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MARY, The Ultimate Thinking Girl

If we are going to study thinking girls, we have to look at Mary, the ultimate thinking girl. The first mention of Mary, the mother of Yeshua, by her name is in Matthew 1:16: “And Jacob begot Joseph the husband of Mary of whom was born Jesus who is called Christ.

Mary in Hebrew is Miryam and means “rebellion.” It’s from the root word meriy which means “bitterness, i.e. (figuratively) rebellion; concretely, bitter, or rebellious: —bitter, (most) rebel(-ion, -ious).
It seems strange in a way that the mother of our Lord would have a name that means rebellion. But when you think about it, how appropriate that the Deliverer would be born from our rebellion. It goes back to the Garden of Eden when Adam rebelled against God and sinned, but God had a plan from eternity that He would send His son to deliver us. Now that plan was finally coming to fruition.
Matthew 1:18: “Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit. Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make a public example, was minded to put her away secretly. But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins.” So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel, which is translated, ‘God with us.’ Then Joseph, being aroused from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took to him his wife, and did not know her till she had brought forth her firstborn Son. And he called His name JESUS.”

JESUS, the Son of God, the Savior of mankind, God incarnate, our Kinsman Redeemer is coming on the scene, entering our time domain at the appointed time. He has always existed, but now is the time when He takes on human form, to become one of us, so He can save us from our sins, our rebellion.

There’s no question that Mary was a virgin. The Word makes it clear in a number of places.

Luke 2: 26-27: “Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary.’ 

The word virgin in Greek is parthenos and means:
      A virgin
      A marriageable maiden
      A woman who has never had sexual intercourse with a man 
      One’s marriageable daughter
Luke 1: 28-30: “And having come in, the angel said to her, ‘Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!’ But when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and considered what manner of greeting this was. Then the angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.” (Emphasis mine.)
The word rejoice in Greek is chairo “to be “cheer”ful, i.e. calmly happy or well-off; impersonally, especially as salutation (on meeting or parting), be well:—farewell, be glad, God speed, greeting, hail, joy(fully), rejoice.  

The word for blessed or highly favored in some translations interestingly is charitoo and comes from the root word charis, the Greek word for grace, and means “to grace, i.e. indue with special honor:—make accepted, be highly favored.”

Mary was born a sinner in need of a Savior just like everyone else who has been born. And that grace is available not only to Mary, but to all who will put their faith in the One who died for us.
The word Lord in Greek is kyrios and means “supreme in authority, i.e. (as noun) controller; by implication, Master (as a respectful title);—God, Lord, master, Sir.”
The Blue Letter Bible Outline for Biblical Usage says “he to whom a person or thing belongs, about which he has power of deciding; master, lord.” Don’t you just love that? If He is Lord of our lives, He is the person to Whom we belong and He has the power of deciding for every detail of our lives.

The Angel is telling Mary that the Supreme God of the universe is with her meta and she is blessed eulego among women. Eulego means “to praise, celebrate with praise, to invoke blessings, to cause to prosper, to make happy, to bestow blessings on.”

But when Mary saw him, she was troubled. The word is diatarasso and means “to agitate greatly, trouble greatly.” Strong’s says, “to disturb wholly, i.e. agitate (with alarm);—trouble.”
We can imagine this would be somewhat disturbing and troubling. You’re going along your way, doing what you do, and an angel appears before you with this kind of news.
Mary considered what manner of greeting this was. The Greek is dialogizomai and means “to bring together different reasons, to reckon up the reasons, to reason, revolve in one’s mind, deliberate.

Found favor is again, the word charis “grace.”

Luke 1: 31-38: “And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name JESUS. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end. Then Mary said to the angel, ‘How can this be since I do not know a man?’ And the angel answered and said to her, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, the Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God. Now indeed, Elizabeth your relative has also conceived a son in her old age; and this is now the sixth month for her who was called barren. For with God nothing will be impossible.’ Then Mary said, ‘Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.’ And the angel departed from her.”  

The word great in verse 32 is megas and means “exceedingly great(est), high, large, loud, mighty, +(be) sore (afraid), strong, xto years.” Now there’s a superlative! Let’s remember that the throne of David did not exist during this time. More for Mary to consider, to ponder.
Mary asked the angel how can this be. She’s not asking from doubt, but just wants instruction on how all this is going to come about. Then she answered and called herself the maidservant of the Lord. The word maidservant is doule and means “a female slave, bondmaid, handmaid.”

It is the feminine form of the word doulos, the word Paul uses for himself as a bondslave of Jesus Christ. In the Old Testament times slaves served for a certain period of time. At the end of their servitude they could go free, or if they chose they could stay with their master for life and become a bond slave. This was signified by taking an awl and piercing the ear in order to wear an earring which was the symbol of a bondslave. Paul and Mary considered themselves bondslaves of the Lord.
Mary then went to visit Elizabeth and we see in verse 45 that Mary believed. What follows is Mary’s beautiful Magnificat:

“And Mary said: ‘My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior. For He has regarded the lowly state of His maidservant; for behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed. For He who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is His name. And His mercy is on those who fear Him from generation to generation. He has shown strength with His arm; He has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. He has put down the mighty from their thrones, and exalted the lowly. He has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich He has sent away empty. He has helped His servant Israel, in remembrance of His mercy, as He spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his seed forever.’”

Much can be learned from this beautiful piece. For this study we will notice a few things. The first sentence reflects the song of Hannah from 1 Samuel 2. Notice that both the soul and the spirit are mentioned. Mary’s whole being is magnifying and rejoicing, because her body is also engaged by her voice speaking (and Mary said). Many other scripture passages are referenced in the Magnificat, such as Habakkuk 3:18, Psalm 188:6.

We see from this that Mary knew scripture. She had probably been taught from the earliest age and now had a full command of God’s Word. She knew what was prophesied and this Magnificat was an affirmation of what had been prophesied. Hebrew poetry contains parallelisms and this poem is full of those. We see the reversal of conditions in this poem, such as the lowly are exalted and the proud brought low. He fills the hungry and sends the rich away empty. In all this, her soul mirrors her spirit, which is as it should be. When we are walking in the Spirit and controlled by our spirits, our souls will follow. When we walk after the flesh, our souls are in control instead of our spirits. Mary’s spirit was functioning as it was suppose to, thus her soul reflected that.

Mary had a lot to think about. She exhibited a great faith, but she still had questions and uncertainties. This had never happened to anyone else, ever. She most likely was thinking what would people think. Probably wondering what Joseph would think. But Mary was all in. She, the bondslave of the Lord said, “Let it be to me according to your word.”

The Bible uses two Greek words to refer to the Word of God, logos and rhema. Logos is translated word in John 1:1: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” For the sake of space, I will let you look this up in the Blue Letter Bible and Strong’s. Our Bible is God’s logos to us. It is His spoken word that has been recorded for us, the constant, written word.

One of my favorite Bible teachers, Chuck Missler, used to always remind us that the Bible is a love letter written in blood to us. It’s His way of communicating His truths to us, to show us His ways and His will and how we can know Him. It’s through this written Word which He spoke to the prophets in ages past, that we can know Him and experience Him on a deeper level.

The other word used is rhema. Again, for the sake of space I will let you look this up. This rhema is what Mary says when she says, “Let it be to me according to your word.” Rhema is the personal speaking of God to us. The application for us is that God communicates to us through His written word, the Bible, which He spoke, and then sometimes through that written Word, He will speak specifically to us with His rhema, where He will make the word stand out to us. He highlights what we are reading. Rhema is a verse or portion of scripture that the Holy Spirit draws our attention to or illuminates. We read His logos, we pray, we meditate, then something will pop out to us. We all of a sudden see what He is saying to us. 

Matthew 4:4 “But He answered and said, ‘It is written, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.”’” Word here is rhema. This is how God feeds us and directs us. He cleanses us with this rhema. Ephesians 5: 26 “that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word.”

Another thing that happens is we read a passage and go on our way. Then at a moment when we need it, He will bring that passage to our minds. That is rhema. An example of this is when my father was very ill and in the hospital. We didn’t at this point know what was wrong with him and I was anxious and nervous and a verse popped in my head. I kept hearing, “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Thee.” I looked it up and it was from Isaiah. I hadn’t really studied Isaiah at that point, but I had read it and the Lord gave me that rhema at just the time I needed it. He spoke that word to me from His written word.

2 Timothy 4: 16-17: “All Scripture is given by inspirations of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

God gives us His word to know what has happened, to know what is going to happen, to know His words, how to apply those words to our lives, to be equipped, all those things. The Bible has an immediate application, a future application and an application for our lives.

John 6:63 “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words which I have spoken to you are spirit and are life.”

Back to Mary. The words that the angel spoke to Mary had already been given in prophecy. Now the appointed time was coming into play and the words God spoke and had been written in the Scriptures were becoming the spoken word in Mary’s life.

We all know the how the story continues. Possibly the best known passage in the Bible is Luke 2. I will leave it to you to read the whole passage again. For this study we will continue with two verses. Luke 2:6 “So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered.” Don’t you just love the English here? The days were completed for her to be delivered. Sometimes the English comes through for us and captures what needs to be captured. Mary was delivered by the baby she delivered. The word completed is pimplemi and is translated accomplished in the King James Version. It means “to fulfill, accomplish, furnish.”

The word delivered is tikto and means “to bring forth, bear, produce (fruit from the seed). I’m reminded of the beautiful song by Mark Lowry, Mary Did You Know where the lines says, “The child that you delivered would soon deliver you.”

The other verse we want to look at is Luke 2: 19 “But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart. Kept is syntero and means “to preserve (a thing from perishing or being lost), to keep within one’s self, keep in mind (a thing, lest it be forgotten).” Strong’s says, “to keep closely together, i.e. (by implication) to conserve (from ruin); mentally, to remember (and obey):—keep, observe, preserve.

It’s from the root word tereo which means “to attend to carefully, take care of, to guard, to observe, to reserve, to undergo something.” Strong’s says, “to guard (from loss or injury, properly , by keeping the eye upon.”

Pondered is symballo and means “to throw together, to converse, to bring together in one’s mind, confer with one’s self.” I’ve always loved that word and can just picture Mary in my mind’s eye pondering in wonder and amazement all the things prophesied so long ago, that she was getting to be a part of.

Heart is the Greek word kardia. It will serve us to look at the full definition of this word found in the Blue Letter Bible Outline of Biblical Usage:
      The heart

          A. That organ in the animal body which is the centre of the circulation of the blood, and 
               hence was regarded as the seat of physical life.

          B. denotes the centre of all physical and spiritual life

                i. the vigour and sense of physical life

                ii. the centre and seat of spiritual life
     The soul or mind, as it is the fountain and seat of the thoughts, passions, desires, appetites,              affections, purposes, endeavors.

      Of the understanding, the faculty and seat of the intelligence.  Of the will and character.

      Of the soul so far as it is affected and stirred in a bad way or good, or of the soul as the seat of the sensibilities, affections, emotions, desires, appetites, passions

            C. of the middle or central or inmost part of anything, even though inanimate.

In other studies we have looked at 1 Thessalonians 5:23 that says, “Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” We know that we are made in the image of God and that just as Elohim is three in one God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, we are made up of three parts: spirit, soul and body. I would refer you to A STUDY ON REST AND WORKS for more on this. I’m fascinated with how the heart fits into the picture. We know that Yeshua said the greatest commandment was “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. If you take the time to study passages in the Old Testament and the New Testament that speak of the spirit, soul, body, flesh and heart you gain more insight to how these all work, but it’s still not something that is easily understood. It seems to be that the heart is kind of intersecting point where the spirit, soul and body all meet. We know there is a physical organ, the heart. But more than that, the heart is where we experience deep emotions. Our hearts can be broken. They can be full of love. Full of hate. Full of joy. Our hearts can be the home for our Savior. Body, soul and spirit. It’s intriguing to study.

Mark 2:6 mentions scribes reasoning in their hearts. Mark 3:5 refers to hardness of hearts. Mark 4: 15 talks about Satan taking away the word that was sown in hearts. We know Isaiah prophesied about people honoring the Lord with their lips but their hearts not being for Him. Jeremiah tells us that the heart is deceitfully wicked and no one can really know the heart except the Lord. We are told to guard our hearts. So Mary pondered all these things in her heart. I see that as not just giving mental assent to all this, but taking it all to heart. Acknowledging all the emotions that must have been swirling around. Really doing some thinking, meditating, praying and soul searching.

Fast forward to when Joseph and Mary took the babe to the temple and Simeon blessed them. Luke 2: 34-35 “Then Simeon blessed them, and said to Mary His mother, ‘Behold, this Child is destined for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign which will be spoken against, (yes, a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.’” The sword here is rhomphaia and means “ a large sword, properly a long Thracian javelin, also a kind of long sword wont to be worn on the right shoulder.”

Pierce is dierchomai and means to go through, pass through, to travel the road which leads through a place, go, pass, travel through a region, pierce through.”

The mother of the Messiah would have the greatest privilege and blessing, but also the greatest burden and heartache. Here again, in this passage we see the soul and heart. The mother of the Messiah’s soul will be pierced in order that many hearts may be revealed apokalypto “to uncover, lay open what has been veiled or covered up.”

Mary had a good understanding of what was being fulfilled and her role in all this. She didn’t have all the answers, though. She had to walk her journey, too. Later in the same chapter when Jesus was twelve and they made the yearly trek to Jerusalem, we get a glimpse that Mary still didn’t have it all figured out.

Luke 2: 41-51 “His parents went to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of the Passover. And when He was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem according to the custom of the feast. When they had finished the days, as they returned, the Boy Jesus lingered behind in Jerusalem. And Joseph and His mother did not know it, but supposing Him to have been in the company, they went a day’s journey, and sought Him among their relatives and acquaintances. So when they did not find Him they returned to Jerusalem, seeking Him. Now so it was that after three days they found Him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, both listening to them and asking them questions. And all who heard Him were astonished at His understanding and answers. So when they saw him, they were amazed; and His mother said to Him, ‘Son, why have You done this to us? Look, Your father and I have sought You anxiously.’ And He said to them, ‘Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?’ But they did not understand the statement which He spoke to them. Then He went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was subject to them, but His mother kept all these things in her heart.” (Emphasis mine.)

None of us, including Mary, are given all the information at one time. We have to walk with the Lord step by step. He guides us and reveals to us as we need it. We would become too independent if He gave us all the information at once.

The next time we see Mary is not until John 2 at the wedding in Cana. John 2: 1-12 : ”On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Now both Jesus and His disciples were invited to the wedding. And when they ran out of wine, the mother of Jesus said to him, ‘They have no wine.’ Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, what does your concern have to do with Me? My hour has not yet come.’ His mother said to the servants, ‘Whatever He says to you, do it.’ Now there were set there six waterpots of stone, according to the manner of purification of the Jews, containing twenty or thirty gallons apiece. Jesus said to them, ‘Fill the waterpots with water.’ And they filled them to the brim. And He said to them, ‘Draw some out now, and take it to the master of the feast.’ And they took it. When the master of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and did not know where it came from (but the servants who had drawn the water knew), the master of the feast called the bridegroom. And he said to him, ‘Every man at the beginning sets out the good wine, and when the guests have well drunk, then the inferior. You have kept the good wine until now!’ This beginning of signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee, and manifested His glory; and His disciples believed in Him.”

Much has been written about this miracle and is a great study on its own. For this study we will just focus on our subject. Mary had had thirty years now of pondering and watching her son, her Savior live His earthly life and wait for the appointed times for things to happen. She, as usual, is aware of what is going on. She sees that they run out of wine and she makes the need known to Jesus. Her words are simple. She just brings the situation to His attention. As I said, much has been written about Jesus’ reply back to Mary. Most agree that His reply, though respectful, was used to emphasize that their relationship was different now. Mary says no more. She doesn’t defend why she said it or explain further to Him. She submits. But then she instructs the servants to do whatever He says. She’s hopeful, watching, expectant.

I’m intrigued by Jesus’ answer to His mother, especially when He says, “My hour has not yet come.” It sounds like this miracle wasn’t planned, yet everything has been appointed. Just one of those many paradoxes that we have to wonder and sometimes wrestle with in our faith. Just another example of how God works His sovereignty into our doings. Back to the story, Mary and the servants were the only ones that knew what was done until the wine was tasted. I wonder what the servants were thinking as they took the sample to the master.

Matthew Henry says that Mary “kept her hope in Christ’s mercy, that He would yet grant her desire.”
Mary was very trusting. Why can’t I be that trusting? One of my favorite verses is Psalm 138: 8 “The LORD will perfect that which concerns me; Your mercy, O LORD, endures forever; do not forsake the works of Your hands.” He will complete everything He has for me. I need not fret or worry. Yes, we have to pay a price. Salvation and all the attributes of God like love, mercy and grace are free. But to walk with the Lord in an intimate way will cost us. It will cost us our lives. Remember what Jesus said in Matthew 16:25 “For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. It cost Mary. A sword pierced her soul. But look at what she got to do, to enjoy...not only a place in history, but even more in the kingdom. And to know Jesus in a most intimate way is the ultimate gift.


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