God has revealed a new, sweet word this morning.
It concerns Mary.
She’s pretty important to the Christmas story. But I’ve realized that she was more than just a good example of a Christian girl. There’s more to the story.
You see, Mary was the first preacher when Jesus came to earth.
Yes, you heard that right, preacher.
She was chosen to carry the literal Word, and to speak the Word from a place of being filled with God. In every literal and spiritual sense.
This was no accident.
She was chosen to bring the word. To preach it from her womb and from her mouth. And it was a weighty word for not just her day, but for the rest of the days of the followers of Jesus.
Whew, you can be sure that it defied the religious and social construct of that day. Woman couldn’t even sit in the same sections in the churches and religious establishments. There were no Sunday Schools they could teach, no small groups for single women, no legal rights for protection, and no recognition of their voices.
Women were best to be silent and not heard from.
But God — well, he had other plans. And it’s not like it was a new plan. This was his intention from the beginning. There is no male and female before God. We are one and equal in his sight.
But nevertheless, at the time of Mary, her bringing a word and singing the sermon of Magnificat was a defiance to what was proper and acceptable. If it were up to the common order of the day, it should not have made its way into historical canonization and literature.
And it defies our expectations as well.
Because God works from his own order and purpose and he will dethrone the pride of man to bring Himself into the world.
He didn’t come into the world entrusted on the word of a popular, well-traveled, financially supported, experienced Christian male leader who had several books to his name and was featured on many podcasts.
No, no, no. She is not one of those people that we expect to hear a speaker introduction about at a large conference.
“And now I’d like to introduce Mary of Nazareth. She has quite the list of qualifications. She’s never been to school. She doesn’t know how to read or write. She’s single and a virgin, but recently has become pregnant before her marriage. And lastly, she’s at the prime age of 16. Get ready to hear a great word from the Lord!”
Yeah, not likely.
She fell into so many categories that we expect not to hear from:
Funny how we view those groups of women as ones to be helped. We create social programs for them. We help them out of our views that they are weak and powerless. And to some extent, that may be true. These groups can be marginalized and vulnerable due to the abuse of the powerful.
But I’m beginning to understand that those are the people God targets for bringing life-changing truths.
Wouldn’t it take quite the humility of you and me and our church leadership to let the word be brought to us by a single, virgin, pregnant, teenage girl? God literally entrusted THE MOST IMPORTANT MESSAGE to be brought into this world by this woman. Our faith rests upon her faithfulness to do the work she was called to do.
What were the results of her obedience to carry the Word? To name a few:
Jesus being born and saving the world.
The New Testament scriptures.
The starting point of the world calendar.
The Apostles and authors of the New Testament believed her and lifted her up and didn’t leave her out of the story of Jesus. And this was during a time in the world where a woman’s word could not be used as witness in a legal court. She had no legal rights. But these men believed otherwise, for good reason.
Here we go.
To those who are single, or a virgin, or pregnant, or a single mom, or a teenage girl, if God gives you a word to carry and to preach, do it. And do it with authority because you are favored of God. You are not defined by a social, religious construct. Your only expectation is from God.
I get it— it may make sense to even you that God would speak this word through the main pastor or a well-spoken male in your life who has had more experience in leadership. But God obviously doesn’t always work through logical expectations, does he?
To those who are close to a woman who is single, a virgin, pregnant, single mother, or teenage girl, be ready and expectant to hear a word of exhortation. Be willing to be led by her. She may be carrying a word that could literally change your world.
And lastly, to our male Christian leaders, pastors, and teachers, please listen to women who may be single, virgins, pregnant, single moms, or teenagers. If they have a word from the Lord, give them a platform and space to share that. It may feel unusual to have a pregnant woman teaching, or a single woman preaching, or single mom in leadership. But if it didn’t bother God to let Mary bring the word, why does it bother you?
This Christmas, I’m thankful for Mary.
My heart is so glad right now because if God used her to bring a message into the world of hope and freedom and truth at a time when it was heretical to believe a woman and advocacy for gender equality was unheard of, then he certainly can use me.
And all the women around us who are single, virgins, pregnant, single moms, and teenage girls.