And Mary said, "Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word." |
Whenever we want to describe a certain principle or event in a very quick manner, we often use a famous expression like: Life is like a box of chocolates …. Because the hearer is familiar with the origins of that line, he understands exactly what we mean. This principle is fundamental to understanding the intent in the statement of Bible characters. A careful attention to Biblical terminologies reveals the intense connections between the Hebrew and the Apostolic Scriptures.
In our passage in Luke, Mary proclaims that she is ‘the servant of the Lord’. Was she using a terminology revealing a deeper dimension in her words? Ruth was another young girl who used the servant terminology at a very opportune time. When she came to Boaz on the threshing floor she said to him, "I am Ruth, your servant (Ruth 3:9). What is the connection between Ruth and Miriam, the mother of Yeshua?
Ruth and Miriam were both maiden. In his recollection of events, Matthew uses a prophecy originally uttered by Isaiah (Matthew 1:23; Isaiah 7:14). The original Hebrew text of the Isaiah prophecy actually uses the Hebrew word for maiden or young woman, not virgin. The prophecy still applies to Miriam as Matthew used it but we are left to wonder if our English translator didn’t push the concept a bit too much to make a point. In an Hebraic reading though, Isaiah was referring to a young woman, not a virgin.
Jewish literature and teachings, which are what Miriam would have been familiar with, proclaim that Ruth was ‘barren’ and having miraculously conceived. The sages use the text, “So Boaz took Ruth and she became his wife. Then he went to her and the Lord gave her conception (Ruth 4:13) to show that she had no womb but God miraculously gave her one. The idea is that since Ruth was a gentile, she was barren as far as bearing seed for Israel, but God gave her a womb through her marriage with Boaz. This becomes all the more interesting when we realize that through these events, Ruth became related to Yeshua. The story of Ruth also contains a Messianic interpretation where Boaz foreshadows Yeshua, the Messianic redeemer who would someday redeem the land and people of Israel from dispersion, as well as bring in gentiles into Covenant life.
Miriam therefore saw herself like Ruth for whom a conception miracle had been performed, whom also became part of a great inheritance for both Israel and the gentiles. This certainly came true in the birth of Yeshua.
May we learn when our name is called by the Almighty for great and greater things, to do like these two great women of faith Ruth and Miriam and say, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord, let it be to me according to your word."
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