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Mary, Mother of Jesus

Text: Luke 1: 28-38

Dr Alex Tang

 

Summary

Mary said “Yes’ and God’s Plan of Redemption proceeds. Let us say “yes’ so Lord’s plan of redemption for us can proceed too.

Luke 1:28-38

The angel went to her and said, "Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you."  Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end." "How will this be," Mary asked the angel, "since I am a virgin?" The angel answered, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be barren is in her sixth month. For nothing is impossible with God." "I am the Lord's servant," Mary answered. "May it be to me as you have said." Then the angel left her.

 

Who is Mary, Mother of Jesus?

The wife of Joseph, the mother of Jesus, called the “Virgin Mary,” though never so designated in Scripture (Matt. 2:11; Acts 1:14). Little is known of her personal history. Her genealogy is given in Luke 3. She was of the tribe of Judah and the lineage of David (Ps. 132:11; Luke 1:32). She was connected by marriage with Elisabeth, who was of the lineage of Aaron (Luke 1:36).

While she resided at Nazareth with her parents, before she became the wife of Joseph, the angel Gabriel announced to her that she was to be the mother of the promised Messiah (Luke 1:35).

After this she went to visit her cousin Elisabeth, who was living with her husband Zachariah. Immediately on entering the house she was saluted by Elisabeth as the mother of her Lord, and then forthwith gave utterance to her hymn of thanksgiving (Luke 1:46–56; comp. 1 Sam. 2:1–10). After three months Mary returned to Nazareth to her own home. Joseph was supernaturally made aware (Matt. 1:18–25) of her condition, and took her to his own home.

Soon after this the decree of Augustus (Luke 2:1) required that they should proceed to Bethlehem (Micah 5:2), some 80 or 90 miles from Nazareth; and while they were there they found shelter in the inn or khan provided for strangers (Luke 2:6, 7). But as the inn was crowded, Mary had to retire to a place among the cattle, and there she brought forth her son, who was called Jesus (Matt. 1:21), because he was to save his people from their sins.

This was followed by the presentation in the temple, the flight into Egypt, and their return in the following year and residence at Nazareth (Matt. 2).

There for thirty years Mary, the wife of Joseph the carpenter, resides, filling her own humble sphere, and pondering over the strange things that had happened to her.

During these years only one event in the history of Jesus is recorded, viz., his going up to Jerusalem when twelve years of age, and his being found among the doctors in the temple (Luke 2:41–52). Probably also during this period Joseph died, for he is not again mentioned.

 After the commencement of our Lord’s public ministry little notice is taken of Mary. She was present at the marriage in Cana.

A year and a half after this we find her at Capernaum (Matt. 12:46, 48, 49), where Christ uttered the memorable words, “Who is my mother? and who are my brethren? And he stretched forth his hand toward his disciples, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren!”

The next time we find her is at the cross along with her sister Mary, and Mary Magdalene, and Salome, and other women (John 19:26). From that hour John took her to his own abode. She was with the little company in the upper room after the Ascension (Acts 1:14).

From this time she wholly disappears from public notice. The time and manner of her death are unknown.

There is not much material in the New Testament to give us a good idea of who Mary was. But I believe Luke has tried to give us a small glimpse of the character of Mary when he wrote about the annunciation in Luke 1:28-38, the event that involves the announcement of Jesus' birth and Mary's response to it. Briefly it can be divided into present, understand and consent.

 

Presents (v. 1: 28-33)

    LK 1: 28 The angel went to her and said, "Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you."

    LK 1:29 Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 30 But the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. 31 You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end."

God, through the angel Gabriel presents His plans for Mary. God often let us know what he expects of us. So through the angel Gabriel, God describe the baby that he wants Mary to bear in her womb. He shares 5 things about this baby.

(1)               He will be great.

(2)               He will be called the Son of the Most High. The Septuagint often used the term “Most High” (hypsistou) to translate the Hebrew ÔelyoĆn . Mary could not have missed the significance of that terminology. The fact that her Baby was to be called the “Son of the Most High” pointed to His equality with Yahweh. In Semitic thought a son was a “carbon copy” of his father, and the phrase “son of” was often used to refer to one who possessed his “father’s” qualities (e.g., the Heb. trans. “son of wickedness” in Ps. 89:22 [kjv] means a wicked person).

(3)               He will be given the throne of his father David.

(4)               He will reign on the house of Jacob forever.

(5)               His kingdom will never end. These promises must have immediately reminded Mary of the promise of Yahweh to David (2 Sam. 7:13-16). David understood the prophecy as referring not only to his immediate son (Solomon) who would build the temple, but also to the future Son who would rule forever. David stated that Yahweh had spoken of the distant future (2 Sam. 7:19).

Mary would have understood that the angel was speaking to her of the Messiah who had been promised for so long. It must have been a shock to be presented with this proposition like this suddenly. Mary must have grown up expecting the coming of the Messiah and even praying for his coming but to be told that she is chosen must come as quite a shock.

 

Understands (v. 1:34-37)

   LK 1:34 "How will this be," Mary asked the angel, "since I am a virgin?"

    LK 1:35 The angel answered, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. 36 Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be barren is in her sixth month. 37 For nothing is impossible with God."

Mary did not seem surprised that the Messiah was to come. Rather, she was surprised that she would be His mother since she was a virgin. But the angel did not rebuke Mary, as he had rebuked Zechariah (v. 20). This indicates that Mary did not doubt the angel’s words but merely wanted to know how such an event would be accomplished. The answer was that the Holy Spirit would creatively bring about the physical conception of Jesus (v. 35).

This miraculous conception and Virgin Birth of Jesus Christ was necessary because of His deity and preexistence (Isa. 7:14; 9:6; Gal. 4:4). To bear the sins of mankind the sin-bearer must be without sin. Otherwise, how can he bear the sins of others. He will only be qualified to bear his or her own sin.

Like Zechariah, Mary was given a sign: Elizabeth is going to have a child.

 

Consents (v. 1:38)

    LK 1:38 "I am the Lord's servant," Mary answered. "May it be to me as you have said." Then the angel left her.

Mary affirmed her part in her Son’s subsequent birth by assenting to the plan of God: May it be to me as You have said. She willingly submitted to God’s plan, calling herself the Lord’s servant (douleµ, “slave”; cf. Luke 1:48). This shows the attitude and character of Mary. She did not argue that she is unworthy for such a task nor did she set conditions (bargain) before accepting the task - bless my family, make my husband rich etc. Instead she submits willingly, without questions, without murmur but with humility as a slave (the Lord's servant).

 

Lessons for us

Mary’s YES

1.                  Means God’s plan of redemption can proceed

2.                  May mean Joseph may break their betrothal

3.                  May mean she be the centre of gossip and humiliation in her family and her community. The Eastern culture is the culture of shame.

4.                  May mean she is unmarriageable.

Mary said YES. Without her YES, there will be no Christmas. Christmas will be cancelled forever. But with her YES, Mary is willing to put everything she had on the line and trust God to fulfill His plan. Because of her YES, God gave His Son. Mary gave her body. Christmas is the first step in God plan for redemption.

It is interesting to note that God depend on one young Jewish girl as a pivotal point for His redemption plan. In Jewish culture, Mary will be the lowest in social status, just above the slaves. She is from a poor family in a small town in Galilee (Galilee is at the edge of Israel that it is often called Galilee of the Gentiles). She is single, young and female. God did not choose a queen. God chose a nobody.

Our YES

So that God’s plan of redemption can proceed with us trusting in Him.

Areas of our YES:

1.                  Time

·        Give time to the Lord - in our quiet time, in our CELLS group, in Spiritual Formation Classes, in Fellowship groups.

·        Give time in service.

2.                  Prayer

·        To pray more

·        Prayer file

·        Join a prayer group

·        Pray with a friend regularly

·        Pray when the Holy Spirit prompts us.

3.                  Forgiveness

·        Commit to the Lord and ask for his help

·        Pray for the other person

·        Seek reconciliation

4.                  Money

·        Seek to give 10% of your earnings.

·        Make a list. Write it down. Calculate with a calculator. Just do it.

Concluding Remarks

Presents, Understands and Consents. God has presented His plans for the Redemption of all creation in the Bible. Christmas is the first step in the plan. We understand our role in this redemption plan is to accept Jesus as our savior and become like Jesus and Consent to give our life to God, trusting in God’s plan for us.

 

                                                                                                                                                     Soli Deo Gloria

 

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