“What Did Mary Know?”
“Mary, did you know that your Baby Boy would one day walk on water?
Mary, did you know that your Baby Boy would save our sons and daughters?
Did you know that your Baby Boy has come to make you new?
This Child that you delivered will soon deliver you.
Mary, did you know that your Baby Boy will give sight to a blind man?
Mary, did you know that your Baby Boy will calm the storm with His hand?
Did you know that your Baby Boy has walked where angels trod?
When you kiss your little Baby you kissed the face of God?
Mary, did you know?”
These words are from the song “Mary Did You Know” written by Mark Lowry and Buddy Greene. It’s been sung by many people, most popularly by Clay Aiken of American Idol fame.
As we read this morning of the encounter between Mary and Elizabeth, both specially chosen woman to be the mothers of two very important men in God’s plan, we can’t help but wonder if Mary really understands the impact her child will have on the world.
And what about Elizabeth, she too is carrying a child who will prepare the way of the coming of Jesus. She is carrying the one we call John the Baptist.
And what about how Elizabeth, who upon hearing Mary’s “hello”, is overcome with the Spirit and understands Mary is carrying a child more special than her own? This woman who is supposed to be barren, was also chosen by God to have a special child of her own.
This moment is a special moment in the story around Jesus’ birth. Two woman, one in her older years, the other in her early to mid-teens, both chosen to carry special children who would proclaim God’s plan for the world. A plan to bring God’s people back to Him.
Two very unlikely people chosen to be very key figures in the life of Jesus and his ministry.
Women in a world dominated by men.
One older, nearing the end of her life, her actions in life are more for preparation of when she’s not there, instead now she is preparing for a new life. She has so much experience she can share with her son.
The other, barely an adult in her early teens, not even married yet. So much to still experience in her life, so much ahead of her, so much for her to give. And now chosen to experience the greatest, and probably most stress inducing child one can ever have. Yet chosen because she can do it.
All of this leads to what we call today the Magnificat. Mary’s song of praise. As you read it, it sounds very much like one of the Psalms written by David many years ago.
It starts, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour, for he has looked with favour on the lowliness of his servant.”
Mary recognizes how small she is in the grand scheme of God’s plan. She feels so blessed and honoured to be chosen for this special task. People talk about how pregnant women have a “glow” about them. Imagine Mary’s glow, knowing who’s child she carries.
She continues, “Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for the Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name.”
Mary understands she will be remembered for what she has been chosen to do. She knows this. But she also recognizes the source of her fame. God has done great things for her. She calls herself blessed, but she also says it is God who is holy.
She is a perfect example of the humble servant of faith.
“He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts. He has brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly; he has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty.”
Mary acknowledges the strength and power of God. This, especially sounds like a Psalm. God lifts up the weak and humbles the powerful. God gives the vulnerable their needs, yet the rich are left on their own because they give priority to their own self-sufficiency. Pride in their own egos. It is also foreshadowing the message her son will share in his own ministry as he walks with the most vulnerable of society.
“He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, according to the promise he made to our ancestors, to Abraham and to his descendants forever.”
God has lived up to his promise to Abraham. Who, if you remember was married to Sarah, another older woman who has thought to be barren and unable to have children. Yet God spoke to them in their 90s and promised them a son, and more descendants than grains of sand.
Mary is one of those descendants.
Mary is carrying the promise of God in her womb. The Messiah promised long ago.
Can you imagine?
What would it be like to be Mary? She has great faith in God, that’s for sure. Yet you sometimes have to wonder if she clearly understands the influence her child will have on the world.
The one who changed the calendar into Before Christ and After Death. A whole world uses his life as a reference point for the passing of time.
Yet also, like the song says. Mary, do you know your baby is going to walk on water? Do you know he’s going to have command over nature by calming storms?
He’ll rule over demons and disease by offering healing and even bring people back to life? Do you know, Mary, do you?
Yet, she’ll find all this out.
She’ll know because she’ll witness some of it. Including his death on the cross. A cruel and unfair death of an innocent man.
Yet, he took it all for us. It’s part of his gift to us, that begins with his birth. He died so that we may live lives full of his Spirit and lives full of hope and meaning, and also life eternal in his glorious kingdom.
We have all been chosen.
Mary was chosen for her faith and the gifts she would offer in raising a child of God. The Messiah.
We are chosen by God to do other things based on the skills and gifts we offer in our own acts of faith. We sing, we play music, we pray, we preach, we serve one another, we teach, we heal, we can do many things with the gifts God has given us.
This is the season to think of gifts.
What gifts can we offer to Jesus? What do we have within ourselves that God has blessed us with so we can share with others?
Did Mary know she had these gifts in her when she was chosen by God? Not likely, she wasn’t even married yet, so would she be confident in raising such a precious child?
There’s a famous saying, “God does not call the equipped, He equips the called.”
God will give us what we need when He calls on us to serve. Just like he equipped Mary to be the mother of His Son. The One who came to save the world from itself and the sinful state it was, and continues to be in.
Mary did you know?
Do we know what the gift of God has done for us?