Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: Despite being the Mother of Jesus we get the feeling that Mary was quite an ordinary person. Yet, when the angel appeared to her, she has an extraordinary response of faith. Our call is to know that Jesus brings ordinary people into His family.

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Luke 1:26-38; Matthew 1:16

Mary – Ordinary Yet Extraordinary.

Here is a question we don’t ask very often … “How would you react if an angel spoke to you?”

Angels are constantly in the presence of God.

Angels are holy and have not been tainted by sin.

Angels know exactly what to do all the time without temptation or distraction.

Most importantly, angels are trusted messengers of God.

Now you would imagine that when the angels come and talk to you … well that has got to be one of the best moments of your life. Yet, there is one person in the Bible who had an angel talk to them and they didn’t get excited at all.

Bible Reading:- Luke 1:26-38

This is a story about Mary, the earthly mother of Jesus. She is the last of five women mentioned in the genealogy of Jesus. Of all the women mentioned in the genealogy Mary’s name is the most natural. She is the only human directly involved in His conception and birth. Yet the fact remains that Scripture does not tell us enough about Mary to write a biography – not even a short one.

We don’t know what she looked like.

We are told little about the way she raised Jesus.

We don’t even know how, when or where she died.

We know more about many other women in the Bible than we know about Mary.

And did you notice the way she responds when the angel speaks to her?

Mary was greatly troubled.

Not excited.

Not awestruck

Not going around telling everyone this is the greatest day of her life.

She’s troubled … and to be honest she has good reason to be troubled.

She lives in the town of Nazareth – a sleepy country town situated in a high valley among a mountain range. For most people at that time life was hard. No electricity. No running water. Everything was a real chore – and Mary would have been expected to do her share of the difficult and heavy work.

She still lives at home with her parents, even though she was betrothed to Joseph. The betrothal time was like an engagement, but more binding. It was consummated by a priest and only a divorce could break it. Usually girls were betrothed at a young age – from 14 onwards. Often the men were much older.

That’s Mary. A young woman, living in a backwoods town, at home with her parents, anticipating her wedding to a local tradesman and just minding her own business. But there’s not a single word describing Mary’s virtues or her piety. Nor any word to explain why God might have chosen her.

Does she seem … dare I say it … quite ordinary to you? You would think that Mary would be a little exceptional. Yet that isn’t how the Bible tells it. Mary is just an ordinary woman whose day has suddenly gotten very interesting. Which is precisely the point. The issue is not Mary’s piety, beauty, or worthiness, but simply God’s favour. Which is why Gabriel comes with the news, Greetings, you who are highly favoured.

To us it seems like a very cryptic message; but Mary knows exactly what is happening here. Many Jewish women would pray that they would be the mother of the Messiah. Mary knows that God is fulfilling a promise which has been waited on for centuries. In other circumstances this would be good news. Except, in this case, the timing seems a little bit wrong. Don’t forget, Mary is still a single woman … engaged but single. She might be highly favoured, but her life has just become very complicated.

Joseph’s reaction to the news will be very strong. In fact we know that he would have divorced her … because breaking off a betrothal required a divorce … he would have divorced her were it not for the angel who also came to him.

The reaction of the family is not going to be that easy either. She is now a disgrace to the family.

On top of this there is the persecution and legal consequences. For the rest of her life she could be branded as an adulteress and even a prostitute. Always there will be the snickers, laughter and mockery. Even worse, since the Law allowed the death penalty for pre-marital intimacy, Mary faces the awful prospect of death by stoning.

Mary may be highly favoured, but this ordinary girl has just had her life turned upside-down. Now everyone is going to think she has poor morals, and that she is far from holy. It is only when we see this truth we really begin to understand what the coming of Jesus is all about.

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