We want to look at Miriam. You may know her as Mary. I want to take a closer look at the Scriptures to see what the Scriptures tell us about her versus the legend which she has become. Many of the views of the Catholic Church regarding Mary only go back as far as the 19th and 20th centuries, so they are rather new. But is this how Miriam would have wanted her legacy to be told?
The Appearance of the Angel
Miriam was a devout Jewish girl from the tribe of Judah. Luke tells us in chapter one that in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to the city of Nazareth. The sixth month would be the month of Elul, which is August-September on our calendar. He was sent to a virgin engaged to a man named Joseph. The angel began his dialogue with “Hail, favored one.” Hail, chairo in the Greek, means “cheer, rejoice, be glad;” in other words, it would be the same as us saying hello. “Hello, favored one! The Lord is with you.” She pondered in her fear what was this all about. Any one of us would be wondering the same thing if suddenly an angel appeared to us. We may even think, “My time is up!” But he tells her not to be afraid, “For you have found favor with God.” So many people in the bible had this same experience and were told the same thing that they have found favor with God: Yeshua (His son), Daniel, Joseph (Jacob’s Son), Esther, the Patriarchs, just to name a few.
The angel goes on to tell her that she would have a son, but this son would be great. You know how mothers all think their children are great, but this one God is calling great. He will be the Son of the Most High and He will have the throne of his father David and His name will be Yeshua (God saves) and He will reign over the house of Jacob (Israel) forever and His kingdom will have no end. The angel goes on to explain how this will all happen and Miriam tells the angel, “Behold, the bondslave of the Lord; be it done to me according to your word.” And with that the angel departs. Now, as we see here the angel never calls Miram great or the mother of God or exalted. This frightened young girl calls herself a bondslave. Let’s look at the next thing that the Scriptures tell us about Miriam.
Elizabeth Greets Miriam
Miriam goes to visit her cousin who is also expecting a child. When Miriam greets her cousin, the child John leaps for joy and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. Why? Because John had the anointing of the Holy Spirit upon Him which He received from Yeshua at that encounter. You could say that Yeshua and John met womb to womb and when they met in person, John‘s spirit knew exactly who Yeshua was. Elizabeth, overtaken by this experience, cries out, “Blessed among women, are you, and blessed is the fruit of your womb.” Elizabeth confirms to Miriam exactly what the angel told her about her Son. And of course, anyone who is about to have the Son of the Most High is blessed. Elizabeth goes on to say, “How is it that the mother of my Lord should come to me?” Now I think this is where we all get confused. Elizabeth calls Miriam the mother of her Lord, and Yeshua was Lord, but Miriam is not the mother of God, for God has no mother, no beginning or end. To call her this is not right because we put her on the same level as God, and this is definitely not right. Let’s see how Miriam responds to her cousin.
Miriam says, “My soul exalts the Lord, and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior (Psalm 35:9). For He has had regard for the humble state of His bondslave (Psalm 138:6); for behold, from this time on all generations will count me blessed. For the Mighty One has done great things for me; and holy is His name. And His mercy is upon generation after generation toward those who fear Him (Psalm 103:17). He has done mighty deeds with His arm; He has scattered those who were proud in the thoughts of their heart (Psalm 98:1; 118:15). He has brought down rulers from their thrones, and has exalted those who were humble (Job 5:11). He has filled the hungry with good things (Psalm 107:9); and sent away the rich empty handed. He has given help to Israel His servant. In remembrance of His mercy, as He spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and his offspring forever (Genesis 17:7,19; Psalm 132:11).”
We see here that Miriam was quoting the scriptures in this dialogue, and once again we see that Miriam calls herself a humble bondslave. Yes, she was very blessed by God, but so is everyone who is faithful to God. We don’t exalt Abraham the father of faith, who God called His friend, and exalt him above all; or Moses, who saw God face to face, and make him above all; or any other person, for we are all the blessed of God who Paul refers to as the saints, which means “set apart” or “sanctified” in the Greek.
We see Miriam doubt and question her son throughout scripture, and like any mother was extremely afraid when they lost Yeshua on their way back from Jerusalem. They even came to get him because they thought he had lost his mind. We see her at the cross and at the upper room on the day of Pentecost, seeking God in prayer, and I’m sure that on the day of Pentecost she received the Holy Spirit like all the rest. Miriam was a humble person who only wanted to serve God. She had her faults like every other person, and like every other person she needed a Savior and needed to be filled with the Holy Spirit. Nowhere in the Scriptures does it tell us that Miriam was without sin. If she was, the Scriptures would for sure tell us. The only one without sin was Yeshua, and the Scriptures do tell us that in 2 Corinthians 5:21,1 John 3:5, 1 Peter 1:18-19. Romans 3:23 does tell us that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. I think if we look at Miriam as someone other than an ordinary person, a human being like us all, we do her a great injustice because if she could tell us she would say that she was just a humble servant doing her part for the kingdom, and because she can not tell us that, the Scriptures do.
Let’s take Miriam’s example and let’s be humble servants of our Lord Yeshua in bringing about His kingdom.