6-Week Series: Against All Odds

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Summary: In week one we saw how Jesus set a good example. In week two we saw how Paul set a good example. Last week we saw that we can learn from bad examples, too. Today, we'll finish the series by looking at some more good examples so we can set a good example.

SETTING A GOOD EXAMPLE (part four)

In week one we saw how Jesus set a good example. In week two we saw how Paul set a good example. Last week we saw that we can learn from bad examples, too. Today, we'll finish the series by looking at some more good examples so we can set a good example.

1) Mary was a good example.

I've talked about Jesus and Paul but what about the women? Although there are many women in the bible I could focus on, I will just focus on one-Jesus' mother-Mary. And although I could focus on multiple incidents in the life of Mary, I'm only going to deal with one-the birth announcement in Luke chapter one. Let's see what we can learn about Mary from this account.

Luke 1:26-38, "In the sixth month, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.” Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be.

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.”

“How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?” 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. 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. For nothing is impossible with God.” “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May it be to me as you have said.” Then the angel left her."

We don't know much about Mary before the birth announcement but we can learn something about her character from how she was addressed by Gabriel. She was a woman of godly character since she was highly favored by God. Some manuscripts add at the end of vs. 28, "Blessed are you above all other women". Having the responsibility of bearing and raising the Son of God is no small thing. This holy obligation would not have been left to just anyone.

Not that God didn't equip Mary and Joseph to be Jesus' parents after this point, but Mary would've already possessed some virtuous and godly qualities beforehand. God did a work in Mary in preparation for the birth announcement. That's what God wants to do with us. He is doing a work in us. And we, like Mary, need to be willing participants in this endeavor so we can receive our special calling.

Obviously Mary wasn't serving God to receive a special calling, she had no idea this was coming. Likewise, we don't serve God for the purpose of receiving a special calling, but God does want to prepare us to be able to receive a special commission. God wasn't going to entrust the gift of the Messiah to just any woman. Likewise, God will not entrust his precious work to just anyone. That would not be wise.

You don't give something precious to someone who isn't ready to handle it. Kinda like the casting pearls before swine reference. If we are still in our 'swine' stage then we're not ready to receive any 'pearls'. Mary was a good example of godly character, which prepared her to receive this blessed news.

Next we see that after Mary receives this amazing declaration from Gabriel she asks how this would be possible. Mary's question is not one of doubt but perplexity. Earlier in chapter one, you read about Gabriel's announcement to Zechariah that he and his wife Elizabeth were going to have a son. Zechariah's response did not please Gabriel.

Luke 1:18-20, "Zechariah asked the angel, “How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is well along in years.” The angel answered, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to tell you this good news. And now you will be silent and not able to speak until the day this happens, because you did not believe my words, which will come true at their proper time.”

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