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MARY HIGHLY FAVORED: “BLESSED ARE YOU AMONG WOMEN!” (4)

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       There was an unknown circumstance in Mary’s young life that spoke of great humility. We don’t know what this was exactly, and Luke does not elaborate. But there are directive clues. Read on:

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        The following is from Part 1: There is something else here that Luke’s narrative hints at which he does not delve into, possibly because he knew his audience was aware of whatever particulars were involved with Mary and the circumstances of her humble life.

         In the very beginning, after initially being told by the angel Gabriel that she was highly favored and the Lord was indeed with her, Mary became, depending on the translation, troubled/disturbed/perplexed. The Greek says greatly agitated. She wondered where this extraordinary greeting came from and what it could possibly be about. One senses she thought it must be meant for another, that the joyous messenger must have the wrong house.

         In answering a faithful reader’s comment on Part 3 today, who said of Mary, She must have indeed been a highly intelligent, spiritually sensitive young woman, I wrote the following:

         “Yes. A perfect choice. And she had to somehow come to a quick understanding of this fact though her humble nature would otherwise preclude it. She had to look beyond her humble circumstances and do her best to see herself as God saw her. He needed her. He wanted her to be the one. Here we have a good look into the counterintuitive nature of humanity. If Mary had previously thought herself as the best choice she would be disqualified, since that would reveal the presence of sinful pride. But if she thought herself unworthy and could never be persuaded to the contrary she would disqualify herself.”

         Why did she feel so unworthy? And why did she refer to herself not once but twice as a bondslave? I mentioned this in Part 1. The Hebrew word for a female slave is shiphchah. The Greek word used here is doulos, which speaks directly to a slave of the basest order and is used throughout the New Testament. One gets the idea that young Mary was somehow familiar with such status.

         It is also quite interesting that the New Testament never mentions any interaction with Mary’s parents or possible siblings. We know her father’s name was Eli (Heli), from her genealogy in Luke 3:23, but there is never any mention of her mother or her mother’s name. It appears they were no longer around. It is also evident that Mary was an only child. Imagine that. There is also a distinct possibility that Joseph, her betrothed, was her father’s adopted son, as alluded to in the genealogy. This was actually a Hebrew tradition going back centuries for men with no natural male heirs, so the idea isn’t so far-fetched. Any or all of these challenging life circumstances might be the cause of her feelings of unworthiness, but there is yet another, and it is here where we shall gain even greater understanding of the well known verse, “For God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart” (1Samuel 16:7).

        There is a Greek word that only occurs four times in the NT. It only applies to two specific people in the NT. Those two people are the Lord Jesus and His mother Mary. The word is tapeinosis. It is defined as “lowness, low estate, and humiliation.” Regarding the Lord it appears in Acts 8:33 in which the author references Isaiah 53:8. Here are both verses with the translated English word underlined:

     “IN HUMILIATION HIS JUDGMENT WAS TAKEN AWAY; WHO WILL RELATE HIS GENERATION? FOR HIS LIFE IS REMOVED FROM THE EARTH.” [Acts 8:33]

         By oppression and judgment He was taken away; and as for His generation, who considered that He was cut off out of the land of the living for the transgression of my people, to whom the stroke was due? [Isaiah 53:8]

      Here is the verse that references Mary, again with the translated English words underlined:

          “For He has had regard for the humble state of His bondslave; for behold, from this time on all generations will count me blessed.” [Luke 1:48]   

         The Hebrew word is otser. It is defined as “restraint, coercion.” It is translated primarily as “oppression.” It refers in a sense to prison or being a prisoner. This indicates a form of slavery. Mary did refer to herself as a bondslave. This speaks indirectly of possessing a particular humble state or condition and we now have a better understanding of what that was. Isaiah chapter 53 is an OT prophetic picture of the Lord Jesus. Here is the verse that ties both Son and mother together:

          He has no stately form or majesty that we should look upon Him, nor appearance that we should be attracted to Him. [Isaiah 53:2][1] 

           © 2019 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved. [To Be Continued]


[1] Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

MARY HIGHLY FAVORED: “BLESSED ARE YOU AMONG WOMEN!” (Intro)

MARY HIGHLY FAVORED: “BLESSED ARE YOU AMONG WOMEN!” (1)

MARY HIGHLY FAVORED: “BLESSED ARE YOU AMONG WOMEN!” (2)

MARY HIGHLY FAVORED: “BLESSED ARE YOU AMONG WOMEN!” (3)

MARY HIGHLY FAVORED: “BLESSED ARE YOU AMONG WOMEN!” (5)

Entering The Miracle Realm (Part 3)

         Abraham chose to believe God’s promise and Isaac was the result, though it happened 25 years later.

         Mary, the Lord’s mother, told everyone in the beginning that her Son was the result of a miracle pregnancy and birth, but no one believed her. Some did believe, however, when the Lord performed His first miracle, 30 years later.

         This means that faith in God’s promises also requires time. The one to whom the impossible promise was made must remain faithful until the impossible promise happens—in God’s timing.

         Joseph remained faithful and pure throughout his 13 years in captivity after a great betrayal. His father thought he was dead. No one knew where he was. No one came looking for him. He was completely cut off from his family.

         But prior to all the abject misery he was subjected to, God gave him a couple of dreams revealing his future and his future standing. He knew these dreams were God’s Word to him and he never lost sight of their implications and future occurrence.

         Therefore, before anything happened or even began to, God gave Abraham a promise—God’s promise to Abraham came first. The angel Gabriel told Mary all about her Son before she conceived. God gave Joseph dreams before the challenging, lonely sojourn he was sent on that resulted in the salvation of his family.

         We thus cannot simply believe in something happening unless it first involves God’s promise of its occurrence. We may have specific promises made to us specifically by God, or we may have the promises He makes in His Word, such as abundant life. Though Abraham lost faith halfway toward the promise, he regained it and returned to The Miracle Realm:

         Without becoming weak in faith he contemplated his own body, now as good as dead since he was about a hundred years old, and the deadness of Sarah’s womb; yet, with respect to the promise of God, he did not waver in unbelief but grew strong in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully assured that what God had promised, He was able also to perform. Therefore IT WAS ALSO CREDITED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS. [Romans 4:19-22]

         The Lord Jesus is THE DOOR to abundant life and the coming true of every promise He makes. But one cannot say he believes in God without also believing in His promises and in His miracle power. Isaac was a miracle. The Lord’s birth was a miracle. Joseph rising from the lowest pit to become the effective ruler of Egypt was obviously miraculous. 

         If one DOES believe in God, according to the Lord’s definition, the evidence of that faith will be there—miracles will happen. This is why miracles followed the ministries and lives of real believers in the first century. It is also why NO MIRACLES follow the ministries and lives of non-believers, whether they claim to be Christians or not.

         Unreal Christianity engages in much fakery and pretension. It insists on its authenticity though the fruit is not there. If the spiritual fruit is not there then the grapevine is either not producing or it likely does not exist in that place.  

         IF THERE IS REAL BELIEF, THERE WILL ALSO BE REAL MIRACLES. THESE TWO ALWAYS GO TOGETHER. THIS IS THE UNDENIABLE PROOF OF GOD’S PRESENCE.

         “…For no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.” [John 3:2]

         The miracles, power, and demonstration of the Spirit of God are the evidence of real believers who refuse to believe in circumstances that disagree with God.

         “I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.

         “If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned.

         “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.

         “My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples.” [John 15:5-8]

         When the presence of the Lord has been rejected, there must be a substitute to give the illusion of authenticity. The Pharisees were absolute masters at doing this. They were incredibly brilliant in putting on fake spiritual performances and this was exactly why the Lord called them stage players. Their speaking ability, intelligence, knowledge, and pageantry was unmatched. They constructed a large, highly detailed living deception, a veritable temple, due to not having the presence of God. They knew most people are greatly impressed by such surface manipulations and the appearance of religious authority. As a result they reveled in the adoration and respect it gained them, including the social standing and wealth.

         The apostle Paul had been one of these but did a complete 180 when he gave his life to the Lord. Because of his real faith the Lord Jesus took away all the fake props and resulting religious pride, and blessed him with Himself and the actual evidence of His presence.

         And when I came to you, brethren, I did not come with superiority of speech or of wisdom, proclaiming to you the testimony of God.

         For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified.

         I was with you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling, and my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God. [1Corinthians 2:1-5]

         If one is a Christian that does not believe in miracles, power, and demonstration of the Spirit, then one is a Christian that does not believe in God, even if he claims to. The claim itself is worthless. It must be confirmed by evidence.

         The life of Abraham contained this evidence. The Lord’s ministry contained this evidence. The ministry of the early believers contained this evidence.

         As a further test of his faith, Abraham was told by God to sacrifice Isaac. Remember, if there’s no Isaac, there is no future Savior of the world and we all go to hell.

         WHEN GOD MAKES A PROMISE HE THEN SPEAKS DEATH TO IT. HE DOES THIS SO THE PROMISE WILL NEVER COME TRUE UNLESS IT IS ACTIVATED AND RESURRECTED BY FAITH, AND IN HIS TIME.

         Abraham obeyed the Lord’s instruction and set out to sacrifice his son.

         By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was offering up his only begotten son; it was he to whom it was said, “IN ISAAC YOUR DESCENDANTS SHALL BE CALLED.” He considered that God is able to raise people even from the dead, from which he also received him back as a type. [Hebrews 11:17-19]

         Abraham believed in the power of faith and practiced it. He believed in sacrifice and practiced it. He believed in giving and practiced it. He believed in the concept of circumcision and practiced it. He even believed in resurrection from the dead. ABRAHAM OBEYED GOD AND THE MIRACULOUS EVIDENCE OF HIS FAITH WAS DEMONSTRATED IN HIS LIFE.

         He lived in The Miracle Realm. His eyes were opened. He saw what no one else could see. Out in the desert he peered almost 2000 years into the distant future and understood the blood covenant. He understood the gift of righteousness. He understood the reason why. Because he believed God He SAW Salvation:

         “Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad.”

         So the Jews said to Him, “You are not yet fifty years old, and have You seen Abraham?”

         Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I AM.” [John 8:56-58] [1]

         © 2014 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.


[1] Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.        

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