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What did Mary Know? – Part One

What did Mary Know? – Part One

There is a wonderful worship song that poses the question, “Mary did you know?” It’s a well done song that I have been singing parts of for weeks, and as I was playing it mentally, I began to wonder, as I have before, if Mary even knew what she was getting into? We know the angel came and talked with her before she became pregnant with the Son of God, but, in thinking of it, I wonder how much she really understood? Maybe she was completely focused on the conception and what kind of a reaction that it would cause both in her personal life and in the community in which she lived.

While it is true that both Mary and Zechariah sang of great things in their respective praises, Mary in Luke 1:46-55;


“My soul glorifies the Lord
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has been mindful
of the humble state of his servant.
From now on all generations will call me blessed,
for the Mighty One has done great things for me—
holy is his name.
His mercy extends to those who fear him,
from generation to generation.
He has performed mighty deeds with his arm;
he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.
He has brought down rulers from their thrones
but has lifted up the humble.
He has filled the hungry with good things
but has sent the rich away empty.
He has helped his servant Israel,
remembering to be merciful
to Abraham and his descendants forever,
just as he promised our ancestors.” Luke 1:46-55 (NIV)

And Zechariah in Luke 1:67-79:

His [John the Baptist] father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied:

“Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel,
because he has come to his people and redeemed them.
He has raised up a horn[a] of salvation for us
in the house of his servant David
(as he said through his holy prophets of long ago),
salvation from our enemies
and from the hand of all who hate us—
to show mercy to our ancestors
and to remember his holy covenant,
the oath he swore to our father Abraham:
to rescue us from the hand of our enemies,
and to enable us to serve him without fear
in holiness and righteousness before him all our days.

And you, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High;
for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him,
to give his people the knowledge of salvation
through the forgiveness of their sins,
because of the tender mercy of our God,
by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven
to shine on those living in darkness
and in the shadow of death,
guide our feet into the path of peace.”Luke 1:67-79 (NIV)

Did they even begin to understand what they were truly saying? Throughout the Old Testament prophets spoke of things about which they did not know. Isaiah prophesied about Jesus in Isaiah 53 hundreds of years before Jesus was even born. How could he begin to know what the fulfillment of those words would be?

There is more than one reference in the Bible about Mary “pondering.” At the manger when the shepherds came and told of the angel that had spoken to them:

When they [the shepherds] had seen him [Jesus], they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. Luke 2:17-19 (NIV)

And in the temple where she and Joseph took Jesus to be circumcised the Bible says:

A man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was on him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying: Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you may now dismiss your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all nations: a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of your people Israel.” The child’s father and mother marveled at what was said about him. Luke 2:25-33 (NIV)

When Jesus was 12 he went to Jerusalem with His family for Passover, but when the group that included many of Jesus’ family and friends headed for home He was not found among them. Mary and Joseph went back to find Him, eventually locating Him at the temple. Jesus says:

“Why were you searching for me?” he asked. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” But they did not understand what he was saying to them. But his mother treasured all these things in her heart. Luke 2:49-50 (NIV)

Did Mary finally come to the realization before the cross? She seems to be searching for meaning in this miraculous life of her son and the Son of God. See Part Two

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