Mary- The Favored One
THE CHARACTERS OF CHRISTMAS
Mary- The Favored One
Text: Luke 1:26-39
Intro: There are several Mary’s mentioned in the Bible:
1- Mary of Rome (Rom. 16:6) She served Paul and those who traveled with him and moved to Rome.
2- Mary mother of John Mark (Acts. 12:12). She was prominent in the church at Jerusalem. Her home had been used to hold services in the early church.
3- Mary of Bethany- Her brother’s name was Lazarus and his sister Martha. She sat at Jesus feet and fed on his words while her sister Martha was busy in the kitchen.
4- Mary mother of James and Joseph (Matt. 27:56).). She is called several names in the Bible. She witnessed the crucifixion, saw his entombment, joined in securing spices to anoint the body of Jesus, saw the empty tomb, and heard the angelic announcement, "He is not here, He is risen."
5- Mary Magdalene. She is the one who was healed by Jesus and had seven demons drive from her. She followed Jesus, saw the crucifixion, stood by the cross, located the bomb, came early to the tomb to anoint the body of Jesus with spices, was the first to see the risen Lord, and reported the resurrection to the disciples.
6- Mary the mother of Jesus. This is the Mary with which we will spend our time today since she is so important in having to do in a major role with the Christmas story.
I am going to make several general observations about her:
1- She was a cousin to Elizabeth, who gave birth to John the Baptist.
2- She was probably of the tribe of Levi.
3- Her parents were Joachim of Nazareth and Anna of Bethlehem. The only one of her family mentioned in Scripture is her sister (Jn. 19:25), who was Salome, wife of Zebedee.
4- Tradition says that that Joseph was a widower, well up in years, already having children that were grown.
Mary is a very special person. I do not believe that you are to pray to Mary or that you are to worship Mary. I will explain why I say that in just a little while, but she is a very important person, because in her womb was conceived supernaturally the very Son of God, God in-flesh. That no doubt makes her a very special person.
Since Mary is so prominent in the Christmas story, let’s try to learn some things from her life, not just in the sense of trying to state some facts about her, but that we might see some things in her that we all need in our lives as we live the Christian life from day to day in the present.
Let’s look at several things that stood out to me as I recently read the Gospel account of Luke Chapter 1. There are many more things could be said about Mary, but these are some things that I believe the Lord would have me as your pastor to share with you today.
- HER MORAL PURITY- (v.27)
There is a very important word in verse 27. The word is "virgin." Some translations have tried to water that word down and just called her a "young woman." No, I believe the proper word is used here "a virgin." She had never known man in a physical or sexual way because she had not been married.
- She had to be a virgin because the prophets said she would be.
Isa 7:14 Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.
It was a part of fulfilling the Scriptures concerning the birth of the Messiah.
- She had to be a virgin because of the holiness of Christ.
Angels in glory had flown before him, folded their wings, and cried, "Holy, holy, holy."
That is important, because it was her place to give birth to the Messiah, to the Son of God, who was infinitely holy, so it was essential to the purity and the holiness of God that she be a virgin.
This way Jesus could be born and assume a human body, and still not have any taint of sin in his human nature.
- She had to be a virgin because the birth had to unmistakably be of God and not of man. If she had never had physical relations with a man, and had a child, then it would have to be a supernatural act of God. Since she was a virgin, it narrowed the possibilities of the origin of the birth of Jesus down to God alone.
There is a lesson here for you young men and women in this service today. Keep yourself pure morally. Do not give your body to another person before you make the marriage commitment and give your marriage vows. The Bible says to you to "Flee fornication" (1 Cor. 6:18).
Our age is such a loose age morally. We live in a society where many say, sex before marriage is OK, just protect yourself. No, protected or unprotected, sex before marriage is a sin before a holy and a righteous God. Did you hear what I said? IT IS A SIN BEFORE A HOLY AND RIGHTEOUS GOD.
- HER SPECIAL FAVOR(v.28)
Luke 1:28 states: "And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, [thou that art] highly favoured, the Lord [is] with thee: blessed [art] thou among women."
Luke 1:30 declares, "Thou has found favor with God."
Note the phrases, "highly favored" and the words "blessed art thou among women."
The Bible says Mary is blessed among women, but not above women. Mary is not to be exalted to a place just under the Holy Trinity. No, she was merely blessed "among women".
The words "highly favored" could be rendered "highly graced."
If you check that word "highly favored" out, you will find it comes from the word (charis) which means (grace). Grace is simply the "unearned or undeserved favor of God." She was a godly woman, but it was God’s grace, not Mary’s character, that made her God’s choice. There were other godly women who were virgins, but in grace God simply chose her because that was His plan and desire.
In Ephesians 1:6 the Bible says, "To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved."
We are chosen and in the family of God, not because God saw anything good in us, but because he chose to extend his favor and grace toward us, who were nothing but hell deserving sinners.
That same phrase "highly favored" can rightly refer to all of God’s people.
I read recently about a notorious burglar, who sat in a cell in a St. Louis jail. He saw the headlines of the newspaper, which was read by another prisoner, that said, "Jailer at Phillipi Caught."
He asked to read it and then fumed with rage, as he realized it was the subject of a sermon D. L. Moody had just preached in that city. He had noticed repeatedly the words, "Believer on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved." He got down on his knees and he was a changed man. Going to New York he sought to earn an honest living but failed. Return to St. Louis, an officer seized him and brought him to headquarters. There he was informed that New York police officers had shadowed him and reported that he had proved himself straight and honest. He was given a position as a deputy sheriff. Later, Moody visited him in his new position and Burke showed him some treasured jewels. "Look Mr. Moody, they trust me to guard them. See what the grace of God has done for me?"
III. HER DEFINITE PURPOSE
It was to give birth to the Christ child from the time that she heard the words of the angel. She was to have a part in bring Jesus into this world in a human form.
She was not wandering aimlessly, but she knew what she was to do and was ready to be used of God for that purpose.
31 And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS.
32 He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David:
33 And he shall reign over the house of Jacob forever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.
Who is she to bear?
- Jesus-that word is the counterpart to the word for Joshua.
It means "Jehovah is salvation." It has the idea of a Savior.
That is the sweetest name in heaven and in earth.
There is no name like His name.
- He Shall Be Great (v.32)
He is so great that one day every knee will bow, and every tongue shall confess that He is Lord.
- He Shall Be Called the Son of the Highest (v.32)
Who is the highest? Jehovah God. Many worshiped other false Gods, but Jehovah is to be worshiped because He is above all others in heaven and earth
- He Shall Rule
- On the throne of his father David v.32
- Over the house of Jacob forever v.33
- His kingdom shall not end.v.33
As Christians we should have a definite purpose for living. Jesus said, "As my Father hath sent me, even so, send I you" (Jn. 20:21). As Jesus came to get people to God, we should live to get people to the Lord.
Have you tried one time this Christmas season to introduce someone to the Lord Jesus Christ? So many around us need the Lord Jesus. We do not have to wonder why God has left us here. We are to glorify His name and seek to bring others into the fold of God. Jesus said to his people, "Go out into the highways and hedges and COMPEL them to come in, that my house might be filled."
Our purpose should be to be so thrilled about the things of God that we seek to fill up the house of God. THERE ARE THOSE WHO SAY THEY LOVE THE CHURCH, BUT TRY TO TURN PEOPLE AWAY FROM IT. You all know better than that. We get so use to an empty pew beside us. There is someone who could be sitting there if we would just go after them and bring them into the house of the Lord.
- HER CLEAR CO-OPERATION
Lu 1:35 And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.
Lu 1:38 And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.
She was full willing to co-operate with the plan of God for her life and for the world.
- She trusted when she did not understand.
Lu 1:35 "And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God."
How is one to understand in detail what the angel was telling Mary in verse 35 of Luke 1? You just cannot understand fully a truth like that which was given.
"Overshadow" in Matt. 17:5 speaks of the bright cloud that came at the transfiguration of the Lord Jesus. It speaks I believe of the Shekinah glory of God or the brightness of the eternal God. There was a cloud of glory came about her and she knew by that, God had done a work in her.
Note: You may not always understand God but trust Him anyhow whether you understand or if you don’t. His ways may seem to twist and turn, but He makes no mistakes. How it was all going to get done she was not worried about. She left that up to the Lord. He knows how to do what we have no idea how to do.
- She believed God for a miracle.
The angel told her in Luke 1:37, "For with God nothing shall be impossible." She believed that for she responded the way she did in verse 38.
Do you need a miracle in your life? Ask God for the faith you need to see it happen. Jesus said if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you can say to a mountain move from one place to another and it shall be done.
- HER COMMENDABLE ATTITUDE
One of the biggest jobs anyone ever will have is to keep his or her own attitude right. Mary could have complained about wanting to be used, but she did not do so. She had a sweet spirit about her, even when she did not understand.
What manifests her attitude?
- Magnified the Lord
v.46- "My soul doth magnify the Lord."
To magnify means to "enlarge in someone’s sight."
It means "to enlarge or show as great."
She wanted to extol the greatness of the Lord in her life.
- Rejoiced in the Lord
v.47- "My spirit hath rejoiced."
Illustration: We ought to be like that lame man at the pool, who when Jesus healed him, walked, leaped and praised God. The opposite of a spirit of rejoicing is a spirit of complaint.
Illustration: I heard about a woman who was bad to complain about how her leg hurt her constantly each day of her life. One day she was out in a shopping mall at the checkout register. She heard a squeak behind her, turned and look, and there sat a little lady who had both legs amputated. At that very instance, the Holy Spirit of God brought her under conviction for complaining, for at least, she still had her legs with which to walk.
Mary could have complained that she did not know any more details than she did about her situation, but she was thankful for what God had revealed unto her.
- Praised the Lord’s holiness.
v.49, "For he that is mighty hath done to me great things; and holy is his name."
It is about time in this generation that we once again saw God as a holy God, who loves the sinner but hates the sinner’s sin. There is a class of angels that praise His holiness. That is their job. That is ours also.
- HER PERSONAL SALVATION
v.47- "And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Savior."
That is the main reason why no one should worship Mary.
She had to have a Savior. You do not worship people who need Saviors, and that means everyone born of Adam’s race. Jesus did not have an earthly Father, so we can worship him, since God fathered Him in a supernatural way.
What was the greatest day in Mary’s life?
When the glory cloud surrounded her? NO.
When the wise men came to Jesus? NO.
When she married Joseph? NO
When she met with Elizabeth and John leaped in the womb of Elizabeth?
When Simeon said to her as she went to have Jesus circumcised on the 8th day and he spoke of Jesus being a light and guide? No it was the day that she was saved.
- It is not of works. B. It is by grace. C. It is a free gift. D. It is forever.
The greatest day in your life was when you were saved.
Are you saved? Why not come today and ask Christ into your Heart.