With Christmas just behind us, I have been thinking a lot about the story of Jesus’ birth. I have especially been thinking about His parents, Mary and Joseph. What a wild surprise when they learned that they would be the parents of the Messiah! I can’t even begin to imagine the anxiety, stress, complications, but also peace they experienced during Mary’s pregnancy, and even after!
This year while my family was reading the Christmas story (as we do every year) something new caught my eye.
Mary was the first to get the inside scoop from the angel. Joseph was second.
If husbands are called to be the leader and the authority in the family, why did God send the angel to Mary first to give the biggest news in the history of the world?
Not only did God choose to tell Mary the big news first, He didn’t even send a personal messenger to Joseph until Joseph began planning to “leave her quietly.”
When people tell me that God designed marriage for the man to lead and the wife to submit, I’m always left feeling a little puzzled. When I look at the Bible I see quite the opposite. If we look at the marriage of Abraham and Sarah, we see a beautiful picture of mutual respect. In Genesis 16:2, it says that “Abram obeyed the voice of Sarai.” In the book of 1 Samuel, we see Abigail deliberately going behind her husband’s back to save their family, and David calls her “blessed” for it. In the book of Esther, we see Esther breaking her husbands law to save an entire population. Finally, even though this isn’t within the marriage context, in John 2 we see Mary, Jesus’ mother, leading Jesus in His first miracle.
You can nit pick at all of the examples above, but the truth will stand. When God looks at us, He doesn’t see men who lead and women who submit. When God looks at us, He sees His beloved children who are redeemed through Jesus Christ.
“For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7