an area fit for fugitives, rebels and hermits – but certainly not for a pregnant woman. But the maidservant of the Lord honored the Lord in her obedience to Him for the benefit of us all. 


Submitted Deaconess Irene Gardon

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