Summary: Christmas Characters 1 of 6 - What can we glean from the life of Mary and apply to our lives as Christians?
Christmas Characters – Mary - 2nd December 2007 am
I. Who was Mary? –
Mary – same as Miriam,
From Royal family of David – through Nathan (Luke 3:31)
II. Where was Mary?
Verses 26-27 – Nazareth
When Gabriel appears to Mary, she is probably about 14 or 15 years old. She is betrothed to Joseph, the contract being as solemn and as binding as marriage itself. According to the text, she has maintained her sexual purity, as well as her spiritual purity. She is living close to the Lord and is living a good life before the Lord. Mary probably had her life all planned out and things were going well. A bright future is awaiting her; she has everything for which to live.
I really like it when my life goes according to plan. There are times when we sail the calm seas of life, but those days seem few and far between when compared to the days when trials surround us on every side.
Verses 28-37 - When Gabriel makes His announcement to Mary, her life is immediately turned upside down. Mary is called upon to bear shame, reproach and humiliation for the glory of God. Her’s is to be the greatest honour ever afforded to woman, but at the same time it carried with it a tremendous social disgrace. (Very much unlike our day!)
Often, God will allow things to happen in your life and mine that are hard to bear and hard to understand, yet the Lord sends them our way so that we might grow in Him and come to know Him in a better way. When these times arise, it is easy to question the Lord and His judgment. It is always easy to question but it is far nobler to comply with the Lord.
You see, one inescapable part of being a Christian is the area of cross bearing, Matthew 16:24 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. No one said such a life was easy, but the end results are worth the trials of this life!
III. What was she like?
A. Faithful – Luke 1:27
We are told that the angel came to “a virgin.” The word used refers to a female that is sexually pure. In fact, the virginity of Mary is affirmed twice in verse 27. Contrary to what liberals and others may say, the word does not simply speak of a “young woman,” but it speaks of one who has never engaged in sexual intercourse. The vessel God chose to use to bring His Son into this world was a perfectly pure vessel.
Why is this important? It is important because God promised that the Saviour of humanity would be “the seed of the woman,” Gen. 3:15. This simply means that God would send the Saviour into the world through the body of a woman without the aid of a human male. Why? Rom. 5:12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: Just as Adam passed along his human nature he also passed along his sinful nature to his children, they inherited his sin and continued to pass it on down the line.
God’s plan to send a Saviour into the world involved Him sending a pure Saviour, Who would not inherit a physical body and a human nature, but not a sinful nature. God accomplished this through the virgin birth of Jesus, Gal. 4:4 But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law,
Mary was a young woman who had been prepared for this moment. History tells us that every faithful Jewish girl was looking for the messiah. We are also told that every Jewish girl hoped that she would be the vessel chosen through which God would send His Messiah into the world.
B. Submissive – Luke 1:38
Despite the shame that would come her way, despite the humiliation she would bear, Mary was willing to submit her life to the will of the Lord. By doing so, she has set an example of obedience and surrender that every child of God should follow.
When the angel appears to Mary, she is amazed and she is startled, but she is a woman prepared to respond to the will of the Lord in faith and faithfulness, Luke 1:38. Mary was ready and willing to do all the Lord asked of her.
Imagine the faith required for Mary to respond to the Lord as she did. For a young unmarried woman to become pregnant in that day was to be the focus of shame, disgrace and a possible death sentence. But, Mary was willing to bear the shame and the burden of being the vessel through which God would send His Son into the world.