Summary: As young pregnant Mary faces the difficulties having to wear ridicule and moral judgement Mary humbly sings a powerful song where she glorifies God and rejoices in her Saviour.
You can listen to the full sermon here:-
It isn’t always easy to sing is it.
I’m not talking about those of us who are musically-challenged – we don’t find it easy to sing. Even when we try really hard. I’m talking about those times in your life when you may not be in the mood for a song.
One time I am thinking about is when Mary the mother of Jesus was spoken to by the angel Gabriel.
She is young.
She is a good Jewish girl who grew up in a nice Jewish home acting in a proper Jewish way.
She is betrothed to Joseph.
Now she finds out that she is pregnant. It isn’t so easy to sing in a situation like that, is it.
Mary will skip her first period and begin to feel the first trimester of overwhelming tiredness and morning sickness. In other words it is going to become very real very quickly. Households being what they were at the time it won’t take long for her mother to notice what is happening – mother’s just know these things.
And then she will have to tell her family what happened. “I was just having an ordinary day when an angel came to me and said that God was going to make me have a child and the child is going to be the Messiah … honest”. Did her parents believe her? We are not told. But we do know that Joseph had it in his mind to divorce her – the stigma attached to the whole event is too much for him to bear.
With that quick summary in mind let’s turn to the Scriptures.
Read Luke 1:39-45
Mary is willing to be the Lord’s servant. But Mary …
… perhaps on the advice of family.
… perhaps just to get out of Nazareth for a while.
Mary takes a hurried trip to the hill country of Judea – a trip of about 160km. Elizabeth is a much older woman – a relative of Mary – who is now six months pregnant with John the Baptist.
When Mary arrives there is this amazing greeting.
The 6 month baby within Elizabeth leaps.
Elisabeth is filled with the Holy Spirit.
Mary is confirmed as the mother of the Lord.
In the weeks before arriving at the house of Elisabeth Mary’s world has been turned upside-down. God is definitely at work seeking to bring the Saviour into this world. But it is Mary who will wear the ridicule, the questioning of her morals, the judgements, the loneliness and the pain. Yet when this greeting happens Mary is able to regain perspective.
Mary’s life is very different. Life, as the mother of the Messiah, will be far from easy. There will be pain, suffering, grief, heart-ache. Indeed when Jesus is presented at the temple Simeon will prophesy about the life of Jesus – he also tells Mary that “a sword will pierce your own soul too” (Luke 2:35)
However, when the angel Gabriel told Mary she was pregnant her response was “I am the Lord’s servant” (Luke 1:38).
Mary is committed to God … no matter how difficult the service.
Mary is going to trust God’s plan … even when that plan is so unique.
When she remembers all this. When Mary holds onto the bigger picture. When that perspective is Mary’s priority. When that happens Mary is able to sing.
God puts a song into her heart.
A song that we can still read today.
Read Luke 1:46-56
That is a powerful song. Glorifying God. Rejoicing in the Saviour. Focusing on the mercy of God. A song in the middle of great difficulty.
There are days when it is hard to sing.
I’m not saying that, literally, a song is going to be an answer. Our life is not “The Sound of Music”. But I’m talking about those days when it is harder because we have said “I am the Lord’s Servant”.
When serving God calls for extreme commitment.
When walking in faith brings ridicule and judgment.
When the truth of your motives are questioned.
When your character is called into doubt.
When faith puts you onto a lonely road.
The capacity to have a song on our heart – to be able to look to God and be secure in His mercy – it isn’t always easy.
So how does Mary do it?
How does she turn to the Lord and glorify and rejoice?
She does it by understanding the dynamics of her situation.
My soul glorifies … my spirit rejoices … because my Saviour has been mindful of the humble state of His servant.
Mary is humble.
The humble do not see themselves better than others – for in God's sight sin makes us equally disdainful. The humble dare not judge others as being less able, knowing only God can make this judgement. The humble stand before God knowing they have nothing of value to offer. Conceding that only God can make us valuable.