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  • Writer's pictureDavid and Marilynn Chadwick

Hidden Heroes: Mary, Unlikely Mother of God

by Marilynn Chadwick

“I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled” (Luke 1:38 NIV).


For centuries, Jewish women throughout ancient Israel wondered who would be given the glorious honor of giving birth to the long-awaited Messiah. No one could have imagined a young peasant teenager named Mary would be the chosen vessel for God to enter earthly history—God in human flesh.

The angel Gabriel visited this ordinary young teen in the unlikely town of Nazareth with astounding news: “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.” Mary was understandably troubled and bewildered. But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus” (Luke 1:28-31).

“How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?” The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God” (Luke 1:34-35). The angel also tells Mary that her cousin Elizabeth, who had long been barren, would soon have a child in her old age.

News of Elizabeth’s miracle must have been reassuring to Mary—especially when coupled with Gabriel’s next promise: “For no word from God will ever fail” (Luke 1:37). No one knows how long this angelic encounter lasted. But at the end of Gabriel’s proclamation, the fifteen-year-old teenager uttered words that must have reverberated throughout the universe: “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her (Luke 1:38).

Mary hurried to the hill country of Judea to visit Elizabeth. At the sound of Mary’s greeting, Elizabeth gave a glad cry and with a loud voice exclaimed, “God has blessed you above all women, and your child is blessed” (Luke 1:42). Mary responded with a song of worship which has been spoken of throughout the centuries as The Magnificat (Luke 1:46-48). Mary continued to praise God for his wonderful works (Luke 1:50-52 NIV).

Mary’s song whispers an ancient echo of Hannah’s joyful song after she gave birth to the prophet Samuel after years of barrenness. Hannah recognized God as the mighty deliverer who gives victory. “My mouth derides my enemies, because I rejoice in my victory” (1 Sam 2:1). Hannah extolls the God who breaks “the bows of the mighty” and “enables the feeble to gird on strength” (1 Sam 2:4). Mary and Hannah both praise God for removing power from the arrogant and extending it to the poor. Mary reflects on her blessing as spanning “generation to generation” (Luke 1:50). I wonder if she perceived the mysterious covenant thread of God’s salvation plan stretching all the way back to ancient Israel.

Today, let’s reflect on this ordinary teenager selected by the Most High God to bear the Christ Child. And how the beloved mother of Jesus declared words of faith that ignited God’s Salvation plan on earth: “Be it unto me according to thy word” (Luke 1:38 KJV). Elizabeth blessed Mary with this beautiful benediction: “Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her” (Luke 1:45).

May we learn from the simple faith of a young Hebrew peasant girl—and dare to believe God will fulfill all his promises!

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