Then There Was Mary

Throughout the Bible are numerous examples of God using the ordinary to achieve the extraordinary. There is no better example of that than the little teenage peasant girl from a small village in Galilee. It was so small that no list of villages in the area mentions it. Mary was among the last of persons suspected of or expecting to be God’s chosen vessel.

First, her hometown. Nazareth was tucked away in a remote village near the nice size Roman/Greek town of Sepphoris, a major ancient city located in lower Galilee, in what is today Israel. Most prominent in the Roman era, the city was located within sight of Nazareth.  It afforded manual labor opportunities for those who walked from Nazareth. 

Some hundred or so who lived in Nazareth dwelt in caves, it was so primitive, while Sepphoris was a sophisticated progressive city. 

Much to her astonishment, an angel appeared to Mary. Tradition says she was at a well when this occurred. However a well isn’t mentioned in the Bible narrative.

Her faith was revealed at the first message shared by the angel. She responded with a question, “How can these things be?”

She was informed she would conceive of the Holy Spirit. Can you imagine what happened at home when she told her mom. Her response might have been, “The Holy what.” Though the Bible mentioned the Holy Spirit working in some lives during the Old Testament era, it was not a doctrine taught in Synagogues. 

She knew that being pregnant out of the bounds of marriage was punishable by death. She willingly risked such. In a little settlement the size of Nazareth there was no way to hide the fact. She even amplified that possibility by visiting her cousin Elizabeth in Emmaus, who was married to a priest who served in the Temple. According to custom Elizabeth told her husband. According to law he was obligated to report the “crime.” The two of them evidently believed Mary and kept the confidence.

Flash forward, one of the best evidenceS she believed the angel and her conception was of the Holy Spirit was at the crucifixion of her Son. As she saw Him carrying His cross she would have heard and seen the charges against Him as He was the Son of God. Custom allowed any person knowing a charge was false could step forward and deny it. She did not deny it; she knew it was true.

Mary and Joseph journeyed to Bethlehem to be taxed because he was of the house of David. Years before Israel was conquered and the people of the Galilee were carried away as slaves. When Israel became free they moved people from Judea to repopulate that region. Among them were some of the House of David from Bethlehem. God staged it all.

Scripture tells us that Jesus was born in Bethlehem. We assume it was immediately after they arrived, but Scripture doesn’t say He was. They may have left Nazareth earlier in order to avoid the critics.

There in Bethlehem the angels announcement was fulfilled. God had used the ordinary to achieve the extraordinary. He who enabled it can use you.