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Mary, Did You Know?

Date: 
December 24, 2017
Speaker: 
Rev. Terry Martinson
Reading: 
Luke 1:26-38

MARY, DID YOU KNOW?

THEME: The very best gift we can give to our God is our faith… like Mary, we must say “yes” to God.

INTRODUCTION

  • “Hail, favored one! The Lord is with you.” 
    • With these words of the angel Gabriel, a young Jewish girl living in Nazareth found her life changed forever!
    • And with her life, our lives were changed as well. (Yeo)
  • Gabriel’s announcement was much more than a message of a birth that was soon to take place…
    • God’s plan for salvation is about to be put into action…
    • God would send his Son – fully human and fully divine – born of Mary, but conceived through the Holy Spirit…
    • And this was all God’s doing… it was God who initiated this plan to redeem all people by sending Gabriel to speak to Mary about the very special role she would play in God’s plan for gathering his people to himself once again through the Messiah. (Bass)
  • It was the message, not the angel, which troubled Mary…
    • She did not doubt the angel’s word, but she wondered how this might be.
    • In just twelve short verses of scripture Mary hears God’s call… ponders it briefly… and says, “Yes!” to God.
  • Mary, what a remarkable young woman she must have been!

WHY WOULD GOD CHOOSE MARY?

  • The question on our minds might be: Why would God choose Mary? Wasn’t there anyone else? Mary seems like such an unlikely choice.
  • Mary was only 15 at best…
    • Do you remember being 13 or 14 or 15 years old?
    • These are awkward years… your body is somewhere between childhood and adulthood… hormones are doing all sorts of weird things to your body… there is a great rush to grow up!
    • Still, even at fifteen you are not old enough to drive a car, vote, stay out as late as you might like, or live on your own… at fifteen there are lots of things you are not allowed to do… you are still a child living in your parents’ home.  (Nadasi)
  • Mary was not only young, she was a “nobody” – a poor girl from an unknown family… she was betrothed to the village carpenter, an older man named Joseph… their upcoming marriage had been arranged by their parents, as all marriages were… her pregnancy would be cause for Joseph to dismiss her immediately; and for the respectful people of the village to turn their backs on her; and for the Hebrew law to call for her death.
  • Mary was young, poor, female – all characteristics that, to the people of her day, would make her useless to God for any major task… but God chose Mary for one of the most important acts of obedience ever demanded of anyone.  (LABC)
  • There was nothing special about Mary, at least nothing special that we can see, but God saw something special in Mary that perhaps no one else ever saw or realized…
    • Mary was an unlikely choice, but not for God.
    • Our God is full of surprises… God’s ways are not always our ways…
    • Mary was young, but she was old enough to say “yes” to God…

 

MARY, DID YOU KNOW?

  • In your bulletin there are words to a beautiful modern Christmas Carol – Mary, Did You Know?
    • Mark Lowry wrote the lyrics in 1984 as a meditation for the Christmas program in his own church in Nashville, Tennessee…
    • Several years later Buddy Green set the words to music…
    • Mark Lowry said, “I tried to picture Mary holding the baby Jesus on the very first Christmas morning and wondered what she was thinking about the child. She knew he was special… the virgin birth was her first clue… but could she even begin to imagine all the things he would do while he was here?  (Christianity Today)  
  • PLAY OR SING SONG
  • What thoughts raced through Mary’s mind as she gently rocked his cradle?
    • What did she want her boy to become? A carpenter, like Joseph? A fisherman? A shepherd? A rabbi?
    • She was probably not prepared for all that would unfold and for all that he would become…
    • Mary did not sit at cradle side all radiant and brightly beaming as the Christmas card manger scenes portray…
    • She sat quietly pondering the events that had taken place and those yet to come…
      • Her son would be loved by the common folk and despised by the political rulers and officials of the temple…
      • They would brand him a troublemaker, a rebel, a heretic and a traitor…
      • And those who feared him the most would crucify him…
    • Years after his birth, Mary would look back from the foot of a hill called Golgotha to the manger in Bethlehem… what a change there would be from the starlit night in Bethlehem to the foot of the cross – from ecstasy to agony in 33 short years… (Stroman)
  • Mary, did you know all the things your son would accomplish? The blind will see… the deaf will hear… the dead will live again… in his name people would be healed, demons would be banished, and sins would be forgiven.
  • Mary, did you know that when you kiss your little boy, you kiss the face of God?
  • Did you know that your little boy is the Lord of all creation?
  • Did you know that this child you delivered would soon deliver you?
    • The name Jesus means God Saves
    • Jesus is the Greek form of the name Joshua
    • Just as Joshua had led Israel into the Promised Land, so Jesus would lead his people into eternal life…
  • Mary, did you wonder when the tide would turn against him?
  • Did you know that being favored by God would bring such great pain or that to be called by God would mean to suffer so greatly with God?
  • Mary, did you know? You did know, didn’t you?  (Yeo)

 

MARY IS A MODEL OF CHRISTIAN FAITH

  • Mary is a model of Christian faith… she placed her trust in God…
  • Mary said, “Here I am, Lord!”… words that changed her life…
  • She was only 15 at best, but she was old enough to say “Yes” to God… Mary simply believed and submitted herself to the will of God…
  • God works in mysterious ways… who would believe that the kingdom of God would come through a child born to such humble parents in such an out-of-the-way place?
  • God works in mysterious ways… in ways we may never understand.
  • God works through people like Mary, like you, and like me… “God uses the most ordinary people for the most extraordinary tasks.”  (Stroman)

 

CONCLUSION

  • “Christmas is not a stand-alone event. It is part of the still unfolding story of God’s love for humanity.”  (Yeo)
  • Mary was part of God’s story… You and I are part of God’s story…
  • The very best gift we can give to our God is our faith… like Mary, we are called to say “yes” to God.
  • Today, the fourth Sunday of Advent, the candle of love has been lighted.
  • The very best way we can say “yes” to God is to embrace God’s love for us – a love born of Mary as a gift to save all humanity…
  • God is love… love is God’s way… let us say “yes” to God by setting aside our differences and truly loving one another… not just a Christmas, but for all eternity…
  • The story – God’s story – is still unfolding and God is calling you…

 

Sermon Seeds

  • Life Application Bible Commentary – Luke 1:26-38published by Tyndale
  • Daily Study Bible – Luke 1:26-38 – William Barclay
  • Mary, Did You Know? – lyrics by Mark Lowry (1984) and music by Buddy Green
  • Gabriel Speaks to Mary – a sermon by George Bass
  • How Odd of God – a sermon by John Stroman
  • Fifteen and Willing To Serve – a sermon by John Nadasi
  • Mary, Did You Know? – a sermon by Douglas Yeo
  • Christianity Today – The Story Behind The Song – Mark Lowry’s Mary, Did You Know?

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