Summary: Exposition of Luke 1:26-38
Have Yourself A Mary Christmas
Adapted from the sermon Christmas According to Mary by Jonathan McLeod
Mothers can teach us a lot if we will listen to them.
Several years ago the Knoxville TN Sentinel newspaper carried the story of police chief Phil Keith who during a televised city council meeting was startled to see his mother’s number come up on his beeper. He rushed from the press table, took out his cell phone and anxiously dialed her number. “Phil Keith, are you chewing gum?” asked his mom, who had been watching the council meeting on cable TV. “Yes, ma’am.” “Well, it looks awful. Spit it out.” What could he do? Keith dutifully removed the gum and went back to his meeting.
Some of you have mothers that might do something like that. Some of you are mothers that would do something like that. If you’re a mom, one of the reasons God has you on this earth is to teach your kids lessons for life. Here’s a question you might not ever have asked yourself: what did Jesus’ mother teach Him?
Mary was the one person on earth closer to Jesus than anybody else. She knew Jesus in a way that nobody else ever has or ever will know Him---not just as Savior, but as her son, not just as almighty God, but as the helpless baby she held in her arms. She was probably a teenager when she gave birth to the Lord, but she showed a wisdom, maturity, and love that many older people never attain. Some (especially in the RC church) overestimate the importance of Mary, lifting her up almost equal with God. But I think Protestants sometimes underestimate the importance of Jesus’ mother as a model for how God works in the life of ordinary people just like you and me. Tonight I want us to look at 3 lessons we can learn from the life of Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ, which are found in Luke 1:26-38.
1. NO MATTER WHO YOU ARE, THE LORD CAN USE YOU. (v. 26-27)
Do you remember the last time you filled out a job application? You have to give them all your vital statistics, summarize your background, your education, your experience. Many of them now ask that all important question: what is it that makes you uniquely qualified for this position? How do you answer that question without coming off as a snob? Employers assume your availability, but what they really want to discover is your liabilities (things that would make you unsuited for the job) and your usability- what skills, talents will help you do the job.
But God doesn’t operate this way. Mary teaches us God is not as interested as your abilities as He is in your availability. No matter who you are, God can use you. Vs. 26-27 paint a picture of an ordinary girl with some serious liabilities:
• She was young. Mary was pledged to be married. At that time, it was customary for girls to be engaged at 12-13 years of age (around the time of reaching puberty). One reason was to ensure girls maintained their virginity until marriage. It’s very possible that Mary could have been as young as 12-13, or as old as 16 when Gabriel visited her. You and I might think this girl is too young for God to use her, but apparently God didn’t think so. But also
• She was poor. We read Luke 2:22-24 that Mary and Joseph took baby Jesus to the temple to be circumcised. They were required to bring one of two offerings: either a lamb for a burnt offering and a dove or a pigeon for a sin offering. If a lamb was too expensive, the parents could bring a second dove or pigeon instead. Mary and Joseph brought the two doves, because they couldn’t afford a lamb. You and I might have thought this family is too poor to provide for Jesus but apparently God didn’t think so. Mary was young, and poor, but also
• She was from Nazareth. Apparently, Mary was a young girl from the wrong side of the tracks. Nazareth was a town with a bad reputation. Remember what Nathanael said when He learned Jesus from Nazareth?
John 1:46 And Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” …
You and I might have thought No way. No telling what this girl grew up seeing and hearing and doing in a bad town like that. Apparently, God didn’t take this into consideration in choosing Mary to be mother to His Son.
Mary was young, poor, and from Nazareth—all characteristics make her seem unusable by God. But God chose Mary for one of the most important jobs He ever asked anyone to do. Through God’s choice of Mary, He teaches us: no matter who you are, the Lord can use you.