You can tell a lot about a person by who surrounds them. Jesus was surrounded by both men and women, and the women around him were faithful friends. He was encircled by women who knew him, who learned from him, who raised him, and who trusted him. These women followed and sacrificed, they cried out and asked questions, they believed and did the unbelievable. These women were ordinary but made extraordinary by Jesus. He lifted them up, raised up their voices, healed their bodies, and placed upon them value, worth, and authority. He loved these women, and he loves you. Each of these women was uniquely created and called to a specific purpose in the life of Jesus as well as for the sake of those in their communities and even for us today.
Through the Eyes of Women
For nothing will be impossible with God.” And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.
Watch Session One: Jesus Equips the Ordinary
First among these women was Mary, Jesus’s mother. Mary, who had no accolades or family line. Mary, whose identity was “highly favored.” In Luke 1, Zechariah, Elizabeth, and Joseph are all given identities that have to do with their family names as well as their character and social situations. Mary is simply called “highly favored” or “favored one”—twice (Luke 1:28, 30)! Mary’s identity is repeated as she receives the news that she will carry the Son of the Most High. Mary saw her identity through the eyes of God. As the angel repeated her identity to her, so we often need our identity repeated to us: beloved, delighted in, created in God’s image and so much more.
As Mary was strengthened in identity and rich in faith, she chose surrender to God (Luke 1:46–55). She said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word” (Luke 1:38). She chose surrender and trust. She believed that whatever God said, God would do. The surrender is found in “let it be” and the trust is found in “according to your word.” She trusted who God said he was, and she trusted that God would fulfill his Word. Mary had a humble confidence. Like Mary, our surrender is rooted in believing God’s Word. Do we know and believe God’s words to us?
Mary’s identity was grounded in how God saw her. Yours is the same. How does God see you? What does God call you? Do you hear it? Can you see it? God’s Word says many things about you and your name. The psalmist talked about how his soul knew God’s works were wonderful (Psalm 139:13–14). How about you? Does your soul know that God’s works are wonderful? Or do you use different names for yourself? Names that shame. Names that turn you in on yourself. Names that destroy you from the inside out.
Mary’s identity was grounded in how God saw her. Yours is the same. How does God see you?
What names do you use to identify yourself? If there are names that aren’t from God, ask him to replace those names with truth so you might know your name and be able to respond to him with the humble confidence of Mary.
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