Summary: Mary showed devotion, strength, guidance, and patience as she raised Jesus to fulfil the purpose for which He was born.
A Mother to Die For
Abraham Lincoln was a great statesman who is credited with ending slavery and holding a nation together. After he had risen to power he is quoted as saying “All I am or hope to be, I owe to my angel mother.” You’ve heard the worn out riddle, “What came first, the chicken or the egg?” And the answer is of course, the mother. Before there was Abraham Lincoln, there was his mother. Before there was Bill Gates, there was his mother. Before there was Billy Graham, there was his mother. Before there was Mel Gibson, there was his mother. Now I can’t tell you in detail what part these women played in the success of their children. But they each played a part. They each contributed to the character of children who would one day make notable contributions in the world.
Even before there was Jesus, there was his mother Mary. Mary undoubtedly played a key role in preparing Jesus for his ministry. This morning, we’ll look at Mary’s life and the character that helped her raise the most influential man in human history.
1. A Mother of Devotion
I believe Mary was first of all a mother of devotion. Luke 1:26-38 says:
Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the descendants of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. And coming in, he said to her, "Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you." But she was very perplexed at this statement, and kept pondering what kind of salutation this was. The angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary; for you have found favor with God. "And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus. "He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David; and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and His kingdom will have no end." Mary said to the angel, "How can this be, since I am a virgin?" The angel answered and said to her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy Child shall be called the Son of God. "And behold, even your relative Elizabeth has also conceived a son in her old age; and she who was called barren is now in her sixth month. "For nothing will be impossible with God." And Mary said, "Behold, the bondslave of the Lord; may it be done to me according to your word." And the angel departed from her.”
Mary had an unwavering devotion to God. She did not bat an eye, she did not balk, she did not shirk from the huge task God placed before her. Be it done to me as you say. Yes Lord, I’ll do it. Maybe she answered quickly because she didn’t really understand. She didn’t realize the whispers and stares that would follow her for the next 30 years. Maybe she accepted the challenge so readily because she didn’t know Jewish law very well. She didn’t know that this virgin birth opened her up to be divorced and shamed by Joseph. Or maybe she did understand, she did know what God was asking. She did have some idea of the cost, and she was willing to pay the price anyway. And that’s why God chose her—because He knew that Mary’s heart was completely devoted to Him, and that she would be completely devoted to the task of raising the young Messiah.
When many of you mothers here accepted the challenge of babyhood, you might not have understood what you were getting yourself into. My wife would say that she dove into motherhood, and didn’t realize how deep the water was until she had delivered boy number 3 and boy number 4 was on the way. Nobody can adequately express how late the nights and early the mornings will be. Nobody can prepare you for the constant attention a baby requires. If a mom really knew what she was getting in to, do you think she would still do it? …Yes, I think she would still do it, because a mom has a devotion that is unmatched.
2. A Mother of Strength
Mary was a mother of great devotion. If we proceed through the life of the young Christ, we can also see that Mary was a mother of great strength. This passage we are about to read in Matthew Chapter 2 happens shortly after Jesus’ birth. Remember the Magi with their gifts have come to visit the Christ. They have followed a star that came to rest over the house where Joseph, Mary and the toddler Jesus where staying: