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Mary, Joseph, & Emmanuel
Wednesday, December 4, 2013 • Posted December 5, 2013

Over the next three weeks, I will be teaching on the story of the birth of Jesus Christ. We will be looking at the lives of the three main characters in this story: Mary, Joseph, and Emmanuel (Jesus). While some Christians debate on the date of the birth of Jesus, and others argue whether we should celebrate Christmas at all, one thing remains clear: No less than four chapters of the Bible are dedicated to the story of Christ’s birth. Therefore,December 25th or not, the story is Biblical and relevant; so let’s look into the story and see what we can learn from it. After all, the first Thanksgiving was not the fourth Thursday of November; but that’s when we happen to celebrate it. God made all the days of the week anyway, so they are all His.

Let’s start off by examining the role of Mary. In Luke 1:28-30, we see clearly that Mary is blessed among all women, and highly favored of God. In verse 48, Mary humbly said, “From this generation forward, all shall call me blessed.” We should call Mary blessed. Of every woman in the entire world, she was chosen by God Himself to carry, nurture, and raise The Son of God. What an honor! What a responsibility! You think you got stress? Try being picked for this role! We need to say about Mary what the Bible says about Mary. We should not add to it, nor take away from it. God makes this very clear (Prov 30:6, Dt 4:2, Rev 22:18-19). It’s o.k. to honor Mary in her role as the mother of Jesus. We should call her blessed among women. However, we should never take that honor to the extreme and make it worship or reverence. God’s name alone is excellent and His name alone should be praised (Ps 148:13).

The next thing we learn about Mary, is that she was a willing servant. In verse 38, she says, “Behold, the servant of the Lord; let it be done to me according to God’s word.” More Christians need to respond to God like this young Jewish girl did. Like the prophet Isaiah 800 years before her, she said, “Here I am, send me” (Isa 6:8). Mary gave herself to God; spirit (vs. 47), soul (vs. 46), and body (vs. 38) {see Ps 116:16, 119:38, 1Thess 5:23}. We need to have a heart like Mary’s. We need to be fully surrendered to God’s will for our life.

God will also confirm His word to His willing servant. In vs. 41-45, Mary’s cousin Elisabeth, full of the Holy Spirit, prophesied to Mary. She called her the mother of her Lord. She called her blessed among women, just as Gabriel had said a few days before. She called her blessed for believing God’s word. Even John the Baptist was jumping around in Elisabeth’s belly, itching to preach! God was confirming His word to Mary, His willing servant; and He’ll confirm His word to you as well - if you are His servant.

The next thing we learn from Mary is that she recognized her low estate (vs. 46-55). In other words, she was humble. She recognized her need for a savior, and said her savior was God (vs. 47). We must do the same to be saved. There is none righteous, no not one. All have sinned. Through Adam’s fall, death and sin came upon all (Rom 3:10, 23, 5:12). We must first and foremost acknowledge our low estate before we can ever call upon Jesus to be saved from eternal damnation. Mary walked in humility, which is precious in God’s sight (1Pt 3:4). See also Ps 138:6, Isa 66:2, 1Cor 1:26-28, Jam 2:5. Mary gave glory to God (vs. 49), and we should do the same.

Finally, we see that Mary was wise. She didn’t blurt out whatever was on her mind. She pondered things. She meditated on things. She was quick to listen, and slow to speak (Lk 2:19, 51). Proverbs 29:11 says “A fool utters all of his mind, but a wise man holds it in until afterwards.” See also Prv 14:33. “In the multitude of words there is foolishness and sin.” Be wise like Mary. Of course, Mary’s ultimate wise saying was not at the birth of Jesus, but at the birth of His ministry. In John 2:5, Mary utters our ultimate responsibility to Christ, “Whatever He says to do - do it.” What wisdom! What truth! What blessing! Whatever He (Jesus) says, do it! Mary lived these words. She went on to become one of Jesus’ most dedicated disciples. She was at the cross, as well as the upper room on the day of Pentecost. May we learn from and imitate this young Jewish-Christian woman, Mary: the mother of Emmanuel, God with us. Until next time, rejoice in The Lord!

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