The Blessed Mother

Luke 1:26-38, NLT

26 In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a village in Galilee27 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.

Introduction

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.

Transition

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.

Conclusion

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?

Mother’s Day Gift

Luke 7:11-17

11 Soon afterward Jesus went with his disciples to the village of Nain, and a large crowd followed him. 12 A funeral procession was coming out as he approached the village gate. The young man who had died was a widow’s only son, and a large crowd from the village was with her. 13 When the Lord saw her, his heart overflowed with compassion. “Don’t cry!” he said. 14 Then he walked over to the coffin and touched it, and the bearers stopped. “Young man,” he said, “I tell you, get up.” 15 Then the dead boy sat up and began to talk! And Jesus gave him back to his mother. 16 Great fear swept the crowd, and they praised God, saying, “A mighty prophet has risen among us,” and “God has visited his people today.” 17 And the news about Jesus spread throughout Judea and the surrounding countryside.

INTRODUCTION

Our world has changed drastically since the 1950’s when I was a child. My mother was a stay at home mom but that was true of practically mother in those days. Today this is true of an elite few. They say stay at home moms are on the rise, up to 29% in 2012 and according to PEW RESEARCH it reached its all time low in 1999 with 23% of moms working at home. This is encouraging but I find this statistic hard to believe. Most mothers I know work outside the home. Our kids grew up in the 8o’s and things have changed a lot in just that one generation. According to the United States Census Bureau, 7 out of 10 kids live with two parents and 6 out of 10 live with both biological parents but this includes those who are married and those who are cohabitating. At age twelve 55% of children live with biological parents according to the Census which I do not believe is accurate. If you walk across the road to our middle and high school, you will not be able to verify those numbers. It is more likely to be 60-65% not living with one or both biological parents. As a matter of fact, most kids do no have the same last name as the parent, grandparent or guardian they are living with. When our children were in school they would tell us about children who ask if they could live with us and did do some foster parenting with two high school students. By the way, I do not recommend that you take other children into your home without proper counseling and training. There are many things that have to be considered. Our youngest daughter said repeatedly that we were dysfunctional as a family so why would anyone want to move in with us. My wife cooked and we actually sat at a table and shared meals together. This was a dream to many of these kids. A dad that works and a mom who cooks and a family that eats together, wow! Before you have a hearty laugh, you might ought to find out how many moms cook for their children these days. I’m not talking about fast food or microwave food. Point is– things have really changed and some not for the better.

Today we want to talk about a mother for whom we have no name; all we know is she was a widow and had only one son and he was not very old. I’m going to guess he was a teenager. We are going to talk about this particular mother in hopes that it will be an encouragement to every mother.

I. THE FIRST THING I WANT YOU TO NOTE IS HER GRIEF

When Jesus encounters this woman, she is crying. Her son has died mysteriously and they are on the way to the grave yard with the body. She is heart-broken. She has already suffered the loss of her husband which is underrated: Widows do not get the sympathy they deserve. Everyone in our society discounts the value of a man and the general consensus is: “Women are better off without them” but that is not how most widows feel. Have you noticed: “Good women have a tendency to love sorry men.” Sometimes we think they should be celebrating their freedom but in reality, they are literally grieving their loss. So she has lost a husband and now her only son and probably only child. This poor mother is devastated. Being a mother is not for sissies, it does involved pain. It begins with pain in giving birth but there is more to follow. Raising small children may seem relatively easy but just wait, children become teenagers and then you begin paying for your raising. The pain does not stop with high school graduation or even college or even employment. Sibling rivalries are real, very real and when there is more than one child, you are apt to deal with jealously and it is an ugly creature. Adult children can bring a lot of grief. I have spent time as a child sitting outside a locked door where my mother was grieving for my siblings that were grown.  A mother loves her children and grief is the price we pay for love. A mother who does not grieve does not care. I had to learn the hard way that there are exceptions to the rule and there are mothers who do not care about their children.

Several years ago [middle 90’s] I preached a sermon on MOTHER’s Day about appreciating your mother no matter what she had done. A young man heard the sermon and looked up his estranged mother who lived within 30 minutes of his home. She had abandon this boy when he was a small child and he really had no relationship with her but he worked up the nerve to call her and she told him, never to call again. By the time he got to my house, he was weeping out of control. It took me 20 minutes to find out what was going on. How could any mother do this to her own child? I do not know. In the same service sat another young man about the same age whose mother abandon him when he was a small child. She left him and his brother with their daddy who was not well and died when the boys were teenagers. They literally raised themselves. His mother was living with another man 12 miles away. It was a humbling experience. So, I know there are some sorry mothers out there but they are thank God, the exception to the rule. A loving mother is a grieving mother. Jesus was moved by this woman’s tears. Had she not cared deeply about her son Jesus might not have stopped but He was moved by her grief.

II. NOTICE SECONDLY: HER GIFT

You talk about a great Mother’s Day gift, Jesus gave her the best, He gave her what she wanted most–her son. I love this story. This kid laying on the stretcher looked dead to everyone except Jesus. It amazes me the difference between how Jesus sees people and how we see people. When Jesus saw the kid, He saw him asleep and in need of being awakened. How hard is it to wake some one up from even a deep sleep. I was sitting in my chair this week reading and went sound of sleep. My secretary had no idea and she stuck her head in my office to tell me that she was going to the other buildings and she spoke before she looked and I jumped a foot off the ground. I was asleep but she woke me up. It was hard, she simply spoke. My wife knows how to wake me up. My 18 month old granddaughter knows how to wake me up. If someone is a sleep, we don’t panic, we just wake them up. Jesus saw this young fellow as being asleep, that is the way He sees what we call “Dead Folks.” The Greek word used here means to get up, to rise, to be aroused from sleep. Jesus simply spoke to this young man and told him to get up which he did. The power of His word brought through the barrier of physical death and the boy responded. What a mother’s day gift! She got her son back. It is not always a new purse, a new car or a dozen roses that Mom wants. Sometimes the greatest gift is to get a child back.

III. LAST, NOTE THE GLORY

Mother’s have their share of grief; ask Mary Mother of Jesus. When Simeon saw Mary and Joseph with Jesus at the temple, he said, “Sovereign Lord, now let your servant die in peace, as you have promised. I have seen your salvation, which you have prepared for all  people.  He is a light to reveal God to the nations, and he is the glory of your people Israel!” Jesus’ parents were amazed at what was being said about him. Then Simeon blessed them, and he said to Mary, the baby’s mother, “This child is destined to cause many in Israel to fall, but he will be a joy to many others. 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.”  Simeon was right, Mary had her grief but in the end, she had her glory. In the kingdom of God suffering always leads to glory. The glory of this story is Jesus turned a funeral into a celebration of life. They were crying one minute and shouting the next. Jesus can turn our mourning into laughter, our sorrow into joy. He can turn our plain ordinariness into something with fantastic and exciting.

CONCLUSION

Colossians 3:1-4

Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand.Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth. For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God. And when Christ, who is your life, is revealed to the whole world, you will share in all his glory.

Let me share a secret that the world knows nothing about and I have on fear in you informing them of this secret because they are not going to believe you. Your real life is hidden with Christ in God. No one sees the real you other than God. You don’t even see it yourself.  Paul said…”We have stopped evaluating others from a human point of view. At one time we thought of Christ merely from a human point of view. How differently we know him now!” Most people did not see the glory in Christ and they do not see it in you either but that doesn’t mean it is not there. I’ve never seen the leaning tower of Pisa but this does not mean that it is not there.

So I want you to remember what happened in this story…first there is the grief but in the end there is glory…Jesus has power of death…the woman gets the one thing she wants most, her son alive and well. Remember this: the devil [sin] gives the glory first and then comes the suffering but with Christ it is the opposite, the suffering comes first and then the glory.

The key question: Is Christ in you? [1] He is not in you by default. You did not get Christ with your first birth, you got Adam but not Christ. [2] He is not in you by proxy. He is not in you because your parents are believers. [3] He is not in you via Church Membership or Baptism. There is only one way that Christ will enter your life and that is by invitation. Have you invited Christ into your life to be your LORD and Savior. I have to be honest with you: He will forgive your sins but only if you repent of them. There is no precedent in scripture of Jesus rejecting anyone who came to HIM in humility, faith and repentance. You find one, email me the reference jack@danvillebaptist.org. I am not worried, you will not find one. Come to Christ today. Come humbly, trusting Him and repent of your sins. He will save you: He has promised to save you.

[Related verses for further study]

I John 3:1-3

See how very much our Father loves us, for he calls us his children, and that is what we are! But the people who belong to this world don’t recognize that we are God’s children because they don’t know him. Dear friends, we are already God’s children, but he has not yet shown us what we will be like when Christ appears. But we do know that we will be like him, for we will see him as he really is. And all who have this eager expectation will keep themselves pure, just as he is pure.

Ephesians 2:10

For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.

2 Corinthians 5:16-17

So we have stopped evaluating others from a human point of view. At one time we thought of Christ merely from a human point of view. How differently we know him now! 17 This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!