When you study the names of the women named in Jesus’ lineage, one name is not like the others.
Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, Bathsheba and — Mary.
In fact, it’s reasonable to assume Mary would be included in the genealogy of Jesus since she was Jesus’ mother. We’re used to our mother’s names being listed on our birth certificates as they are key to our lineage.
But Matthew 1 traces Jesus’ family tree through Jesus’ earthly father Joseph to prove Jesus was the promised Messiah descended from Abraham and David. Mary’s name wasn’t necessary to make that point and yet her name is one of five women the gospel of Matthew lists in Jesus’ family tree.
“…and Jacob the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary, and Mary was the mother of Jesus who is called the Messiah.” (Matt 1:16)
As we study this woman of Christmas, we discover 4 examples from Mary in Jesus’ lineage.
4 Examples from Mary in Jesus’ Lineage
1.Mary shows us how to wholly serve God.
Mary responded when the angel Gabriel appeared to announce this young, yet unmarried virgin would have a child who would be the Messiah is jaw-dropping: “I am the Lord’s servant. May your word to me be fulfilled.”
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I can only imagine the questions spiraling from this news. How will I tell my parents? What will I say to Joseph? What will Joseph do? What will people think? What about our wedding plans? Will I be in trouble with Jewish authorities? What kind of pregnancy will this be? What kind of child will He be? How in the world can I mother God in flesh?
Yet Mary immediately embraced God’s unimaginable will and completely trusted God’s next step for her.
As we look at a New Year ahead, this is certain: God will require big faith from us.
Not maybe, but guaranteed. Every believer is called to walk by faith, not by sight and not for a season where we slide back into our zones of comfort but daily. How will we respond?
We are God’s servants.
Let’s decide now not to hesitate, not to bargain, not to get another opinion or draw back but to fully embrace God’s will and His next step for us.
2. Mary shows us serving includes suffering.
When Jesus was 40 days old, Mary and Joseph presented him at the temple according to Hebrew law. They met Simeon who was overjoyed at finding the Messiah he’d longed to see.
Turning to Mary alone, Simeon prophesied: “This child is destined to cause the fall and rise of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against…And a sword will pierce your own soul too.”
A sword will pierce your own soul.
Forty days into motherhood and this is what Mary hears.
Hadn’t Gabriel twice told Mary she was highly favored? Wasn’t she chosen and #blessed? When God’s handing out favor and blessing, we all raise our hands. But what if it includes suffering?
Mary shows us that serving God smack dab in the center of His will often means suffering as well.
It’s a pattern repeated all through the Word.
Abraham, the friend of God, suffered.
Joseph, chosen by God to deliver his family and Egypt, suffered.
Moses, who spoke to God face to face as a friend, suffered.
Hannah raised one of Israel’s mightiest prophets and suffered.
David, a man after God’s own heart, suffered.
Peter, whom Jesus renamed the Rock, suffered.
Paul, set apart before birth and caught up in the third heaven, suffered.
John, the disciple whom Jesus loved, suffered.
Why are we surprised by suffering? When life is hard, challenging waits and difficult circumstances?
God’s blessing doesn’t preclude suffering. God’s blessing means He’s with us in it.
3. Mary shows us submission to God.
Jesus’ first miracle was at the request of his mom.
Just after Jesus was baptized in the Jordan, signaling the start of his public ministry, he attended a wedding in Cana. When the wine ran out, with presumably no more wine or no money to get more wine, Mary went to the only One who could provide.
Jesus gave his mom a slight rebuke — this has nothing to do with me, he said, adding that His time had not yet come.
Mary’s didn’t argue, throw a pity party or huff off. She simply turned to the servants and said, “Do whatever he tells you” and then went on.
She’d presented the need. She’d made her request. And she left the results in Jesus’ hands.
What a lesson for us! We give God our need and then walk ahead of Him. We want to make things happen rather than wait or keep holding onto it long after we’ve prayed about it.
We can leave our requests with God trusting God’s answer in God’s timing and in God’s way.
4. Mary shows us salvation in God.
Mary wasn’t just the mother of Jesus. She was a follower of Jesus.
She was one of several women who cared for Jesus in his ministry. She watched Jesus as He was rejected, beaten, mocked, humiliated, stripped and nailed to a cross between criminals. She was at the foot of the cross when Jesus died.
She saw Him taken down, wrapped in linen and placed in a borrowed tomb.
And Mary was one of the first to find that Jesus had risen. At first light on the third day, she and several other women went to the tomb with anointing spices.
Mary, who years before had been visited by the angel telling of the miraculous virgin birth of her son now saw another angel who told of the miraculous resurrection of her son! Do you think she doubted it for one second?
Mary saw God’s power of conception and she now saw God’s power of resurrection and salvation.
Mary is different from the other four women in Jesus’ lineage. Mary was Hebrew. Mary was a virgin. Mary kept the law. She was trusting and faithful and submissive and yet Mary’s name shows us something inescapable:
We all come to salvation the same way.
The scandalous sinner, the flagrant prostitute, the vulnerable outsider, the broken adulterer and the one with a long list of good works.
The good news of Christmas is that Jesus did for us what our best works on our best day can never do.
Jesus took our scandalous sin, redeemed our past, brought us into His family, paid for our sins and set us free from having to earn our way to heaven.
The ground is level at the foot of the cross, said Billy Graham. And added: Once you have been to the cross, you will never be the same.
Four indispensible examples from Mary in Jesus’ lineage.