Two years ago during the Christmas season, I was privileged to share a sermon about Mary, the Mother of Jesus. Because we are now in the 2019 Christmas Season, I wanted to share that sermon with you as follows:
Mary is the best-known female character in the Bible, and 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 Aaron’s line (priests). Parents and siblings are not mentioned, but it is assumed she came from a Godly home of devout Jews–she lived in the Village of Nazareth.
During Mary’s time period, it was Jewish custom that girls were not trained in Holy Scriptures but were trained to run the household; but as seen in her praise in her “Magnificat” in Luke1:47-55, Mary was well-versed in scriptures.
Mary became betrothed to Joseph, son of Heli, 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 bethrothed during this time period was as early as 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.
Isaiah 7:14 tells us that “Mary was a chaste virgin.” Other places where Mary is mentioned are:
- Luke 1: Mary was visited by the Angel Gabriel and her visit with Elizabeth where she stayed 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 for the census where she gave birth to Jesus.
- Luke 2:21: Jesus is presented in the temple and blessed by Simeon (8 days old/circumcised).
- Luke 2:41: Feast of Passover each year. During one incident when Jesus was 12 years old, his parents (Mary and Joseph) were returning home when it was discovered that Jesus stayed behind so they went back to get him. In verse 48, Mary told Jesus that they had anxiously been searching for Him and his reply in verse 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 at Cana. The wine ran out on the third day so Jesus turned the water into wine per Mary’s request for his help.
- John 19:26: Crucifixion. Jesus saw his mother and said, “Dear woman, here is your son”, and to John, his disciple, he said, “Here is your mother” so John cared for her the rest of her days.
- Luke 24:9: Resurrection. Mother of James (Jesus’ mother), plus Mary Magdalene and Joanna told the eleven disciples that Christ had risen (Judas hung himself).
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.
The birth of Jesus was foretold in Luke 1:26-38. In verses 26-28 the Angel Gabriel greets Mary and tells her she is highly favored by God (favor means gaining approval, acceptance, or special benefits or blessings). Mary’s reaction was that she was troubled and afraid; but as we read the rest of their conversation, we get a better picture into Mary’s character.
She exhibits a:
Humble Heart–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 was a chaste virgin. (vs. 29)
Willing Heart/Open Heart–she listened to what the Angel told her about what was going to take place; she then accepted and trusted God and was willing to be used by God. (vs. 34)
Obedient Heart–Mary was an obedient follower of God. God didn’t look at her outward appearance, but knew her heart and that she would be obedient in what He asked of her. (vs. 35)
The angel then 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). (vs. 36)
In verse 37, the angel concludes his time with Mary by saying, “For nothing is impossible with God.”
Servant Heart–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.
After Mary’s visit with the angel, she goes to the hill country of Judea to visit with her cousin Elizabeth.
Luke 1:40 says that when Mary greeted Elizabeth, her baby leaped in her womb/Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, and in verses 42-45, Elizabeth confirms to Mary that which would take place in her own life: She (Mary) was the chosen one to carry the Son of God and would be blessed among all women.
Mary then begins to praise God (Mary’s Song):
Magnificat–Mary’s Song: In verses 46-55 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, he would now accomplish in Mary’s life.
In verse 48, Mary declares: “For He has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed.” (humble servant)
Mary then stays with Elizabeth for three months before returning home, indicating that she was probably there for the birth of John.
How can we apply the events in Mary’s journey to our own lives today?
I Samuel 16:7 says, “…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 us, He is looking at our hearts–our love for Him–and not 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 “what will people think,” (especially Joseph); only that she was highly favored and chosen to carry the Son of God. She went from an ordinary individual to an extraordinary one.
God asks that whatever He asks of us that we do it with our whole heart for Him and not for men.
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 all of us–they both understood and saw firsthand in their lives that “nothing was and is 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.
Blessing to each and every one of you during this blessed Christmas season.