Summary: Mary, a young virgin girl, is pregnant. Though the pregnancy is of divine action she is still in danger of human repercussions. Yet in the midst of what could be a tumultuous time for this young girl she chooses to focus on God and make Him bigger.
Good morning Odessa First! Merry Christmas! We are so blessed with all the Christmas decorations – it just looks beautiful around here. I guess you could say, “It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas!”
First Time Guests – Introduction
Christmas is my favorite holiday. Not just because we are celebrating the incarnation of Christ but for a whole host of reasons.
One of my favorite things about Christmas is the carols we sing. Last Sunday we sang my favorite Christmas carol – “Silent Night.” I asked many of you what your favorite carols were and I got a lot of responses. One of those responses was “We Wish You a Merry Christmas.”
(TRANSITION) Let’s sing that song together this morning.
Last week we looked at Zechariah’s Song found in the gospel of Luke. Zechariah, a Jewish priest, sang a beautiful song of praise for the birth of his son John. This is the same John who would become known as “John the Baptist” or “John the Baptizer.” John was, as Zechariah sang, becomes the one who show others who Jesus is and points them toward salvation.
Today we are going to look at another song of praise found in Luke’s gospel called Mary’s Song. But before we do let’s get a sense of the story we are about to be a part of…
In this story there are 3 main characters: Mary, Gabriel (an angel of God) and Elizabeth. There is also 1 other character of whom this story revolves around: Jesus.
TELL THE STORY OF LUKE 1:26-38
Most of us, even if you are not a Christian, have some familiarity with this story. What we are not necessarily familiar with is what Mary does after she is visited by Gabriel.
TELL THE STORY OF LUKE 1:39-45
(The main speaker is Elizabeth who feels blessed that God would choose her to know this wonderful thing about to happen).
Overwhelmed by the moment and the miracle of being chosen to carry the Son of God in her womb, Mary breaks forth in song.
“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, just as he promised our ancestors.”
A. Mary’s Song Came From A Troubled Heart (Luke 1:28-35)
I know this may sound strange given the beauty of the song and how much it glorifies God. But stop for a moment and consider the circumstances Mary has found herself in.
Sure, she is highly favored of the Lord but being a pregnant teenage girl in the Middle-Eastern culture of her day did not bring any favor from her neighbors.
It is quite possible that Mary could have been accused of adultery. She was engaged or pledged to Joseph.
A Jewish marriage of that day involved 3 steps.
• First, the two families had to agree to the union of the man and woman
• Second, once they were in agreement a public announcement would be made and the couple was considered “pledged.”
o This is similar to what we call “engagement” today. However, unlike today, the engagement could only be broken if one person died or asked for a divorce (even though sexual relationships during the pledge time were not permitted).
• Third, the couple would get married and begin living together.
Because of this tradition (which I pray will live on in our lives as well) the fact that Mary was pregnant could be construed as her being unfaithful to Joseph. This would allow Joseph to ask for a divorce. It also meant, according to Jewish civil law, Mary could be stoned to death.
Yet in the midst of all of this confusion and in the likely hood of being misunderstood Mary sings with confidence in her God.
• Hardship, trial, temptation, struggle, illness and more try to rob us of our song.
• But like Mary we have to place our faith in our God who will walk with us through every one of life’s ups and downs.
• Like the song writer says,
He never promised that the cross would not get heavy