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The time had come for God the Son to enter the world and become the Savior of it. The incarnation - God in Flesh was to be accomplished by The Holy Spirit creating miraculously the Christ-Embryo without the normal process of an earthly father. Mary was chosen - yea favored above all other women to be the mother of Jesus - Savior of the world. We study the impact in Mary's life by a look at her innermost thoughts - her heart and see the ponderings and, yes, the piercing of Mary's heart as she is entrusted with the care of the Christ-child and is ultimately separated from her beloved Son at the Cross.
Isaiah Chapter 7. After the call of Isaiah as prophet of Jehovah, his first mission was to go to the King of Judah Ahaz. This was a troublesome period for Judah. Solomon's kingdom had been rent in two - what followed was a series of conspiracies and intrigue that eventually led to an alliance between the northern kingdom of Israel and Syria (Aram). There was a power struggle between Syria in the north and the relatively new power in the region of Assyria. Ahaz of Judah had refused to make an alliance with Israel and Syria so the alliance came to Jerusalem to lay siege to it.
The problem was that Ahaz was following the trend of the day to rely defences of fortification and perhaps alliances rather than the LORD. One of Isaiah's assignments was to warn Ahaz against this politically dangerous alliance with Assyria. Actually Assyria was mainly interested in Egypt and Judah was merely a stepping stone that lay in the path to Tiglath-Pileser III. He would have taken the path down the coast and avoided Jerusalem but because of his enemies who were laying siege on Jerusalem there was a real possibility that he would have to take a "detour" and neutralize the situation. King Ahaz was looking after Jerusalem's water supply and making plans for Jerusalem's defense when Isaiah arrived with a message from the LORD. Jehovah warns Ahaz not to make an alliance with Assyria - rather he is to rely on the LORD for his defense. Apparently, Ahaz was completely taken aback from this word and just stood there not responding. It is not unusual to ask for a sign from a prophet of the LORD and He commands Isaiah to offer proof of His Word. Actually, the LORD's offer was quite remarkable. He commands Ahaz to ask for a sign that might reach as deep as Sheol or as high as heaven itself. Really, the LORD is giving Ahaz "Carte Blanche" literally the equivalent to offering a blank check to someone that had already been signed. This offer was to get Ahaz "off the dime" so to speak, and to move in the direction of faith in Jehovah rather than his present strategy of participating in the political conspiracies and alliances of the day.
Ahaz's response is no less than complete hypocrisy - he certainly was not in any position to be judgemental of Isaiah who was the spokesman of Jehovah. His answer that he would not test the LORD was not out of an eagerness to obey the law - rather, it was an attempt to brush off Isaiah, a man formerly from his court, and send him along his way so that he, the King could attend to the affairs of the defense of Jerusalem. Isaiah answers in the plural:
|Then Isaiah said, "Hear now, you house of David! Is it not enough to try the patience of men? Will you try the patience of my God also? Isaiah 7:13, NIV|
Ahaz was not going to be successful in ignoring the word of the LORD. The response from Isaiah was not only to Ahaz but to all those who were there witnessing this amazing message of hope. Judah was offered the protection of Jehovah - that they could be the client nation of the Creator of the Universe rather than worrying about being under the rule of other pagan nations. Isaiah went on to say that these nations, Israel and Syria, mere "firebrands" of nations that would burst into flames only to become smoldering embers that would pose no real threat to Judah. They just had to commit their trust in the LORD. So, Jehovah offers the ultimate hope of peace to Judah - regardless of their lack of faith and thus we have the amazing prophesy that connects the LORD Himself with all of humanity:
|Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. Isaiah 7:14, NAS|
The sign is no less than this: that God would come and dwell with man because a virgin, would give birth to a son who would be called Immanuel. Literally in the original, Immanuel means "The with-us God ." No father is mentioned - only the virgin. That is because the conception is to be accomplished by the miraculous act of the Holy Spirit.
So, this is the hope of Ahaz and the hope of the nations, for that matter. Immanuel, the with-us God, is to be born of the virgin.
No sonogram attended the prediction of Jesus' birth. The annunciation was accomplished in three phases. First the announcement of the birth of John, the baptist by the Angel Gabriel to his father Zechariah and then the announcement of the birth of Jesus to the virgin, Mary and finally, to Joseph, Mary's espoused husband.
The birth of John was attended by no less a miracle than that of Isaac. Both Zecheriah and Elizabeth were way past the age of bearing children. They were both known for their righteousness before the LORD. We know that this righteousness was not based merely on their observance of the rabinnical regulations but were righteous before God. Which suggests that they were true believers, Old Testament style, and as such enjoyed all the benefits of regeneration and understanding of the prophetic scriptures concerning John and Jesus. Zecheriah was a priest and his time for serving in the sanctuary - the holy place- had come. As he stood before the altar Gabriel stood on the right side of the altar. Gabriel told Zecheriah that he and Elizabeth was to have a son, John who would be be the greatest of all prophets (second only to Jesus, Himself in His prophetic role). John's role as prophet was to be greatly honered because he was going to be the fulfillment of the prophesy of Isaiah 40:3, "The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God." Isaiah 40 marked the beginning of the LORD's prophesy where He make wonderful predictions of comfort to Judah. The nation was going through tremendous turmoil at the time and this section is highly messianic and points to a time when the LORD will finally be Judah's God and will lead Judah as a shepherd leads a flock of sheep. Judah was going through troublesome times again and John's ministry was intended to be that voice of calling Judah back to the LORD and by implication, at least, to give comfort to Judah that the coming Messiah was to be the consolation of Israel and the light of the Gentiles - the very ones who were oppressing Judah.
The birth of Jesus was attended by no less astonishment. Gabriel appeared to the virgin Mary who was engaged to Joseph - both descendents of the Davidic line. Both circumstances of Elizabeth and Mary were impossible in nature - for different reasons but non-the-less impossible. Mary was probably quite young being a teenager but still showed a high degree of piety. Remember that the LORD had not showed Himself in such a manner for over 400 years, at least not in recorded history. For the angel Gabriel to make such an appearence was certainly to be greatly fearful. Of course, she was afraid for she did not know what sort of announcement would be forthcoming and what of all people would she a lowly young Jewish girl would be the object of such attention from the LORD. Her astonishment was to deepen even further:
|You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus.  He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David,  and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end." Luke 1:31-33, NIV|
In order to understand the depth of Mary's amazement we need to consider two things: first, the angelic appearence of Gabriel. No one except Zecheriah, Elizabeth's husband had been visited by any angelic being for over 400 years - the entire life-span of many nations. Essentially, this event was a first - although rabinnical traditions had plenty of mythical stories of "Bath Qal" - the so-called Voice from Heaven - whereby the sayings of important Rabbis were confirmed either by a supernatural voice or a supernatural sign from heaven. Mary had been exposed to these teachings and, no doubt, struggled with the teachings of the Rabbis and what she had learned as a believer in Old Testament times. So this visit by Gabriel was completely out of context for Mary who was merely a pios, lowly handmaiden of the LORD. Meaning that she had given herself over to the LORD to live a life of piety but had no aspirations for such an amazing visit from the LORD Himself.
Follow this with the announcement that she was to bear a son, having had no relations with a man, who would be the savior of the world. Gabriel's announcement was, indeed, amazing:
|And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS.  He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David:  And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end. Luke 1:31-33|
Such an amazing announcement by Gabriel.
She would conceive a son, having had no relations with a man
He would be called Jesus, Savior and would be called the Son of the Highest
He would inherit the throne of David forever
His kingdom will see no end.
This must have been overwhelming to Mary, but witness her consecration to the LORD in her response.
|And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her. Luke 1:38|
Many thoughts must have gone through her heart in the days to follow. The wonderful angelic visit by itself was beyond her spiritual expectations. As the physical sign of her pregnacy began to present itself, there must have been thoughts of the possible fate of a young girl who has conceived out of wedlock - a capital offence - these thoughts should have overcome Mary but they did not because she was a young girl of faith and had accepted all that the angel had told her. Mary must have been very much in tune with the issues of the days for during her visit with Elizabeth she gave witness to these thoughts in this way:
And Mary said: "My soul exalts the Lord,  And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.  "For He has had regard for the humble state of His bondslave; For behold, from this time on all generations will count me blessed.  "For the Mighty One has done great things for me; And holy is His name.  "AND HIS MERCY IS UPON GENERATION AFTER GENERATION TOWARD THOSE WHO FEAR HIM.  "He has done mighty deeds with His arm; He has scattered those who were proud in the thoughts of their heart.  "He has brought down rulers from their thrones, And has exalted those who were humble.  "HE HAS FILLED THE HUNGRY WITH GOOD THINGS; AND SENT AWAY THE RICH EMPTY-HANDED.  "He has given help to Israel His servant, In remembrance of His mercy,  As He spoke to our fathers, To Abraham and his offspring forever." NAS
Let's take a look into the heart of Mary and list the thoughts that were there instead of thoughts of fear for her personal wellbeing:
She considered herself a bondslave of the LORD. Yet the LORD had regarded her (seen her - heb ra-ah -, the equivalent word in the Hebrew that Hagar had used in response to her encounter with the LORD). In spite of her low estate, Jehovah was about to bless her with this fearsome responsibility to bear the Son of God.
Her salvation was in the LORD - not in deeds of righteousness as delineated by the rabinnical teachings of the day.
She was, indeed, blessed rather than cursed by her pregnacy. Even though she was not yet married to Joseph.
She looked to the LORD as the MIGHTY ONE - the Warrior of Israel.
What other thoughts are revealed in Mary's praise to the LORD?
We must remember that Mary was a very young girl, engaged to Joseph, likely older than her by some years. These events that were to happen to her were to completely uproot her life - especially as a bride-to-be. For a young girl to be discovered pregnant before marriage meant that she could quite possibly be put to death, especially when her espoused husband would find out. These would have been troublesome times for her except for her faith in the LORD.
She would be the subject of gossip in town - this whole subject was thrown in the face of Jesus during His confrontation with the Pharisees in John 8:13 where they were trying to discredit Jesus' word that He is the light of the world. They challenged Him to produce His Father - their implication was, we will see, that Jesus was conceived out of an act of fornication rather than out of a conception within the confines of wedlock. As the dialogue progresses, things turn ugly as they say: "...'We are not illegitimate children,' they protested. 'The only Father we have is God himself.'" I take this as a double entendre where, on one hand, the argument is going on between their being children of Abraham and of God - and on the other hand, Jesus says that they are of the devil. In their rebuttal, they are arguing that Jesus is not only an illegitimate child but that His acts and words are that of a Samaritan (the chiefest of character assassination) and that He was possessed by a devil.
Mary would have to bear this stigma - but she did willingly because she believed that the LORD would bring Holy Conception to past, and most importantly, that the LORD was, indeed, her MIGHTY WARRIOR and the He would defend her throughout this entire experience.
And so we begin a journey into the heart of Mary, mother of Jesus. I do not do this lightly in view of the version of mariology that is promoted by a major "Christian" religion. Nevertheless, here is an account of a very remarkable young woman who's heart was completely given over the the LORD and was willing to face an uncertain future in the world's view but in her view was quite safe and certain because of her MIGHTY WARRIOR, the LORD.
The Birth. The amazing accounts of Jesus' birth.
The Childhood. A look into the relationship between Jesus, the boy and his parents, especially Mary.
Breaking the Bond. The separation between mom and son as Jesus embarks on His ministry.
Jesus' final words to His mother. The tender moments as Jesus says goodby to His mom while He is dying on the cross. A look at some prophesy regarding Mary's heartbreak.
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1. Isaiah 7:9 "The head of Ephraim is Samaria, and the head of Samaria is only Remaliah's son. If you do not stand firm in your faith, you will not stand at all.' "
2. Actually, the reading should be "the virgin" to reflect the original, pointing to a specific virgin in God's plan,
3. See Matt 1:23.
4. Isaiah 40:9-11 "You who bring good tidings to Zion, go up on a high mountain. You who bring good tidings to Jerusalem, lift up your voice with a shout, lift it up, do not be afraid; say to the towns of Judah, "Here is your God!"  See, the Sovereign LORD comes with power, and his arm rules for him. See, his reward is with him, and his recompense accompanies him.  He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young." NIV
5. Read Luke 1:45.
6. See Psalm 24, especially vss.
7. John 8:19
8. John 8:41