Imagine with me tonight a young, teenage girl. Her name is Mary and she does not come from a privileged family. She is engaged to a young man named Joseph. She is ordinary just like you and me. I am sure she thinks Joseph is the man of her dreams. I am not sure man is the correct term here, for he is merely a boy by our standards. One boy, one girl, so used of God...
Luke 1:26-38 & 46-55
26And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth,
27To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary.
28And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.
29And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be.
30And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God.
31And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS.
32He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David:
33And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.
34Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?
35And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.
36And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren.
37For with God nothing shall be impossible.
38And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.
46And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord,
47And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.
48For he hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden: for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.
49For he that is mighty hath done to me great things; and holy is his name.
50And his mercy is on them that fear him from generation to generation.
51He hath shewed strength with his arm; he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.
52He hath put down the mighty from their seats, and exalted them of low degree.
53He hath filled the hungry with good things; and the rich he hath sent empty away.
54He hath helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy;
55As he spake to our fathers, to Abraham, and to his seed for ever.
Can you even begin to imagine Mary telling her parents, friends, Joseph...that she is pregnant? She is a virgin, with child. Can you imagine the disgrace that this brought to her? Can you imagine the grace with which she handled such a situation? She knew that she was carrying our Lord in her belly. She knew that the child in which she carried was born to die. She could only imagine the heartache that she would know as the mother of a perfect, sinless man that would be scorned, ridiculed, murdered...
She knew He was born to die but she carried Him...she loved Him...she delivered Him.
4And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)
5To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.
6And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.
7And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.
She delivered him in a stable with no medication for pain. Can you imagine the love of that mother the first time she layed eyes on her precious son. It did not matter at that moment where she was. I often wonder about the first time Mary felt Jesus move in her belly. I wonder if Jesus got hiccups in him mama's tummy. I wonder how far along Mary was the first time she felt that tiny little baby squirm in her belly. I wonder if He was an active baby. Did he move a lot or a little? I wonder what types of foods Mary craved when she was pregnant. I wonder what she talked to her baby about while she carried him. Did she tell him she knew he was born to die?
26Then released he Barabbas unto them: and when he had scourged Jesus, he delivered him to be crucified.
27Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the common hall, and gathered unto him the whole band of soldiers.
28And they stripped him, and put on him a scarlet robe.
29And when they had platted a crown of thorns, they put it upon his head, and a reed in his right hand: and they bowed the knee before him, and mocked him, saying, Hail, King of the Jews!
30And they spit upon him, and took the reed, and smote him on the head.
31And after that they had mocked him, they took the robe off from him, and put his own raiment on him, and led him away to crucify him.
32And as they came out, they found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name: him they compelled to bear his cross.
33And when they were come unto a place called Golgotha, that is to say, a place of a skull,
34They gave him vinegar to drink mingled with gall: and when he had tasted thereof, he would not drink.
35And they crucified him, and parted his garments, casting lots: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, They parted my garments among them, and upon my vesture did they cast lots.
36And sitting down they watched him there;
37And set up over his head his accusation written, THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS.
38Then were there two thieves crucified with him, one on the right hand, and another on the left.
39And they that passed by reviled him, wagging their heads,
40And saying, Thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days, save thyself. If thou be the Son of God, come down from the cross.
41Likewise also the chief priests mocking him, with the scribes and elders, said,
42He saved others; himself he cannot save. If he be the King of Israel, let him now come down from the cross, and we will believe him.
43He trusted in God; let him deliver him now, if he will have him: for he said, I am the Son of God.
44The thieves also, which were crucified with him, cast the same in his teeth.
45Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour.
46And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?
47Some of them that stood there, when they heard that, said, This man calleth for Elias.
48And straightway one of them ran, and took a spunge, and filled it with vinegar, and put it on a reed, and gave him to drink.
49The rest said, Let be, let us see whether Elias will come to save him.
50Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost.
He was born to die. He was born to die for you...for me...for our sins. He was born to die that we might have life eternal. Mary watched as her son was spit on, stripped, and made to wear a crown of thorns. Mary watched her son die. She knew when she carried him in her womb that this would be His life. Yet, she chose to carry Him. She was chosen to carry Him. Mary, a poor, scared, frightened, brave, young girl was chosen to carry Him. She looked on as her son was beaten, mocked, and died. What hope did she have?
1In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre.
2And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it.
3His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow:
4And for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men.
5And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified.
6He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.
Mary was not without hope. For as her Son died, He also arose.
Never before have I been able to truly imagine Mary's heartache. Because of Eli's life and death, I have a completely different perspective this Easter. I knew as I carried Eli in my belly that he would be born to die. Not for the same reason that Jesus was born to die of course. I am in no way comparing Eli with Jesus. Mary knew from the beginning, conception...that her Son's life on earth would be brief. I knew from 20 weeks that my son's life would be brief. I now know the heartache of seeing a child pass from this earth too soon. I only wished that I had the grace Mary exhibited. I absolutely believe that Mary grieved Jesus' death. How could she not...She was human. Although she carried and raised a sinless child, she was like you and me. She willingly, lovingly, and obediently gave her body and life to be used of God. It is hard to fathom that.
From the moment I knew I had a baby in my belly, I loved it. God chose Jamie and I to love Eli. He chose me to carry him in my belly. He chose us to be his parents. We do not know the reason Eli was sent so briefly. I do know that while he was here he blessed my life so tremendously. I could not even begin to imagine not carrying him. What joy I would have missed...I am so thankful that God chose us to love Eli. I miss him terribly. I long to hold that sweet little baby in my arms. I feel like a part of me has been ripped to shreds. Did Mary feel this way?
Because God sent his Son to earth, I am not without hope...
I will hold my son again.