A Lesson from Mary

by Greg Laurie on Dec 5, 2023
Instead, God chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. And he chose things that are powerless to shame those who are powerful.
—1 Corinthians 1:27

There are a lot of misperceptions about Mary. On one hand, people place her on a pedestal. And on the other hand, she is ignored and misunderstood. But Mary was a godly person living in a godless place.

And she showed us that it’s possible for someone to live a godly life even while living in the midst of an ungodly environment. Mary lived in Nazareth, which, for the most part, was not a popular destination.

God could have chosen someone from Rome to bear the Messiah. After all, Rome was ruling most of the world at that time. God could have chosen someone from Jerusalem, the spiritual capital of the world. Or, God could have chosen someone from Athens, the intellectual and cultural capital of the world.

But God didn’t choose someone from any of these places. Instead, He chose a young woman who was living in Nazareth.

Roman soldiers overran Nazareth, an obscure place known for its wickedness. That is why Nathanael, when he heard that Jesus was from Nazareth, said, “Can anything good come from Nazareth?” (John 1:46 NLT).

Yet God chose Mary and this obscure place to accomplish His purpose. He chose an unknown teenager living in an unknown place to bring about the most known event in human history: the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ.

It seems that God goes out of His way to choose the most unexpected people to accomplish His plans. The Bible is filled with examples of the most ordinary individuals being chosen by God to do the most extraordinary things.

Mary was genuinely humble. She was surprised when the angel Gabriel appeared to her and said, “Don’t be afraid, Mary, . . . for you have found favor with God! You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David” (Luke 1:30–32 NLT).

When we think of certain men and women of the Bible, we see them in their greatness because of what God did. But remember, when God called David, he was a shepherd boy whose father didn’t even acknowledge him. Yet God instructed the prophet Samuel to anoint David as the next king of Israel.

When God chose Gideon, he was hiding from his enemies. And when God called Simon Peter, he was out catching fish. But the Lord raised him up to be one of the great apostles. And God chose Mary to bring about the arrival of the Messiah.

The apostle Paul wrote, “Remember, dear brothers and sisters, that few of you were wise in the world’s eyes or powerful or wealthy when God called you. Instead, God chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. And he chose things that are powerless to shame those who are powerful” (1 Corinthians 1:26–27 NLT).

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