Summary: God’s call will effect change, challenge, and will leave us with a choice as to how we’ll respond to it. It certainly did in Mary's world!
Luke 1:38, 46-56
Intro: (audio of Roosevelt’s speech: “Yesterday, December 7, 1941 - a date which will live in infamy - the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.”)
Last week we remembered the 7th of December. It was a day that started like any other for many people, and ended up a day that changed the course of our nation’s history.
Do you remember a day that changed your life? Some of you do. Some of you remember the date, what you were wearing, who was with you. You weren’t planning it. It may have been a great thing, it may have been a tragedy, but there was a day for some of you that you look back at and say, “That day changed my entire life.” Up to that point, things were moving along, fairly stable. You got out of bed, started your day like usual. Your life was pretty uncomplicated, then BAM it all gets changed. Good news, bad news, accident, promotion, met somebody, lost somebody, whatever – how many of you have had a day like that? (a lot)
When you consider how many people have been there and done that, you might want to know what to do about it when it comes. How do you handle a day like that, where your entire life is disrupted?
This morning I want to point you to the day when that happened to Mary. Mary went from zero to hero in one visit, on a day she had no idea that her entire future would change. She went from being a nobody, peasant girl in the no-account village of Nazareth, to being a front line element of the most significant event in all of human history. How do you handle the upheaval of your entire life? Let’s take a look at the life of Mary, and since she was “expecting,” I want to suggest what we should be expecting in order to handle it as gracefully as she did.
I. Expect Change
Mary was an engaged girl, probably a teenager. Sometime within the next year, she and Joseph were to be married. Life was shaping up pretty well. Now doubt, she had made plans for her future like any other engaged girl. They weren’t going to be rich from a carpenter’s income, but Joseph was a good man, and they loved each other dearly. She was going about her day, like she normally would. Then Gabriel appears – Gabriel, God’s messenger,
But the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. 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, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end."
“This can’t be! How? I’m a virgin! These kinds of things don’t happen.“
Now, Mary may not understand, but she believes it. To help her understand how God is in control of such things, the angel tells her that her old cousin Elizabeth is 6 months pregnant. Elizabeth, who could never have children, was with child. Nothing is impossible with God.
Right away she travels to see Elizabeth. Sure enough, Elizabeth, way past the age of having children, is already past that awkward stage in pregnancy where people are hesitant to ask if you’re expecting. When Mary comes in the house and says her “Shalom,” the baby inside Elizabeth reacts too, and Elizabeth is filled with the HS and affirms everything the angel had said. It’s just one more way that God is confirming what He has told Mary. She’s going to bear the Messiah. Her life is never going to be the way it was before.
Let’s read her response. It’s often called “The Magnifcat” from the Latin word for “magnifiy”:
Luke 1:46-56 (NIV)
And Mary said:
"My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me--holy is his name. His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation. He has performed mighty deeds with his arm; he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts. He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble. He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty. He has helped his servant Israel, remembering to be merciful to Abraham and his descendants forever, even as he said to our fathers.