There is a Proverb that says, “When there are many words, transgression and offense are unavoidable, but he who controls his lips and keeps thoughtful silence is wise.” (Proverbs 10:19) But that isn’t always easy, is it? In fact, most of the time it is not. How many times have your words caused you problems? How many times have you had to apologize for things you’ve said and later regretted? “Keep your words sweet, because you may have to eat them!” as the old adage goes. In this final installment of the the series, “What Mary Said”, I want to point out a few things you may have overlooked as you’ve read about the life of Mary, Jesus’ mother. Certainly there are a few really significant things that Mary said, as I’ve have shown you in this series, but today I want a little bit more time than usual to highlight what Mary didn’t say!
Mary had a unique and poignant burden to bear as the mother of Jesus, the Messiah. One one hand, He was her son, her little boy. She had given birth to Him and had raised Him. However, on the other hand, He was the Son of God and she was fully aware of that. Talk about blurred lines! While Mary was simply a vessel chosen by God and was by no means perfect or divine, she was God’s perfect choice to care for His Son during His time on earth. Why? Because God sees something in us that we do not see in ourselves. From the beginning, Mary declared herself to be the servant of the Lord. (Luke 1:38) She wasn’t perfect, but she was truly willing and open to anything – and that was good enough for Him!
Mary’s faith in God was unshakable even though Simeon had prophesied that, “a sword will pierce through your own soul,” (Luke 2:35) as Jesus lived out His life on earth. Oh how true that was! Mary had a position of influence and authority over Jesus that every mother has, yet even the very worst seasons any human can endure, Mary operated with a different kind of strength – the kind that rules from within, without a show of force – the kind her Son also showed in His life. Here are some things Mary didn’t say….
She didn’t ask why: In Luke 1:21 when the angel Gabriel appeared to Mary and greeted her, “…she was troubled by his words, and considered in her mind what kind of greeting this might be.” Mary did ask “how?” (Luke 1:34) but she never asked “why?” Why have you chosen me? Why do I have to do this? Why does it have to be so hard? Why can’t you tell me more? The Bible notes that Mary had a great deal of turmoil within herself, as many of us do when the Lord asks the impossible and even more so…we often resist. But Mary stayed silent and let God unfold the plan for her life according to His will and the entire world for all of the following history of mankind was transformed.
She didn’t boast: In Luke 2:19, after Jesus had been born, the shepherds ran to where He was, lying in the manger and they told Mary and Joseph all they had seen when the angels sang together and Luke notes that while everyone was marveling, “Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart.” It would have been understandable if Mary had been even a little proud of the fact that she had just given birth to the Messiah, but while the rest of the world was lauding and celebrating and marveling and singing praises, Mary stayed silent. The Bible says she was “pondering” and putting it all together in her heart – the dreams, the prophecies, the future. God has big plans for everyone, but not everyone will see them unfold in their lives. Why? Because a servant’s heart was what set Mary apart from the beginning and that never changed. Remember, God never chose kings to serve Him, he chose servants and made them into kings.
She didn’t argue: She didn’t In Luke 2:51 after Mary had Joseph had found a 12-year old Jesus in the temple, He explained to them that He, “must be about My Father’s business” and while they didn’t understand what He meant, Luke noted, “His mother kept all these words in her heart.” As the mother of Jesus, Mary probably had a mouthful to say once she found Him after many days of worry and anxiety. Yet, she said nothing. How many times have you had a “mouthful” to say to Jesus after seasons of worry and anxiety, where you’ve looked around and can’t seem to perceive Him anywhere in your situation? We all shake our fists and speak our piece to Jesus at times, yet Mary said nothing – even when she didn’t understand. (Luke 2:50) In the life of faith, you will go through seasons where it seems like Jesus is nowhere to be found, but instead of making demands or arguing about what you think He should have done, do what Mary did – keep His words in your heart, even if you don’t understand what’s going on. Jesus is working about the Father’s business – and that includes your needs. Don’t argue, trust Him!
Mary never spoke a word of doubt that God’s promises might not be true, even as the Promise died before her eyes.
She didn’t beg: At the wedding at Cana, as told in John 2, Mary went to Jesus with a really simple need: more wine. That’s it. No mighty act or healing or walking on water. Just one of those “little things” that came up while He was there. When Mary went to Jesus about it, she didn’t request a miracle or call in a favor or demand or command or beg Jesus for anything. In fact, Mary didn’t even ask for help! She simply said, “They have no wine.” Mary brought her request to the Lord and trusted Him to help. She said nothing else about it. We all have something – big or small – that we need help with and we go to Jesus and pray and pray and pray and pray when, really, once you’ve made your request, just stand in faith as Mary did! Resist the enemy, pray in the Spirit, declare the Word of God and stay in faith. Mary had so much confidence in Jesus that she said nothing after making her request. Friend, Jesus heard you the first time. (Daniel 10:12) He’s going to help.
She didn’t question: In Matthew 12:46-50, when Mary and Jesus’ brothers came to where He was teaching a great crowd, they wanted to speak with Him, but couldn’t get close enough. When Jesus was made aware, His response was “Who is My mother, and who are My brothers?” He stretched out His hand toward His disciples and said, “Here are My mother and My brothers! For whoever does the will of My Father who is in heaven is My brother, and sister, and mother.” Mary had accepted long before this that Jesus’ priority was the Kingdom of God, so what did she do? She didn’t question Him, even though she had a desire to see Him. It’s no different with us. We all desire to see Jesus and have His attention, but it’s important to learn that, while each person is loved by Him, the closest you’ll ever be to Him is when your priority is the Kingdom of God as well. That’s where His heart is.
Mary didn’t speak doubt: When Mary was at Calvary watching her boy suffer and bleed on the cross, the Bible says, “When Jesus saw His mother and the disciple whom He loved standing nearby, He said to His mother, ‘Woman, here is your son.’ Then He said to the disciple, ‘Here is your mother.’ From that time, this disciple took her to his own home.” (John 19:26-27) She was there. She witnessed everything. How hard must it have been to have read all the prophecies and heard all the promises about the Messiah and to witness Him dying? How hard is it to stand in faith when the promise God gave you, the hope, is stripped naked, beaten and hanging for all to see? How hard is it for you to move onto the next chapter before you feel ready? When you’re still in mourning and Jesus says it’s time to move on? And yet Mary did. Mary never spoke a word of doubt that God’s promises might not be true, even as the Promise died before her eyes. She never spoke doubt about what Jesus could do or would do. She believed and moved in the direction of faith. Mary moved out of her home. She became part of another family. One chapter closed and another opened and Mary’s faith in God, and His Son Jesus Christ, the Messiah, only got stronger.
After His resurrection, Jesus told His disciples to wait in Jerusalem for “power from on high” and for the baptism of the Holy Spirit and Acts 1 notes, “These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers.” (Acts 1:4-14) Mary continued on in faith, waiting for the One Jesus promised He would send after Him, His Holy Spirit. No questions. No doubt. No hesitation. Mary was willing to wait for as long as it would take for Jesus to do what He said He would do and her words never contradicted the words of Jesus. He said to wait. She was willing to sit, to pray, to remain for as long as it would take – and God broke through!
Thought for today
This devotional series has focused on two important aspects of Mary’s life: What she said and what she did not say – and both are powerful examples of the life of a servant whose faith was unshakable. Did Mary experience deep pain, turmoil and agony, questions, protests, anger, frustration and anxiety? Of course she did! But the feelings that Mary felt never changed her faith. God never asks His servants to be perfect, but if you want to live a life of miracles, you’ll need the faith to trust in the Miracle Maker. What Mary didn’t say speaks volumes still today: A willing servant who trusts God no matter what is the right person for the job!