by Ruth E. Zuelsdorf
An Outstanding Example of Christian Womanhood
Mary, the mother of our Lord Jesus, will no doubt be remembered by more people and more generations than any woman of this century.
Many famous poets, writers, musicians, sculptors, and painters have sought to capture Mary’s loveliness. All of these portrayals are products of their imagination and their knowledge of the Scriptures.
Mary is an outstanding example for Christian womanhood. From the annunciation of the coming birth to the crucifixion of her beloved Son, Mary showed strength, fortitude, and wisdom.
This obscure peasant girl believed the words of the angel Gabriel and humbly accepted the responsibility God chose to place upon her. She courageously faced the problems of her forthcoming motherhood and marriage.
The need for strength only began with the Annunciation. Mary needed continual divine guidance to live in accordance with God’s will.
Should she and her Child seek a place of prominence in a world dominated by Roman rule? As the mother of creation’s King and the world’s Savior, did she not have a right to insist on fine clothing for herself? Could she not demand a beautiful home in which to rear the Child? These thoughts may have gone through Mary’s mind a dozen times a day as she pondered all things in her heart.
But God knew the answers. God would provide the strength she needed, for He had chosen Mary.
God knew that she would mother His Son with gentleness and tenderness; that she would guide Him in the knowledge of the Law and the Prophets and the religious customs of His people; and that she would remain in the background when He began His ministry in the world.
Mary no doubt experienced the heartaches of motherhood in rearing her Son. She watched over the infant Christ Child as the shepherds from the fields bowed down in humble adoration before Him.
She nestled the Little One in her arms as the Wise Men from the East fell down on their knees in complete surrender to Him.
In obedience to the Law of Moses she and Joseph had the Child circumcised on the eighth day of His life.
She agreed with Joseph to name her son “Jesus” because Gabriel had foretold the Baby’s name at the annunciation and had later confirmed it with Joseph through a dream.
Mary submitted to the rite of purification in the temple in Jerusalem so that again the Jewish laws would be fulfilled.
In the temple she and Joseph met Simeon and Anna. These devout persons recognized the Christ Child as their Lord and Savior and testified of their faith.
Mary was a cautious mother. When danger threatened her Baby’s life, she and Joseph fled with Him into Egypt.
After returning to Nazareth, Mary guided the young Child in His formative years and experienced the usual maternal problems of home and family.
After the visit to the temple with her 12-year-old Son, Mary realized more clearly His deity. She took her place in the background of His life. She was ready to help Him, if needed, but never pressed herself into the forefront of His work.
Mary enjoyed His companionship, as shown at the wedding in Cana. She displayed concern for His well-being when He worked long hours without rest.
Mary, the sorrowing mother, was with her Son when He hung on the cross. The love she had lavished upon Him in His lifetime Jesus rewarded from the cross by commending her to the care of John, the disciple He loved.
Though tradition says much about Mary after the death and resurrection of Christ, the Bible gives us but one more glimpse of her. The scene is an upper room in Jerusalem, where the apostles were gathered. “These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication with the women and Mary, the mother of Jesus” (Acts 1:14).
Mary was there, not to receive homage or adoration but to worship with those who believed in the Lord Jesus Christ as the Son of God and Savior from sin.
There the Bible leaves her–an example of faith and humility, wisdom and courage, obedience and service for every Christian woman.
Reprinted from the May 3, 1960, Lutheran Witness. LCMS congregations may reprint for parish use. All other rights reserved.