Summary: Why Mary? why not Mary? God can do extraordinary things with ordinary people.
We have been looking at the Why’s of Christmas. We considered first of all, why Christmas at all? Why did Christ come? We then looked at the timing of Jesus’ coming, why did God pick out that particular time in history 2,000 years ago for Jesus to come? The fact is I have a lot a questions. I don’t understand all the ways and things of God. But I do know and believe God has a purpose for everything He chooses to do.
Today we will look at Mary, the mother of Jesus. Why did God pick her? A poor young peasant girl from the back country of Israel. Why? And why the virgin birth? We will explore these questions today in our focal passage:
Luke 1:26–38 (NKJV)
Nobody wants to be ordinary. To be ordinary is to have no exceptional ability; to be average. No one wants to be average, right? No one wants to be of average height or make average money. No one wants an to date an average girl or guy or drive an average car. Most of the time we want something that makes us stand out from the crowd. We want to feel a notch better. In reality most of us are average. Most of us do not stand out from the crowd in either good or bad ways. That is what average means. Let’s talk about the ordinary things from our scripture text today and then what makes it not just ordinary but extraordinary. For instances:
The town of Nazareth is ordinary. A couple of thousand people at the most. Nazareth was an ordinary or average village in Galilee. It wasn't the seat of anything. It wasn't an important place at all. All of the major trade routes missed Nazareth. It was about 70 miles north of Jerusalem depending on what point in Jerusalem we begin, which was quite a ways if walking. It still is fifteen miles west of the north tip of the Sea of Galilee and about twenty-two miles from the Mediterranean. So somewhere in the middle between the tip of the Sea of Galilee and the Mediterranean sits this town. Nazareth had no reputation at all:
John 1:46a (NKJV) And Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?”
In fact, if anything, Nazareth was despised.
Mary was ordinary. Nothing special about her. Even her name was ordinary – How many Mary’s do we read about in the NT? The Scriptures say nothing of her piety either before Gabriel came to her or after. She was a poor girl engaged to be married to a poor man.
Joseph was a craftsman, which may include carpentry. The word we translate “carpenter” is "tektons" in the Greek, which also means builder. Joseph probably worked in stone as well and if you have ever been to that area around Nazareth, you will see more stones and rocks than you will see trees and wood. Many men were employed as builders.
About 3 miles from Nazareth was the Roman city of Sepphoris which was being built durning that time. Joseph (and later Jesus as a young man) was probably employed there as a day laborer. So Joseph was a poor man. And we know Joseph and Mary were poor because of their offering when they went to the temple to dedicate Jesus, Mary had to offer a sacrifice for her purification.
Luke 2:23–24 (NKJV) (as it is written in the law of the Lord, “Every male who opens the womb shall be called holy to the LORD”), 24 and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the law of the Lord, “A pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.”
According to Levitcus 12:6 Mary needed to sacrifice a lamb, but in Levitus 12:8, if she was too poor to bring a lamb, then she could offer “A pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.” Mary and Joseph were poor. They were common, even though they were descendances of King David, so were many others and there was nothing special about them, at least to the rest of the world. Mary and Joseph were betrothed, which is like an engagement but more binding. They were considered married except they did not live together and the marriage had not been consummated. They were like so many others, except for one fact: God chose them to be the parent of Jesus.
Luke 1:26–28 (NKJV) Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, 27 to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 And having come in, the angel said to her, “Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!”