What Mary Didn’t Know

nativity-926289-mIt’s kind of interesting that in a pre-ultrasound society, Mary knew she was having a boy. No other pregnant women of her day knew the sex of the child, but Mary knew. She even knew her son’s name before his birth. She also knew, though undoubtedly many in her community suspected otherwise, that she was still a virgin—the impending birth of her son notwithstanding.

And finally, Mary knew what the angel had told her: she was blessed, her conception would be miraculous, the Child would be known as the Son of the Most High, He’d be King. If she and Joseph compared notes about their separate angelic visitations, she may also have known that He’d be called Immanuel—God with us.

That leaves a lot of unknown. Mary didn’t know, for example, when precisely she’d give birth. In other words, she didn’t know Christmas Eve was Christmas Eve. She most likely gratefully lay down that night in the animal stall, simply glad the long trip from Nazareth was over and she could ease the pain in her back.

When did her contractions begin? Was her labor long? Hard? Did Joseph rush to a relative and ask for a midwife to attend her?

When at last her son arrived, had been cleaned up, the umbilical cord cut, and she’d delivered the afterbirth, did she feed him, then place him in the only safe place at hand—one of the feeding troughs—so she could finally get a little sleep? Because she didn’t know she and her little family were about to have visitors.

Mary didn’t know that while she brought this new precious life into the world, an angel had appeared to a handful of shepherds to announce her son’s birth. She didn’t know about the multitude of the heavenly beings who would join in to praise God and to deliver a blessing to humankind.

Days later, when she and Joseph took Jesus to the temple, she didn’t know about Simeon or about Anna waiting their whole lives for her son who they recognized as the Messiah.

Throughout Jesus’s life, there was so much Mary didn’t know or understand. In fact, “Mary, Did You Know?” a fairly recent Christmas song with lyrics and music written by Mark Lowry and Buddy Greene, addresses this point.

The song asks rhetorically if Mary knew “her Baby Boy” would walk on water, give sight to the blind, calm the storm with His hand, and ultimately, that He was the Creator, the King who would one day rule the nations, the perfect Lamb, the Great I Am.

The fact is, she didn’t know any of the miraculous things Jesus would do, and when she asked Him to help at the wedding when they’d run out of wine, it appears from what Jesus said to her that her asking was more indicative of her not knowing who He was than her knowing.

He was special—that fact was undeniable. But after an angelic visitation, an impossible conception that led to an incredible birth, shepherds bowing to her son, prophetic words spoken over Him in the temple, wisemen traveling from some far off country to give him expensive gifts, Mary still didn’t know who Jesus was.

She knew what she’d seen and heard. She stored it all up to think about later. But not until Jesus died, not until He rose again, not until—most likely—she, along with around 500 others, saw Him ascend into heaven did she get it. We know she did because she was in the upper room when the Holy Spirit came upon the group of Jesus’s faithful followers (Acts 1:14).

In the end, what Mary didn’t know, she would learn. Praise God that He gives us a lifetime to get it right—to respond to His call, to accept what He’s told us about Himself.

Proof, atheists always say. Where is the proof, the evidence that your God exists? Mary had all the evidence in the world—she was part of that evidence—and still she didn’t believe. Until she did.

May this Christmas be the day when more blind eyes will open, when more broken and contrite hearts will believe and know what previously they couldn’t understand: Jesus, Messiah, has come to rescue and to save!

Published in: on December 24, 2014 at 6:15 pm  Comments Off on What Mary Didn’t Know  
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