Mary: Obedience in Crisis
Matthew 2:13- 17
In the first few two chapters of Matthew and Luke, it's established pretty quickly that Mary's pregnancy and delivery of Jesus wasn't ideal and a picture perfect scene from What to Expect When You're Expecting. There was a lot of unexpected bumps in the road, and Mary's character is displayed. She was a strong woman who was super confident and so sold out for whatever God's plan was. Her fiance, Joseph, was also a super solid guy who loved the Lord and was also all int for raising Jesus, whatever that was going to look like for him and Mary.
In Luke and Matthew chapter 2, a lot goes down really quickly. Mary and Joseph are in Bethlehem to register for a census, and Mary goes into labor without a place to stay. They were short on options, so Mary delivered Jesus in a super unconventional space, and his first crib was definitely not from her Babies-R-Us gift registry. Meanwhile, an angel of Lord was stopping by to announce the birth to some shepherds tending their flocks. Then, a chorus of angels came to the shepherds praising God, and the shepherds proceeded to find Mary, Joseph, and the new baby, and they started telling everyone what they had seen and heard. While all of this was happening, a star appeared in the sky to celebrate the birth of Messiah. There were a group of magi, who we all learned in sunday school were the infamous "three wise men", which was basically the biggest heretical issue you probably learned as a five year old, because there's no indication in the Bible as to how many magi there were, and they definitely didn't arrive to see Jesus the night of his birth. [This magi thing drives me a little bit bananas, it's like a whole deal. 🤦] The magi were very skilled magicians and astrologers from Persia, so when they saw the star, they were really into it. They traveled to find the King of the Jews, but when they arrived in Jerusalem, the king of the region at the time was not into the news that a baby, who would be king, had been born. King Herod had some really serious narcissistic issues, and he wanted to find Jesus to knock out any future competition. He sent off the magi to find Jesus and told them to report back when they found him. The wise men found Jesus, they worshipped Him, and they gifted him very expensive and symbolic gifts for a King. God sent an angel to visit the wise men and Joseph in dreams to let them know that Herod was bad news and the magi needed to get out without a peep and Mary and Joseph needed to get out of Jerusalem and into Egypt ASAP.
To me, this is a really important part of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph's story. They were forced to flee in the middle of the night to save their lives from Herod's killing spree that was about to happen, targeting all baby boys up to two years old. Jesus's family was, by all definitions, a refugee family. The family didn't even head back to Israel until Herod died, and they moved to Nazareth to stay off anyone's radar.
I've said this a million times about the journey that Mary was on during these first few years, but this is a lottt to swallow.
If there's one thing I know about crisis, it's really difficult to be obedient when it's all going down. In the middle of crazy whirlwinds, I have a terrible tendency to freeze up and over think literally everything that's humanly possible to overthink. My natural reaction is to find a couch, turn off all the lights, out on giant sweatpants, eat all the Ben and Jerry's that I can get my hands off, and binge watch Pretty Little Liars and Pinterest my dream wedding. I need one million years to make a decision, especially when it's a crisis.
Mary had no time to freeze up and shut the world out. She was a new mom who got woken up in the middle of the night by her husband, telling her they had to run because someone was trying to kill their baby, the Savior of the world.
I'm sure at this point Mary was really ready for all of the wild scenarios to be over. She finally had her baby, she was offically married to Joseph, and it was time to start motherhood. Biblical scholars think that the magi got to Jesus around the time that He was 2, so there was a little bit of cool down time before this happened.
Mary got the word from Joseph about the dream he had from God, and she had to get up, throw her hair in a bun, and get on the road to Egypt with her toddler. Moving internationally is not an easy thing, especially being a parent with the stress and fear this couple had for their child's life. It's also not an easy thing to travel by foot to another country with a toddler.
All of this to say, this was a serious, serious crisis, and it's very hard to be obedient when you feel like the ground is being pulled from under you. It's so clear in the Biblical evidence leading up to this point what grounded and godly person Mary was. Mary had trusted God when she found about her pregnancy, when Joseph didn't believe her story, when she had to travel late in her pregnancy, and she was obedient to God in all of these things. Mary knew that even when the sky was falling down around her, if she was obedient to the Lord, he was going to take care of all of her needs. Obedience in trials is one of the hardest things to keep, but even though you're headed head first into the dark, it's not dark on God's end. Mary was, above all things, dedicated to serving the Lord with her life. This was another time in her life that she would look back on and realize how faithful God was.
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