2011-12-11_Mary a Bondslave of God – Luke 1:26-38
Mary a Bondslave of God Luke 1.26-38
What is most familiar must be read more carefully.
Top Priority Mission Luke 1.26-27
-Timely, willful, specific, fulfillment of God’s eternal plan
-The angel Gabriel was sent from God
-The details are specific. Virgin is mentioned twice as a fulfillment of Isaiah 7.14
God’s Favor Luke 1.28-33
-Mary was troubled at Gabriel’s words not his appearance
-Mary HAS found favor with God. Charis = Grace
-A son Jesus, Son of the Most High, throne of David and will reign forever
A Bondslave of God Luke 1.34-38
-How will this be since a man I know not?
-Will not be impossible with God every word
-Let it be to me according to your word
1) The fulfillment of God’s Sovereign purposes assures us of God’s rule over our daily lives.
2) We also have found favor with God and need to believe it. Romans 5.1-2. Will we believe in daily life?
3) A willing and submission abandonment to the Will of God. Obedience and availability.
Mary the Bondslave of the Lord Luke 1.26-38 [Bibles open]
This morning I would like to carefully read with you the story of Mary, the mother of Jesus, so that we might find out more about her and about our own relationship with Jesus. I find that what is most familiar must be read more carefully.
v26-27, [Read] What we have in this verse is a timely, specific, wilful, fulfilment of God’s eternal plan to bring Jesus into the world with a human body.
The sixth month refers back to the supernatural pregnancy of Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptist. The angel Gabriel had visited Zechariah while he offered incense in the Temple and told him that he would have a son that would prepare the people for the coming of the Lord. This was now the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy and Gabriel was once again dispatched from the throne of God to make another momentous announcement.
One of my favourite verses in the birth narratives is Luke 1.19. Zechariah says to the angel “How shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is advanced in years.” Zechariah wants a sign from God to convince him that God will indeed give him a son of such distinction as promised by the angel. The angel answers Zechariah with these amazing words, “I am Gabriel the one standing before God, and I was sent to speak to you and to announce to you these things.” “Zechariah you do not need a sign. I am Gabriel the messenger of God. I stand before God waiting for assignments like this and God sent me to deliver this message to you. What other proof do you need?” We find the same authority given to us in verse 26, “The angel Gabriel was sent from God.”
When I read verses 26 and 27, what flashes into my mind is “Top priority”. This announcement is not left to the communications department in heaven but comes directly from the throne of God, from God Himself. This is a top priority announcement.
The other thing that catches my eye as I read these verses is how specific the details are. In the sixth month, to a city in Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin who is engaged to a man named Joseph who is from the house of David, and the virgin’s name is Mary. This announcement has been planned
Notice also that the Holy Spirit has Luke record two times here that Mary is a virgin in order to fulfil the OT prophecy in Isaiah 7.14, “The virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel”.
Once again we see the Sovereign purposes of God being worked out in time and history. And once again we are assured from Scripture that God is in charge and knows all things and is involved in the details of our daily lives. What a joy it is to walk with God and to see Him working out His purposes and to be part of that work.
v28-33, [Read] Contrary to the pictures we find in Sunday School curriculum and Christmas cards I do not get the impression from these verses that Gabriel appeared to Mary in dazzling glory with wings and a halo. I think Gabriel came to Mary as an ordinary man, unknown to her but not recognisable as an angel. I think Gabriel entered into Mary’s presence in an ordinary way so as not to alarm her. Notice that it was not Gabriel’s appearance that troubled Mary but his words. Gabriel greeted Mary saying, “Hello, you have been favoured, the Lord is with you”. This was not a usual greeting but one that lifted Mary up as special in the eyes of God. Mary did not consider herself as favoured by the Lord so “Mary was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be.” “What does all this mean? Who is this man?”
This strange greeting from an unknown man troubled Mary and filled her with fear. Gabriel first comforts Mary and then brings her the message that she will be the mother of the son of David who will also be the Son of God. He says to her, “Do not be afraid” and then he calls her by name, Mary. This man knows Mary’s name even though she has not told him her name. Then he emphasizes once again to her “you HAVE found favour with God”. The word translated as “favour” in English is charis, from which comes the word grace. “It is true Mary. God has placed His grace upon your life.” Gabriel will now explain how this grace of God is going to be realized in Mary’s life.
Mary is going to conceive and bear a son and she is to call his name Jesus. This son is to be great and will be called the Son of the Most high. God will give this son of Mary the throne of his father David and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever and his kingdom will never come to an end. This is quite a promise. Mary has truly found much favour with God.
As it was hard for Mary, so it is hard for us to accept that we stand in God’s favour and perhaps even harder for us to believe in the promises God gives to us as His children. Romans 5.1-2 gives us, as God’s children, such promises. If you are justified by faith in Jesus Christ I want you to believe what I am about to read. Justified means that you know that God has forgiven your sins and that God completely accepts you as righteous because you are in Christ. “Since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.”
If you have put your faith in Jesus Christ to save you from sin and know that you are born-again, you are no longer under God’s condemnation but are under God’s peace. Your peace with God will never change. Forever you are at peace with God in Jesus Christ.
Not only are you at peace with God in Christ but you also permanently stand in God’s Grace. You live in the spotlight of God’s favour. Will you believe it? Take a hold of that promise and live in that wonderful truth no matter what circumstances cross your life.
And finally you live in hope of the Glory of God. This hope is an anchor of your soul (Hebrews 6.19).
So you have found favour with God and have the promise of peace with God, you stand in the Grace of God, and have the joy of the hope of participating in the Glory of God. Will you believe this message from God to you, O favoured ones? No matter what your circumstances are, will you believe that in Christ you are favoured of God? It is not always easy to believe these promises from God but in trusting God there is great blessing.
v34-38, [Read] Mary does not seem to express any reaction to the royal and divine status of this son promised to her. Perhaps she did not really grasp the fullness of Gabriel’s message because it was so amazing. Perhaps the thought of her virgin status prevented her from fully hearing Gabriel’s message to her. That is certainly the question she posses to Gabriel, “How will this be, since I am a virgin”. In the original Greek Mary does not use the word virgin but says, “How will this be, since a man I know not?”
Now remember that Mary is engaged to be married to Joseph. Did Mary assume that after marrying Joseph it would be natural for a son to be born to them which would fulfil this message from Gabriel? Mary is asking for direction on the fulfilment of this promise of a son.
Gabriel has an answer for Mary. The son will not be conceived by Joseph but “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.” Mary will conceive this son by God and therefore the son will be holy and will be called the Son of God.
Gabriel further encourages Mary’s faith by revealing to her that her cousin Elizabeth, who could not conceive, has been pregnant for six months “because nothing is impossible with God”. I am very much encouraged by the literal translation of this verse. It says, “because will not be impossible with God every word”. Gabriel is saying to Mary, “every word that God speaks is fulfilled. There are no empty words in God’s promises. Elizabeth’s pregnancy is an example of the sure word of God.”
This literal translation “because will not be impossible with God every word” is echoed in Mary’s response to God about God’s word to her through Gabriel. Mary says, “Behold, I am the bondservant of the Lord”. Mary calls herself a slave, a doulos of the Lord. She humbles herself completely before God’s will. Then Mary says, “let it be to me according to your word”. “Since God fulfills His every word then let Him fulfill His word to me as He chooses, for I am his slave to do with as He pleases.” That is Mary’s beautiful response to God’s favour and God’s message to her through the angel Gabriel.
Then the angel left her. Mary went to visit Elizabeth for three months and returned to Nazareth a pregnant woman.
Mary did not understand all that God was doing in her life and through her life but she knew that what God said He would do, He would do. Mary was willing to let God have His way completely with her and in her humble obedience became an important part of the fulfillment of God’s purpose to save humanity through the cross of Christ.
That same attitude of complete submission and obedience and availability to God will bring the same results in us – God will fulfill His purpose and work His salvation in the lives of those around you. Like God’s son Jesus who humbly obeyed His Father like a slave would obey his master, and like Mary who humbly gave her life up for God to use like a slave to her master, so God calls us to lay down our lives at His feet for His use as He pleases. We do not know what that will mean in our life but we do know God’s love, His Goodness and His Sovereign rule over all people and all things, and that is enough. God will fulfill His purpose in the world and in the church and invites us to join Him in fulfilling that purpose. You can be part of God’s great purpose by humbly submitting to the will of God as Jesus did, and as Mary and many other saints who have gone before us.