Monday, May 28, 2012

Mary, the teenager


Would you trust a teenager to be part of the salvation plan for humanity? Would you entrust a teenager with raising a king? Would you think that a teenager would be mature enough or spiritual enough to carry the Son of God in her womb? I don't know about you, but I would not. And yet, God chose Mary, the teenager.

The Bible does not state how old Mary was when she conceived Jesus by the Holy Spirit, but according to the tradition of those days, girls would be given to marriage very early in their lives, and most believe that Mary would have been no older than 17 years old at the time the Angel spoke to her.

It is hard to see through the cultural differences, understand how mature a Jewish teenager girl would have been during the time Jesus was born, but one thing is for sure, a 14 years old girl at that time meant that she had lived 14 years, the same for a 14 years old today. So how does a teenager is said by the angel "for you have found favor with God"? Luke 1:30. I remember another man to whom the same is said: Noah "But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord" Gen 6:8. And how is Noah described? "Noah was a just man, perfect in his generations, Noah walked with God" Gen 6:9.

We have a tendency in our culture to give free pass for teenagers to have fun, enjoy life, spend time with friends and pursue their own interests. There is nothing wrong in itself with those things, but sometimes I wonder if instead of a maturing age, teenager years have become a free pass to be immature. God chose a teenager to receive the most beautiful news any ear could have heard "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". Luke 1:31-33.

All the prophets and kings in the Old Testament would have given anything to listen to such words. And yet, God did not chose a prophet, a priest or a king to hear them. God chose a teenager. Why? Mary understood why. She says "My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior. For He has regarded the lowly state of His maidservant... He has put down the mighty from their thrones and exalted the lowly" Luke 1:47-52. Because all glory goes to God. He chooses the humble, the maidservants, the lowly, the hungry and the poor. "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, toward men of goodwill (or those on whom His favor rests)" Luke 2:14.

Mary's response shows that she had faith in what God was doing in her life. She did not understand everything, she probably was fearing the shame of being pregnant before being married, and the risk of losing Joseph, but she answers "Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word". Luke 1:38 Mary was not holy, or a human being with special powers. She was a teenager girl living inside a society that treated women as an inferior gender. But she was ready to be part of God's plan.

What about you? Are you a teenager? Are you overwhelmed by so many pressures from society and from your friends and family? Do you feel that there are so many different messages being told to you every day? Some say that the most important thing you can have right now is the approval of your friends, some say that it is the way you look, the boyfriend you can get, how academically advanced you are or how good at sports you can achieve. What does God has to say? "Remember now your Creator in the days of your youth, before the difficult days come, and the years draw near when you say, I have no pleasure in them" Eccl 12:1. "Flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart" 2 Tim 2:22.

Do you want a pure heart? First ask Jesus to change your heart, with His love, with the work of love He did at the cross for you. It does not matter what everybody else says: your friends, the cool magazines, the Hollywood stars, the boyfriend. In 100 years they will all be gone. What they think does not matter when you place things in perspective. But Jesus is telling you like the angel told Mary: "Do not be afraid.... For with God nothing will be impossible" Luke 1:30, 37. He wants to hold your hand. He wants to make your heart mature and to be like His. He wants to show you that you are not "just" a teenager, you are blessed, for "Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered; blessed is the man (or teenager girl) to whom the Lord shall not impute sin" Rom 4:7-8.

Are you ready to say "Let it be to me according to your word"? Are you ready to let Jesus take the wheels of your life?

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