In a recent message looking at the birth story of Jesus, my pastor posed an interesting question: “Could you pass the Mary test?” When the angel of the Lord appeared to Mary, most scholars think she was between twelve and fifteen years of age. Even in the current era of moral decline, that’s very early for a young woman to consider being pregnant.
Can you imagine the fear she must have felt at the prospect of being a mother when she was barely in her teens? I don’t think Mary was naïve. I believe at that moment she fully understood the weight of what was being asked of her. And yet, look at the beautiful response of Mary in Luke 1:38. She said, “I am the Lord’s slave. May it be done to me according to your word.”
Mary passed her test with flying colors. She didn’t ask a lot of questions, but simply humbled herself and submitted to the will of God. Think of everything this would have meant for Mary. Her life would, in effect, be over. Joseph would surely cancel the marriage to which she was looking forward, as he would assume she had been unfaithful to him. In that culture, life for divorced, widowed, and unmarried women was harsh. Many had to resort to begging. With no one to protect them, they would be subjected to all kinds of abuse. In an instant, all her hopes and dreams would be dashed. This is the Mary test. Faced with similar consequences, would you accept or turn away?
When we accept Christ today, we face a very similar Mary test. Life as we have known it is over. All our hopes and dreams for success and happiness in this world are smashed to pieces. Instead of a life of honor, we submit to a life of possible ridicule, shame, and persecution. If we commit ourselves to be slaves of Jesus Christ, it’s doubtful we’ll ever be in the “in” crowd. Popularity will not be our lot. We will live our lives for a purpose not understood by most. But here’s the good news. A life of devotion to Christ will have a far-reaching and eternal impact. Instead of finding glory for yourself, you will bring glory to the only One worthy of such honor, Jesus Christ.
The Mary test is hard to pass. It requires absolute humility and devotion to our God and King. Don’t underestimate the gravity of your decision. Your life will end. Your dreams will be cast aside. It may even cost you your life. But here is the most wonderful news: Jesus said if you will lose your life for His sake, you will find it in Him (Matthew 16:24-27). You are trading the temporal for the eternal, mere reflection for brilliant light. If you surrender to Jesus, you will never be the same and you will be glad for that.
Jesus came to give life, not take it away. It is the devil who seeks to destroy your life (1 Peter 5:8), even though his promises might appear to give you everything you want. Jesus came to save you from that trap. Only Christ can give you what your heart truly seeks. Two thousand years ago, Mary passed the test, knowing by giving up everything, she would gain something far better. Two thousand years later, it’s your turn. Will you pass the Mary test? Will you humbly devote yourself and surrender everything to the One who loves you and calls to you? Jesus is waiting for you to come to Him. Surrender your life, give glory to God, and discover life as you have never known it.