Seriously, we do call Mary the Mother of God because she bore Jesus who was both the Son of God and thus God of God and the Son of Mary. But as far as Mary was concerned, she was just a humble servant. In fact she is a perfect example of the Biblical axiom, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble” (1 Peter 5:5).
If the world was looking for someone to be the mother of God, they would not have gone looking for a servant girl from a remote village, of which people said, “Can anything good come from Nazareth.” The world flocks around the rich and famous, the beautiful and talented. God, on the other hand, is far above all and He only looks down to find the lowliest among us. That was the mother of God. In fact, she herself recognized her own need for the Savior. She sings in verse 47, “…my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.” Mary did not think of herself above anyone. She was simply a young woman who needed to be saved. In our modern world sometimes women despise the idea of being the “damsel in distress.” They want to be as strong and assertive as men. But we have gotten it all backwards. God is not looking for strong and assertive women; He is looking for meek and humble men and women. Since the Church is pictured in the New Testament as the Bride of Christ, men and women both need to see themselves in submission to Him. How are you doing in that department? In verse 38, Mary said to the angel who had announced the miracle of the virgin birth to her, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” Have we said that to Jesus?
This kind of humility is not something that is an optional attitude for Christians; without it no one is a Christian. The Bible says in Psalm 138:6, “For though the LORD is high, he regards the lowly, but the haughty he knows from afar.” For example, the person who says, “I can do whatever I want with my body,” is not speaking as a Christian would speak and may not even be one. He or she would be one that the Lord only looks at from a distance, like that Bette Midler song, God is Watching Us from a Distance. But God doesn’t want to watch us from a distance; He wants to have an up close and personal relationship with each one of us, but the only way that is possible is if we realize like Mary our “humble estate.”
Again we look to the Mother of God who sings in verse 50, “And his mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation.” Even in the Church we hear very little about the fear of God, yet the Mother of God says that God’s mercy is for those who fear Him. Whenever God showed up in the Bible people’s first reaction was usually to have the pajeebees scared off of them. He often has to say, “Fear not.” There are some churches who believe that we should no longer teach the fear of the Lord. They think that it is an antiquated, no longer useful, doctrine. God is love, they say, and we must always keep that at the forefront of the Church’s teaching. It is true that God is love and when human beings were living in Paradise that was all they knew. But once sin came into the world, the Bible is very clear that God was deeply wounded precisely because He is love and His holiness and His justice were stirred. The stories of Noah’s flood, Sodom and Gomorrah, the driving out of the Canaanites by Israel and many other Biblical passages express God’s holiness and justice. Lest we think that this is only the God of the Old Testament, all we need to do is read the last book of the New Testament, Revelation. Talk about scary!
In fact, one of the signs of unbelief is lack of the fear of the Lord. In describing man outside of Christ the Bible says in Romans 3:18, “There is no fear of God before their eyes.” It is fine for them to say they don’t fear God now, when they are not facing the judgment seat of Christ, but if they do not fear Him now, they will be terrified of Him then. So the Mother of God teaches us the fear of the Lord. When the angel first approached her she was terrified but in verse 30 we read, “And the angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.’” The fear made the favor all the more sweet.
Fear of the Lord and humility before Him, the two marks of Mary, are intimately connected. Mary was not looking to be “liberated” from her humble estate; it was in that humble estate that she became the Mother of God. She sings in verse 52, “he has brought down the mighty from their thrones and exalted those of humble estate.” For those, like Mary, who are alarmed over their sins, who recognize their humble position before the Almighty God, there is wonderful news. They too will hear the same words of the Angel to Mary, “you have found favor with God.” It’s not that our humility earns God’s favor; but it is the only way to receive it.
Mary put it this way in verse 54, “He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy.” Israel had been waiting for the Messiah for a long time, actually ever since the fall when God told the serpent that someday the seed of the woman would crush his head though in the process His heel would be wounded. But when He came most of Israel did not recognize Him and they condemned Him to death. When Pilate said that he was innocent of this man’s blood, the people replied, “His blood be on us and on our children” (Matthew 27:25)! They did not know how true their words were, but not just for them, but especially for every sinner who repents and believes this Good News. The blood of Jesus washes away all our sins.