While Jesus was saying these things, one of the women in the crowd raised her voice and said to Him, “Blessed is the womb that bore You and the breasts at which You nursed.” But He said, “On the contrary, blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it.”
For the believer, this is the time of year in which we remember the birth of our Savior. It is important that things be kept in perspective during this season. There will be nativity scenes in plenty and some will become overly focused on the young mother kneeling beside the child she bore, but no less than Jesus Himself shifted that focus.
This morning’s verse comes at the end of Jesus’ remarks on what happens with regard to demonic possession and His ultimatum that whoever does not gather with Him is scattered. In light of His profound insight and His ability to state, categorically, that to stand against Him is to be scattered, a random woman in the crowd shouts out that His mom is a blessed woman.
Mary agreed with this woman’s sentiment. In the passage commonly called The Magnificat, Mary exalts God for condescending to use such as she and praises Him for fulfilling His promises to Israel. Mary counted herself blessed. Gabriel called her highly favored. Elizabeth called her blessed. There is no doubt that Mary was blessed.
But Jesus flips it around. Jesus says that those who live in obedience — as Mary did, incidentally — are blessed. Was she unique? In that she was the vessel chosen to bear my Lord, yes. In that she was obedient and faithful and blessed, no. Myriads of believers through the ages have submitted themselves and found the blessing therein.
Will I be counted among those? There are times when I doubt. I am not good at obeying. I am frail and faulty and fumbling. I look more a fool in motley than a child of the King in purple. Does this phase my Lord? Not a whit. He is undeterred by my failures. So long as my desire is to submit myself and to be obedient, no matter how feeble my attempts or sadly lacking my obedience, He continues to work and to increase His grace in me so that I might become fully submitted; fully obedient to Him and enjoy the blessing therein.