Summary: A Christmas time message about Mary.
The Heart of an Unlikely Hero
By a show of hands:
-How many of you remember hearing the announcement of Nov 11, 1918 the end of WW1?
-How many of you remember hearing the headlines in May 1927, when Charles Lindbergh had successfully crossed the Atlantic Ocean as a solo pilot?
-How many of you remember hearing the news of Dec 7, 1941 when Pearl Harbor was bombed?
-How many of you remember hearing Nov 22, 1963 when President JFK was shot and killed?
-How many of you remember hearing about the tragedies of 911?
-How many of you have heard about the miraculous birth of God’s son to a young woman named Mary?
We all have! Because…
“As huge, staggering, and widely proclaimed as those modern news announcements were, each is almost inconsequential when compared to the startling, far-reaching announcement of Jesus Christ’s birth, which Mary heard from the angel Gabriel.” (MacArthur, John God in the Manger, pg 27)
Now what almost as startling as the announcement of God being born in a human body, is the person who the announcement was made to. Mary the mother of Jesus. Let me give you a little of background before we jump into the text.
First the angel Gabriel delivers a message to Elizabeth one of Mary’s relatives. The angel informs here that she is going to have a baby which is news because Elizabeth was one of Judea’s senior citizens. Then the angel Gabriel appears to Mary, and all of this happened over the course of a few months. Why is that important? Because, these two announcements, were proceeded by roughly 400 years of silence from God.
During this time “God’s people had not seen or heard from an angel…there had been no revelation from the Lord, no miracles, and certainly no sequence of miracles.” As John MacArthur says the angel Gabriel appeared twice, “both times with an extraordinary birth announcement to an ordinary person.” (pg 29)
And though Mary has always been considered one of the heroes of the Christian faith, I think it’s safe to say she was an unlikely hero. Why unlikely you might ask. First, she was most likely a young teenager. And even in our country’s history there aren’t many teenage heroes. Secondly, she was a woman, and there weren’t many female heroes in the Jewish patriarchal society. Third, she was a normal, everyday, ordinary person, that God decided to use in an extraordinary way! Now, keeping all that in mind let’s open our Bibles up to the book of Luke chapter 2, starting in verse 26. If you don’t have a Bible, just raise your hand and an usher will bring you one.
1. A Servant’s Heart
26In the sixth month, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, 27to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin's name was Mary. 28The angel went to her and said, "Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you."
Now I want to be honest with you this morning and say that I’ve never personally had an angel show up with special news for me. If that did happen I have no idea how I would react. Imagine how you might react if someone showed up claiming to be an angel. I imagine that I would be rather excited, if I believed, but listen to how Mary responded.
29Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be.
Sometimes I walk into the living room and say, “Honey, I love you.” And occasionally my wife looks at me skeptically and says, “Alright, what do you want?” Husbands have your wives ever wrongly accused you of a having false motive?
Have you ever noticed how salespeople will flatter you about your appearance, or your taste, or your career, or your education, or whatever in an attempt to get you to buy something? Sometimes your boss will come up to you and say, “You’re one of the only people I can really count on…” Whenever someone starts out with flattery you kind of expect them to ask you for something.
And you almost get the impression that Mary had some of these thoughts. She was greatly troubled and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. Greatly troubled literally means that Mary was disturbed, perplexed, confused.” She was probably wondering why in the world this angel was talking to her! Wouldn’t you? She may have even been scared. In the next verse the angel says…
30But the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. 31You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. 32He 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, 33and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end."