Mary: Woman of Influence
“When Joseph and Mary had done everything required by the Law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee to their own town of Nazareth.” –Luke 2:39
As every mother and father knows, it’s one thing to birth a child; another to parent one. Other than the story of Jesus being accidentally left at the temple as a boy after Passover, we don’t read much in Scripture about His childhood. And only occasionally do we read about Mary’s involvement in Jesus’ life. But one verse at the end of Luke’s second chapter opens a window into Mary’s soul: “But His mother treasured all these things in her heart” (Luke 2:51b).
How many of us mothers and fathers have picture after picture of our child’s growth through the years? Some of us have even kept or are currently keeping journals. In cleaning out my mother’s house I found a large envelope stuffed with clippings about things I’ve done. It’s only natural to want to save those precious memories, isn’t it? And Mary, it seems, is no different.
But Mary also had the responsibility to “train a child in the way he should go…” (Prov. 22:5). Her husband Joseph, who was known according to Matthew’s Gospel as a “righteous man,” would have contributed by teaching Jesus the Torah (the first five books of the Bible). But it’s in Mary’s Magnificat that we find the central themes of Jesus’ mission. And if it’s true that we learn much of what we learn from our parents, what role do you think Mary had in teaching Jesus these things?
The real Mary, says Biblical scholar Scot McKnight, was a “woman of influence” not only in her son’s life but later, after His death and resurrection, in the early church. In the book of Acts, also written by Luke, we see Mary joining with the disciples constantly in prayer and fellowship. What she predicted in her Magnificat, that “He has filled the hungry with good things…” came to pass in the community life of the early Christians.
As we begin a new year, let us purpose in our hearts to be people of influence, too. May we recommit ourselves to “act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with our God” (Micah 6:8). There’s a lost and dying world just waiting for an encounter with the living God. And if you and I are willing, He will surely use us to bring it to pass!
Happy New Year, dear friends!