Luke 1:26-38, NLT
26 In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a village in Galilee, 27 to a virgin named Mary. She was engaged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of King David. 28 Gabriel appeared to her and said, “Greetings, favored woman! The Lord is with you!” 29 Confused and disturbed, Mary tried to think what the angel could mean. 30 “Don’t be afraid, Mary,” the angel told her, “for you have found favor with God! 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus. 32 He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David. 33 And he will reign over Israel forever; his Kingdom will never end!” 34 Mary asked the angel, “But how can this happen? I am a virgin.” 35 The angel replied, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the baby to be born will be holy, and he will be called the Son of God. 36 What’s more, your relative Elizabeth has become pregnant in her old age! People used to say she was barren, but she has conceived a son and is now in her sixth month. 37 For the word of God will never fail.” 38 Mary responded, “I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.” And then the angel left her.
In my 51 years of preaching, I don’t recall ever doing a MOTHER’S DAY sermon on the Mother of our LORD. In spite of what some teach, Mary was not perfect and she was not God. She was just as human as you or I and her calling was not an easy one. Remember the words and the prophecy of Simeon…
“This child is destined to cause many in Israel to fall, and many others to rise. He has been sent as a sign from God, but many will oppose Him. As a result, the deepest thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your very soul.”
When Simeon made this prediction, Mary didn’t have a clue as to what he was talking about but you and I know it was His crucifixion. Even on this dark and dreadful day, I cannot see Mary renouncing her title as the Mother of Jesus. We will come back to this later in the message.
Today, let us look through the NT at the things that are praise worthy about Mary.
I. SHE IS HUMBLE
Did you notice, as I read today’s text, the submissive spirit of this young lady. She has the humility of a lamb. A lamb will not fight back, it will not resist the hand of the shepherd. I love Mary’s response and I have often made it my prayer, [v.8] “I am your servant LORD, be it unto me according to Your word.” It is another way of saying, “Thy will be done.” An angel shows up out of nowhere and gives us these outrageous instructions and she simply says, “OK, that’s fine with me.” No protest, no argument, and only one question.
II. SHE WAS A BELIEVER
I don’t think there was a time when Mary did not believe in Jesus. From His birth to the cross, I think she was on board. Matter of fact, she believed when others did not. Jesus had four brothers; James, Joseph, Simon and Judas and He also had sisters, we just don’t know how many. None of His brothers were believers until after the cross and the resurrection. Judas and James have books in the N.T. but they were not believers at first.
I love the story of the wedding in Cana of Galilee. You talk about being a fly on the wall, I would have loved hearing this conversation between Jesus and His mother in person. It goes like this…
Jesus’ mother told him, “They have no more wine.”… Jesus said, “Woman, that’s not our problem. My time has not yet come.” But his mother told the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”
She has no idea what He is going to do but she knows that He is the answer to the problem. I think she even knew that whatever He told them to do might sound ridiculous so she said, “What ever he tell you to do, do it.”
My mother would get arrested these days for child abuse. I do not exaggerate when I say, she beat the hades out of me and I still have 5 siblings to vouch that I am being truthful. There may have been times when I doubted her love for me but I never had a doubt about her love and devotion to Jesus. She was a believer.
III. SHE LOVED UNCONDITIONALLY
When her Son, her first born became the enemy of the State and was rejected by the powers that be she stood firm in her love for her son. Isn’t it something how mothers stand with us no matter what; through thick or thin we can count on their unconditional love and support.
I know that most of you think I was a straight A student and I would love to foster that illusion but I was not a model student. I rarely studied and was not good at paying attention but oddly enough, I did not cheat at exam time. If you looked at my transcript, you would know I did not cheat. Yet in my senior year, just days before graduation, I got caught in a cheating scandal. No one would sing the Alma matte and their excuse was they didn’t know the words so they put the words to the song on our final English exam. A bunch of male students rebelled and created a cheat sheet. I actually memories the song believe it or not but I used an acrostic to help me remember the first word of each line. I forgot one letter and one line and when the cheat sheet came by I looked at that line and it only took one glance so I did not hold it, I passed it on. One of the geeks told on the jocks who cooked up this scheme and the teachers were outraged. The next Monday, each home room teacher made a speech and I was soft on my homeroom teacher Mrs. Reeves. She just happened to be pretty. Latter in the day, I confessed to her but would not give up any of the others. She hugged my neck and said “Thank You!”…I wish, she reported me to the office and they drilled me trying to get names which I would not give. So they threw the book at me…to make me an example. They informed me that I would not be graduating which was not all that upsetting to me but I knew my parents and especially Mother would be deeply disappointed. I dreaded telling her the truth but I mustered the courage. I was totally shocked at her response. She said, “Son, I am proud of you for being honest and I don’t want you to worry about graduation. Everything will work out in the long run. You did the right things after doing the wrong thing and I’m glad you did.”
IV. MARY WAS LOYAL
Two things moved me extremely when I saw PASSION OF CHRIST. By the way, I wept during the entire movie. Our cruelty, brutality and mistreatment of Jesus broke my heart. I had never realized how much He suffered in my behalf. But the other thing portrayed in the movie, that captured my attention, was the agony of Mary who witnessed the entire thing and was totally helpless to put a stop to it, WHICH is just one more proof that Mary was not God. Had she been, she would have exchanged places with Him.
In a manner of speaking, all humanity failed Jesus with the exception of His mother; she was loyal to the end. What kind of premium do you put on loyalty? I value it highly. I don’t have much use for Judas, a self-seeking hypocrite that will bail out on you when the going gets tough.
I am going to conclude with a story that comes from an old study course book, JESUS BY HEART, by Roy T. Edgemon. I think the setting of this story is one of the Scandinavian countries where they have a lot of snow.
A young mother was traveling from one village to another by foot when she and her baby got caught in a blizzard. When this young mother realized that she was not going to survive, her thought immediately were on her child so she took off all her clothes and wrapped her baby carefully, then she laid down in the snow in a fetal position with her baby next to her cradled body. There is the snow, she froze to death. Hours later, after the storm had subsided, two men came walking down the road and they saw this pile of snow. As they got closer, they heard the whimpering child. They uncovered the frozen mom and took the baby to the next village where there was a Missionary couple who gladly took the child in and raised him. They never lied to the child. From day one, they told him the story of his mom’s sacrifice. When he turned 16, he asked if they would take him to her grave which they did. Ironically, there was a snow on the ground. At the grave side, he asked for some time alone so the couple stepped aside giving him some privacy. After a while they got concerned and returned to the grave. They boy had taken off all his clothes and was lying face down on his mother’s grave.
This is not the end of the story. The mother’s sacrifice so moved the boy that he dedicated his life to the LORD. A part of this man’s testimony was: “In light of his mother’s sacrifice, he could not waste his life serving his own self-interest. His mother sacrificed her own life for him and he would sacrifice his life for others.”
In light of Jesus sacrifice for you: will you sacrifice your life for others in His name?