Summary: A sermon on the ordinary things of Luke 1:26-38 (Some material adapted from a sermon by John MacArthur)


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Nobody wants to be ordinary. To be ordinary is to have no exceptional ability; to be average.

No one wants to be average, right? No one wants to be of average height or make average money. No one wants to date an average girl or guy or drive an average car. Most of the time we want something that makes us stand out from the crowd. We want to feel a notch better.

In reality most of us are average. Most of us do not stand out from the crowd in either good or bad ways. That is what average means.

Thesis: Let’s talk about the ordinary things from this text and then what makes it not just ordinary but extraordinary.

For instances:

The town of Nazareth is ordinary

A couple of thousand people at the most.

Nazareth was an ordinary or average village in Galilee. It wasn't the seat of anything. It wasn't an important place at all. All of the major trade routes missed Nazareth. It was about 70 miles north of Jerusalem depending on what point in Jerusalem we begin, which was quite a ways if walking. It still is fifteen miles west of the north tip of the Sea of Galilee and about twenty-two miles from the Mediterranean. So somewhere in the middle between the tip of the Sea of Galilee and the Mediterranean sits this town.

John MacArthur- It's amazing to go there. I've been there many times. And it's remarkable for its plainness. When I have a vision of Nazareth in my mind, I see rough little bumpy streets, this is modern Nazareth, with people working on cars stuck half way out in the street from little garages. It's just a plain place.

John 1:46- "Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?" Nathanael asked.

The situation was ordinary

Mary was pledged to be married or betrothed to a man named Joseph.

B. According to Roman law the minimum age for girls to be engaged and married was twelve. That's right, twelve. For boys, whom we all know develop slower, it was fourteen. Augustus, the emperor, had set the minimum age for engagement at 10. And Jewish practice basically followed that. Girls were engaged around twelve or thirteen and married after the engagement or the betrothal was over. The reason they did this it was to guarantee their virginity. As soon as they had reached puberty they would be engaged and then soon marry.

This engagement is not the same as our engagement. Betrothal was a binding, legal relationship and it was arranged by the parents. It was a legal document, parents agreed that their children would marry and it occurred soon after puberty. There was no sexual relationship during the period of betrothal which usually lasted a year. The couple did not live together, but only death or divorce could sever the contract. And if the man died, the betrothed girl would be considered a widow.

During the year of betrothal the girl would prove her faithfulness by not giving herself to anyone else. She would prove her purity. And during that same year the boy would prepare a home for her, a place for her, usually with an addition to his father's house.

At the end of that year when they were 13 or 14, there would be a wedding feast that usually lasted seven days when everybody came together and celebrate...the kind of thing that Jesus was at in John 2. It's recorded that He was at a wedding, remember, and they ran out of wine because it lasted so long. At the end of the seven days the friend of the bridegroom handed him his bride and everybody left and the marriage was consummated.

We can imagine that Joseph was older than Mary because he was a carpenter. Had to learn the trade and that took some time. The people of Nazareth knew him as the carpenter because they called Jesus the carpenter’s son. Sometimes if the man or his family was poor he would have to raise money until he could get married. The man had to supply a place to live. We see Mary in the gospels but we don’t see Joseph after Jesus reaches the age of 12.

Only thing special about Joseph was that he was a descendent of David. But how many could trace their ancestry to David? Mary could and this makes us think others could as well.

Like brides-to-be everywhere, she can hardly think of anything but their wedding -- the guest list, the decorations, the food, the music, and her dress. Mary had never been happier. This was the most exciting time of her life. But it was typical, ordinary.

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