We often think of Mary as a mature woman, especially when you read her “Magnificat” or “Song of Praise” in Luke 2:46-55. However, Jewish traditions at the time of Jesus’ birth point to the fact that Mary was probably about 14 years old when she was told by the angel Gabriel that she would give birth to the Savior of the world.
In an age in which not much is expected even out of Christian teenagers, Mary is a wonderful reminder that Middle Schoolers and High Schoolers are capable of a deep relationship with God. If you are a teenager, I pray that this will be a reminder to you to “Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.” (1 Timothy 4:12) If you are a parent or grandparent, remember that much of Mary’s love for and knowledge of God was taught to her in the home, which was the Jewish (Deut. 6:4-9) and is the Christian (Eph. 6:4) God-ordained place of every day discipleship.
As a teenager, Mary put God’s desires for her life above her own desires (Luke 1:26-38). Being surprised one day by the angel Gabriel and being told that she would be pregnant with the Messiah was not in Mary’s plan for her life. This was unimaginably “inconvenient.” Rather than complaining, Mary’s response was, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” (Luke 1:38) God’s will was more important to her than her will. She not only was submissive to God’s will, she joyfully embraced being used to bring God glory (Luke 1:46-55)! God’s will was good news to her.
As a teenager, Mary knew God’s Word and “theology” (Luke 1:46-55). Mary’s spontaneous Song of Praise in response to giving birth to the Messiah is dripping with Scripture references and a deep understanding of God’s plan for redemptive history. She knew and loved both Old Testament Scripture and great truths about God. Mary’s Bible knowledge at the age of 14 reminds us that teenagers who can ace a pre-calculus class can understand and get excited about knowing God better through His living and active Word.
As a teenager, Mary knew she needed God’s grace in Christ (Luke 1:47, 1:50). I don’t put Mary out as an example to make you simply feel bad as a teenager or as a parent. Mary is a stunning example of a teenager who loves God, but she also knew she was a sinner who needed God to save her. “…My spirit rejoices in God my Savior…” The long-awaited Messiah that she now knew she would raise from infancy would show her and other believers God’s grace (Luke 1:54-55). Mary spoke of the same grace that is offered to you today, if you will turn to Jesus and say, “I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.”