Sunday Sermon Notes: December 17, 2017

Title: Mary’s Story

Text: Luke 1:26-38

Six months after Elizabeth became pregnant; the angel Gabriel pays a visit to Mary in Nazareth: “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”

Have you ever read legal notices in the newspaper? Years ago I read some just to see what they were all about and I couldn’t believe that so many of them began, “Greetings from the State of Nevada, you have been sued.”

“Greetings” indeed!

Mary’s reaction to the greetings Gabriel brought her was a bit similar: What kind of greetings would these be, am I in trouble?

In one sense, maybe she was in “trouble” for she was to become pregnant before she was married to Joseph, her betrothed. Yet this would be no ordinary pregnancy, for God Himself would be the Father of her child, and her conception would be from the Holy Spirit who would “come upon” her. Her son would be named Jesus, and would be known as the Son of the Most High, sitting in the throne of David forever and ever, ruling God’s people in glory; He would be the Savior of the World. In the process of telling her all of this, he also mentioned that Elizabeth had conceived in her old age and was already in her sixth month of pregnancy; Mary marveled at this. It should also be noted that she received the news a little better than poor old Zechariah, for she said: “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.”  What amazing faith!

Soon, she would pay Elizabeth a little visit…

At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, where she entered Zechariah’s home and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. In a loud voice she exclaimed: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!”

Luke 1:39-45

In a scene reminiscent of 1 Samuel 1-2, Mary arrives at the home of Zechariah and Elizabeth and as the text tells us, two interesting things happen when she enters the house. First, the unborn John the Baptist leaps for joy upon hearing her voice, and then his mother Elizabeth is filled with the Holy Spirit. You will recall that the angel had told Elizabeth that her son would be filled with the Holy Spirit even before he was born, and this has been borne out; now Elizabeth herself utters a more or less prophetic message.

Elizabeth became the first human to ever proclaim the Lordship of Jesus Christ.

If nothing else, we see in this scene that Elizabeth, in spite of her joy at conceiving a child in her old age, and in spite of being joyous at the important role her son would play in redemption history, that she was fully aware that Mary was carrying the greater of the two, and that as a result, Mary was the more blessed.

What does this tell us some 2,000 years later?

It tells us that this child whose birth we are celebrating now, was no ordinary child, that he was God incarnate. It tells us that this child was/is the One who would change everything and that this change would be for all time. It tells us that in our celebrations, the birth of this child is not to be treated as an afterthought or an “oh by the way” kind of thing, for it is well and truly The Point.

Everything else is fluff.

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,
just as he promised our ancestors.”

Luke 1:46-55

May this be our song; may this be our prayer.

I doubt that I need to say more.

About Don Merritt

A long time teacher and writer, Don hopes to share his varied life's experiences in a different way with a Christian perspective.
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2 Responses to Sunday Sermon Notes: December 17, 2017

  1. Pingback: Mary’s Story | A disciple's study

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