Since the Advent season began on Sunday, November 27, our pastor has asked for volunteers to speak on each of the Sunday mornings leading up to Christmas Sunday morning about specific Bible characters who have had a special impact on leading up to the Birth of Jesus Christ. Last week my husband, Roger, spoke about John the Baptist who was born to Zechariah and Elizabeth. John’s life would “prepare the way” for our Lord Jesus Christ and His ministry.
This past Sunday I spoke about Mary, the Mother of Jesus, and want to share some insights into her humble life with all of you.
. Mary is the best-known female character in the Bible and, of course, everyone knows her as the “Mother of Jesus”.
. In Matthew 1:16 her name appears in the geneology of Matthew–“…and Jacob the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called the Christ.”
. It has been told that she was a peasant woman, a young adolescent, and probably poor, from the descendant of Aaron (priests).
. Her parents and/or siblings are not mentioned in the scriptures, but it is assumed that she came from a Godly home of devout Jews–she lived in the Village of Nazareth.
. During Mary’s time period, it was a Jewish custom that girls were not trained in the Holy Scriptures but were trained to run the household; however, as seen in her praise to God in the “Magnificat” or “Mary’s Song” in Luke 1:47-55, Mary was well-versed in scriptures.
. Mary became betrothed to Joseph, son of Heli and a descendant of King David, at a very young age. Although we don’t know the exact age that she was pledged to be married, the minimum age for girls to be betrothed during this time period was 12 years old, and this generally took place one year before the marriage which was legally binding and could only be dissolved by a legal divorce.
OVERVIEW OF OTHER PLACES IN SCRIPTURES WHERE MARY IS MENTIONED
. Luke 1:26-38: Mary was visited by the Angel Gabriel and then she visits Elizabeth for three months.
. Matthew 1:24 and Luke 2:1-7: Both gospels tell about the Birth of Jesus–Mary and Joseph traveled to Bethlehem per the decree by Caesar Augustus for the census, and this is where Mary gives birth to Jesus.
. Luke 2:21: Jesus is presented in the temple at 8 days old to be circumcised and is blessed by Simeon.
. Luke 2:41: Feast of the Passover each year–During one of their travels when Jesus was 12 years old, his parents were returning home, and it was discovered that Jesus had stayed behind so they went back to get him. In VS 48, Mary tells Jesus that she and his father had been anxiously searching for Him; and His reply in VS 49 was, “Didn’t you know that I had to be in my Father’s house” but they did not understand.
. John 2:1-11: Wedding Feast in Cana—On the third day of this celebration, the wine ran out. Mary asks Jesus for His help and He turns the water into wine.
. John 19:26: Crucifixion–Jesus sees His mother and says, “Dear woman, here is your son” and to John, His disciple, He says, “Here is your mother” so John cared for Mary the rest of her days.
. Luke 24:9: Resurrection–Mother of James (Jesus’ mother), plus Mary Magdalene and Joanna run to tell the 11 disciples that Christ was risen.
OTHER CHILDREN OF MARY AND JOSEPH
. In both Mark 6:3 and Matthew 13:55-56, it mentions Mary’s other children: James, Joses (Joseph), Judas, and Simon, plus two other sisters (whose names are not mentioned).
THE BIRTH OF JESUS FORETOLD IN LUKE 1:26-38
. VS 26-28: The Angel Gabriel greets Mary telling her that she is highly favored by God (favor means gaining approval, aceptance, or special benefits or blessings).
. VS 29: Mary’s reaction was that she was troubled and afraid. BUT as we continue to read the rest of their conversation, we get a better picture into Mary’s character. She exhibits a:
. That God had chosen her to carry His Son.
. She probably thought to herself: Who am I that God would think so highly of me for this blessed event. After all she was not wealthy or noble, but just an ordinary young girl and a chaste virgin.
Willing and Open Heart:
. She listened to what the Angel told her about what was going to take place and how the Holy Spirit would come upon her and she would be with child.
. She then accepted and trusted God and she was willing to be used by God
. Mary was an obedient follower of God. God didn’t look at her outward appearance or her circumstances, but He knew her heart and that she would be obedient in what He asked of her.
. The Angel tells Mary about her cousin Elizabeth and how that even in her old age, she was going to have a baby (now in her sixth month).
. And in VS 37, the Angel concludes his time with Mary by saying, “For nothing is impossible with God.”
. Mary was a woman of faith and in VS 38, she said, “Let it be to me as you have said.” (If God said it, then I believe it mentality.)
. Mary proves that she is humble, willing, and obedient to become God’s servant and believed God’s destiny for her life.
MARY’S VISIT WITH ELIZABETH
. After Mary’s visit with the angel, she goes to the hill country of Judea to visit with her cousin Elizabeth to see for herself that Elizabeth was with child.
. Luke 1:40: says that when Mary greeted Elizabeth, her baby leaped in her womb and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. In VS 42-45 Elizabeth confirms to Mary that which would take place in her own life: She was chosen to carry the Son of God and would be blessed among all women.
. Mary then begins to praise God.
. VS 46-55: In this passage, Mary definitely shows that she knows the scriptures. This is a song of strength, trust, obedience, and power to believe that what God said He would do, and what He would now accomplish in Mary’s life.
. VS 48: Mary declares: “For He has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed.” (A humble servant)
. Mary then stays with Elizabeth for three months before returning home, indicating that she was probably there for the birth of John.
CONCLUSION: How can we apply the events in Mary’s journey to our own lives today???
. I Samuel 16:7says: “…The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (Remember this was how King David was chosen)
. When God chose Mary, He looked at her heart, not her appearance or circumstances.
. When God wants to use individuals like ourselves, He is looking at our hearts–our love for Him–and not at our outward appearance or circumstances.
. Colossians 3:23 says: “Whatever you do, do it from the heart for the Lord, and not for people.”
. Mary wasn’t thinking about “what will people think” (especially Joseph), but only that she was highly favored and chosen by God to carry His Son.
. God asks that whatever He asks of us that we do it with our whole heart for Him and not for men AND FINALLY…
. Luke 1:37 says: “For nothing is impossible with God”
. Just as Elizabeth conceived in her old age, and Mary miraculously bore the Son of God–Jesus Christ who would end up bearing the sins of the world and saving us all–they both understood and saw firsthand in their lives that “nothing was impossible with God.”
. SO SHOULD WE: “When God speaks to each of us and we listen to Him, let us all be willing to step out in faith so that He can show us His continued plan for our lives, because “nothing is impossible that God can’t do in and through our lives today for His honor and glory”.
. Just believe and trust Him, and He will guide you on your life’s journey every step of the way!
I concluded my time of sharing about Mary’s Journey by singing “Breath of Heaven” which solidified perhaps what Mary further thought as she traveled to Bethlehem and where she gave birth to Jesus Christ and “laid Him in a manger.”
During this Christmas season, may we find ourselves most grateful and thankful for the blessings that we have received throughout the year and enjoy our precious time with family and friends. And most of all, for the birth of our Saviour, God and King!