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Mary Elizabeth Baxter :: Mary and the Child Jesus. Part 1—Luke 2:1-20 & Matthew 2.

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MARY AND THE CHILD JESUS.


God had provided a protector for His child who yielded herself so unreservedly to Him. Joseph became legally Mary's huband, but in the wondrous destiny to which she was called, many difficulties may have risen in the mind of the Jewish maiden. Christ must be born in Bethlehem. Joseph's home was in Nazareth. How would God bring about that the birth of His Son should be in the city of the prophecy?

All was known to God beforehand, and all was pre‐arranged. Mary had nothing to do but to be still. God "worketh all things according to the counsel of His own will." (Eph 1:2.) Just in those very days of crisis, a proclamation was made that throughout the whole Roman world, including all tributary countries, such as Palestine, a universal census should take place; and every head of a family had to appear in the city of his birth, to be enrolled according to his pedigree. This led Joseph and Mary-both descended from David, the one from Solomon, and the other from Nathan, sons of David-to Bethlehem, David's city. While there, "the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her first‐born Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling clothes, and laid Him in a manger: because there was no room for them in the inn."

Truly, the world knew Him not; truly, Mary, who had sacrificed all she was and all she had for her coming Messiah, began already to taste the fellowship of His sufferings. Never had there been a birth of such moment as the birth of the Son of God, yet never was there one less marked by man when it took place. Many rejoiced in the birth of John the Baptist; the world was asleep when Jesus was born. It was more than possible that Mary's faith may have been tried by the little notice it occasioned. But while earth was indifferent, heaven was all astir.

SILENT WAITING.

While Mary, in her silence, alone in the stable, was pondering over God's great purpose in sending the Messiah to save His people from their sins, just a mile or two away the whole heaven was filled with angels, and a few shepherds were holding wondrous communion with the unseen world, and learning the greatness of the event which had happened in the eyes of God and of those who lived in His presence.

It was not long before these shepherds "came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger." Now Mary began to reap the fruit of her faith in God. He sent her believing souls just fresh from the presence of the angels, who related what they had seen and what had been spoken by the heavenly host, and she knew that her little Babe who was foretold to be the Son of God was indeed "a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord," a Saviour who should bring glory to God in the highest, "and on earth peace, good will toward men." Yet Mary waited while the indifferent, unconscious world went on as usual. She had no power to make men know how much the birth of her Son affected them!

The shepherds went to tell others the things that they had seen and heard, but Mary proclaimed nothing. She "kept all these things and pondered them in her heart." She was not called to be a herald, but a listener, and "a living sacrifice." She took in the thoughts which God revealed to her, and she was always responsive to her God who spoke to her. But Mary had less to do with man than many of God's children.

An active, bustling woman could not have served God's purpose as the mother of the Messiah.

But other visitors broke in upon her solitude. After the visit of the shepherds, there came wise men from the East to Jerusalem to inquire for Him who was "born King of the Jews." (Mat 2:2.) Guided by the scribes of the people, who knew the letter of the prophecy, they were directed to Bethlehem by Herod the king, who "was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him" at announcement of the birth of Jesus. He said,

"Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found Him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship Him also."

Happily, the wise men had another guide, an unfailing one, a star which shone from heaven, and which, when they got out of the atmosphere of Jerusalem and of Herod, went again before them "until it came and stood over where the young child was."

TAUGHT OF GOD

as were the shepherds, these wise men saw nothing in the surroundings of the young child to stumble their faith; they saw things in the light of the revelation of their God. They fell down and worshipped Him; and when they opened their treasures they presented unto Him gifts; "gold"-as the offering to a king-"and frankincense"-in acknowledgment that He was God-"and myrrh"-as a token that He should die.

If Mary's faith had been deepened and strengthened by the visit of the shepherds, it would be much more enlarged by the visit of the wise men. She was beginning to learn more and more that the things of God are not received by man, that God's thoughts are not as our thoughts, that that which is great in His eyes is not valued by the world, "and that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God." She had learnt that to have the highest honour which God could put upon her meant a total renunciation of earthly prestige; she must be nothing and nobody; that even the Messiah, who was her Son, must be nothing and nobody until the moment should come that God should make Him known.

It is a moment of crisis in every life when this lesson is truly learnt and when the last hold on the approbation of the world and the understanding of friends is yielded, and God becomes All in all.

The wise men were warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, and "they departed into their own country another way."

But God had a communication for Joseph and Mary too. The angel of the Lord said to Joseph in a dream:

"Arise and take the young child and His mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy Him."

Joseph's business connections were all probably in Galilee. "Go into Egypt" meant the establishment of quite new business relations. It was expensive, it was inconvenient, it was no doubt a trial to Mary, but she had said: "Behold the handmaid of the Lord,

BE IT UNTO ME EVEN AS THOU WILT."

And this yielding of herself to God was not for a day, but for ever! It meant: Whatever Thou wilt, whenever Thou wilt, and however Thou wilt in all things. A consecration of one's self in a holiness meeting means very little unless in every detail of life we can yield to our God, and say to Him: "All right, Lord," whatsoever happens.

The diabolical action of Herod in causing the little children of Bethlehem to be slain took place during the absence of the family of Joseph, and it was only when they were warned again from heaven that they came back to Nazareth, and dwelt there as before. Thus this little family lived and worked according to the recognised direction of God. Very little is told us of Mary at this time, except the repeated declaration that she pondered or kept these things in her heart. She was ever taking in from her God all which happened, and He found in her a heart which waited on and trusted Him.

CONTENT DISCLAIMER:

The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.

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