DEAR REV. GRAHAM: How much do you think Mary understood when Jesus was born? Do you think she realized who He was and what would happen to Him when He grew up? If so, it must have been very difficult for her. —A.C.
Dear A.C.: Mary understood from the beginning that God had chosen her to be the one through whom His Son would be born into the world. The angel's announcement made this clear: "You will be with child and give birth to a son. ... He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High" (Luke 1:31-32).
Did Mary understand what this meant? Did she realize that one day He would be nailed to a cross and shed His blood for our salvation, and then be raised from the dead and ascend into Heaven? The Bible doesn't tell us in detail — but it does suggest that she only gradually realized the full truth.
For example, when Jesus was 12, He became separated from Mary and Joseph during a trip to Jerusalem. Later, they found Him in the Temple listening to the teachers of the Scriptures and asking them questions. He told Mary and Joseph that He needed to be there because it was His Father's house, "But they did not understand what he was saying to them" (Luke 2:50). Surely Mary's heart must have been breaking as she stood at the foot of the cross and watched Him die.
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Learn from Mary what it means to have faith — faith in God's Word, and faith in Jesus Christ as our Savior. Learn too from her what it means to follow Him, even when the future isn't clear and the pathway seems dark.
Ahead was the cross — but also the empty tomb. He was Mary's hope — and ours as well.