Summary: We often minimize the importance and impact of Mary, the mother of Jesus, because of fear that honoring and learning from her will lead to idolization, yet we can learn much from this pivotal Biblical figure.
Mary – Jesus’ First Disciple
December 7, 2008
Mark Lowry, the Christian singer and comedian who wrote the song we just heard, observed that the silence of Jesus’ mother Mary at the cross always amazed him. If he were being crucified in the middle of town, Lowry says, his mother would have "Pitched a fit", but Mary never said a word. Lowry wondered if maybe what made the difference for her was remembering back to that 1st Christmas. Remembering touching his little hands and feet and counting his fingers and toes. Lowry says: "I wonder if she realized then that those were the same fingers that had scooped out the oceans and formed the seas. Mary probably counted those little toes - I wonder if she realized that those were the same feet that had walked on streets of gold and had been worshipped by angels. Those little lips were the same lips that had spoken the world into existence. When Mary kissed her little baby, she wasn’t just kissing another baby - she was kissing the face of God. 33 years later she’s standing on a hillside watching blood pour from His veins, from the side of her own son... and she didn’t open her mouth. What a great testimony to the fact that He wasn’t just a great prophet. He wasn’t just a great preacher. He wasn’t just a great teacher. He was the virgin born son of God. He was our Savior. And... He didn’t just die for us, He died for His own mother. The baby boy she had delivered on that 1st Christmas was now on a cross delivering her.
Think about this. In a very real way, Mary was Jesus’ first disciple. She was the first to respond to His call on her life. The first to say yes to His plan for her.
Remember the question we hear related so often to scandal? We wonder how high up a scandal goes, and people begin asking this: What did so and so know, and when did he know it?
Mark Lowry’s questions in these thoughts and this song, ask a similar question worth thinking about this morning. What did Mary know, and when did she know it? We can learn some of what she knew from this passage.
Luke 1:26-56 (NIV) 26 In the sixth month, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, 27 to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 The angel went to her and said, "Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you." 29 Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 30 But the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. 31 You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. 32 He 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, 33 and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end." 34 "How will this be," Mary asked the angel, "since I am a virgin?" 35 The angel answered, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. 36 Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be barren is in her sixth month. 37 For nothing is impossible with God." 38 "I am the Lord’s servant," Mary answered. "May it be to me as you have said." Then the angel left her. 39 At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, 40 where she entered Zechariah’s home and greeted Elizabeth. 41 When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. 42 In a loud voice she exclaimed: "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear!
43 But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44 As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. 45 Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished!" 46 And Mary said: "My soul glorifies the Lord 47 and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, 48 for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, 49 for the Mighty One has done great things for me-- holy is his name. 50 His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation. 51 He has performed mighty deeds with his arm; he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts. 52 He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble. 53 He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty. 54 He has helped his servant Israel, remembering to be merciful 55 to Abraham and his descendants forever, even as he said to our fathers." 56 Mary stayed with Elizabeth for about three months and then returned home.