Faithlife Sermons

Mary Did You Know

Sermon  •  Submitted
0 ratings
· 1,064 views
Notes
Transcript
Sermon Tone Analysis
A
D
F
J
S
Emotion
A
C
T
Language
O
C
E
A
E
Social
View more →

Reprise for Christmas 2007

Mary Did You Know?

Matthew 1:18-25

The streets always seem busier this time of year.

Beginning with the Friday after Thanksgiving, the Christmas season officially began. At least, that’s what the retailers tell us. I look at the crowds and wonder, where have these people been all year? Traffic jams, no parking places, crowded malls, congested interstates, busy airports, neighborhood gatherings, office parties. The pace is dangerously fast. There seems to be no time for leisurely enjoying even the lights of the season. The whole world seems busier as Christmas time approaches.

I wonder if that’s how Joseph and Mary felt as they approached the outskirts of Bethlehem. As they draw near, this typically sleepy Judean village has been wide-awake for days. The mandatory census of Rome has created an economic boom for city merchants. There are thousands of new people in the city. But the little town can’t process the heavy traffic: pedestrians and mules, wooden wagons, camels, goats, and baggage… lots of baggage.  And every room in every inn is filled to capacity.

Joseph and Mary finally made it. But their journey was far from over. They aren’t even married yet. They were betrothed—engaged. She’s a virgin. But she’s pregnant… very pregnant. The journey that led them to this place is the prelude to the greatest story ever told.

Our text is Matthew 1:18-25.  Last week, we read these verses from Joseph’s perspective; this morning I want to cover this from Mary’s perspective. Let’s begin with these verses and keep them before us as we go through the exposition. In honor of God and His word, I invite you to stand.

18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows. When His mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child by the Holy Spirit. 19 And Joseph her husband, being a righteous man, and not wanting to disgrace her, desired to put her away secretly. 20 But when he had considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for that which has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. 21 “And she will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for it is He who will save His people from their sins.” 22 Now all this took place that what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet might be fulfilled, saying, 23 “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and shall bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which translated means, “God with us.” 24 And Joseph arose from his sleep, and did as the angel of the Lord commanded him, and took her as his wife, 25 and kept her a virgin until she gave birth to a Son; and he called His name Jesus. [NASB]

[Prayer] Several years ago, the song “Mary Did You Know?” was co-written by two popular Christian artists. That song is (in my opinion) one of the most moving pieces of Christian music written in recent years. It is so contemplative, yet so profoundly accurate theologically. The song asks the young Virgin Mary some unimaginable questions as she holds her Creator in her arms. Listen again to these questions:

Mary did you know that your baby Boy will one day walk on water?

Mary did you know that your baby Boy will save our sons and daughters?

Did you know that your baby Boy has come to make you new?

This child that you’ve delivered will soon deliver you.

That’s rich. That’s the essence of Christmas—Almighty God became a baby having gone through all the natural stages of gestation, to be brought forth nine months later with angel visitation in the most humble of surroundings. Think of it! The Lord of all creation honored life in all its stages by becoming an embryo, a fetus, and an infant.

All of life is sacred. At no point of the process is life any more or less sacred. Sovereign deity, who spoke and the universe by fiat leaped into existence, now lies in a crude wooden trough beneath the very stars He Himself created. We cannot fully contemplate the essence of this wonder. So our text takes us back to the conception: Mary, while yet a virgin, (a parthenos) was found to be with Child by the Holy Spirit. 

This is what our text confirms in verse 18. This prophecy, like more than half of all prophecies recorded in Scripture, has already been fulfilled literally; just as God said it would be. This is He of whom it was written in Isaiah 9:6 –

            “For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be                      upon His shoulder. And His name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty                         God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.”

“Everlasting Father” is a Hebrew idiom meaning “Father of eternity”. This doesn’t mean that God the Son is God the Father. There’s no confusion of person here. Both the Father and the Son are co-equal and yet distinct. “Father of eternity” speaks of Christ’s relationship to timeless eternity, rather than His relationship to the Godhead as the 2nd Person of the Trinity.

A child is born, but a Son is given.  That is, the Son didn’t come into being in Mary’s womb; but that’s where the eternal Word became flesh and dwelt among us.  Although a child was born, the Son has always existed as the second person of the Trinity-- that’s why the Son was given, not born.  A child is born, but a Son is given. The theological term for this is incarnation… to become flesh.

When the text says that Mary and Joseph were betrothed it’s what we commonly think of as engagement. But a Jewish betrothal was far more contractually binding than an engagement. It required a certificate of divorce to break it off.  Betrothed couples were often referred to as husband and wife (as the text indicates). They didn’t live together during this phase, which lasted one year. It was during this year of faithful celibacy that Mary became pregnant.  She was found to be with child of the Holy Spirit.

The Bible tells us that Joseph was a just man, who didn’t want to embarrass Mary by making a public spectacle of what he must have surely perceived as her unfaithfulness to him. Don’t minimize that aspect. Joseph was no fool. The Bible doesn’t tell us that Joseph was a gullible man willing to believe the most incredulous stories. No. Joseph was “a just man... not wanting to make her a public example.” 

Here was a man who was ready to handle this delicate situation with as much compassion as the law would allow.  But even as God intervened in Mary’s life, He also stepped into Joseph’s life and prepared him for the miraculous events that were swirling around them.

Whenever God begins to do something wonderful in a life, that work is often accompanied by confusion, disorientation, and misunderstanding on the part of others. God is not the Author of confusion, but family and neighbors and bystanders are often the publishers of it. So God condemns gossip; and He abhors the rumor mill.

For Joseph, he felt betrayed by the woman he loved. I know this because the text says he was minded to put her away privately. He didn’t have to do that. He could have made this an ugly, public divorce. Yet, Mary was right in the center of God’s will for her life. Yes, even in that awkward, embarrassing moment. She couldn’t explain it, she had to trust. You and I will never experience what this couple faced. But sometimes God’s will can put you in the most uncomfortable of circumstances before you can tell what He’s doing... and sometimes He doesn’t even disclose that. 

Joseph must have gotten to a place where he could be alone... where he could think and untangle the mess of what seemed to be the abrupt end of his betrothal to Mary.

Look at verse 20...

20 But when he had considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for that which has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. 21 “And she will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for it is He who will save His people from their sins.” [Matt 1:20-21]

Considering what Joseph has been through, I’m intrigued that the angel told Joseph not to be “afraid”. Of all the emotions one might feel in his situation, Joseph’s first emotion was fear. It speaks volumes for the character of Joseph, doesn’t it?  The angel could have said, “Do not be angry to take to you Mary your wife...” or “Do not feel betrayed to take to you Mary your wife...” or “Do not be eaten up with jealousy...” No... it was do not be afraid Joseph. What a testimony to his composure and godliness. The reason for this confidence is found in the character of God.

“For that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit.” Though pregnant, Mary is still a virgin. She is pure and chaste. Never before. Never since. Never again. This is God’s sign. “Joseph, this is a miracle like none other. You don’t have any role models and you don’t have any precedent to look back on. Verse 21…

“And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” Mary brought forth a Son—God’s Son... Whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting. Unlike the first Adam who was created and placed in idyllic surroundings, the Second Adam was not created, but existed long before the worlds were formed and was begotten into surroundings that were anything but ideal and picturesque. The sinless God-Man was placed in the middle of a corrupt and fallen world; a world of hurt and pain-- and this world was His reason for coming. He came to save His people from their sin!  He came for people like Mary…

Mary did you know that your baby Boy will give sight to a blind man?

Mary did you know that your baby Boy will calm a storm with His hand?

Did you know that your baby Boy has walked where angels trod?

And when you kiss your little baby You’ve kissed the face of God.

So, what happened? Did Joseph listen to the angel?  Look at verse 22...

22 Now all this took place that what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet might be fulfilled, saying, 23 “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and shall bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which translated means, “God with us.” 24 And Joseph arose from his sleep, and did as the angel of the Lord commanded him, and took her as his wife, 25 and kept her a virgin until she gave birth to a Son; and he called His name Jesus.

As Christians, we have so much to celebrate in our faith through our Lord Jesus Christ. But we must never allow the celebration of the nativity to eclipse the agony of Calvary. Most of the world loves the little baby in the manger. Babies don’t really offend them too much.  But oh, how their opinions change when they hear the commands of Christ. Their tolerance and sentiments vanish with the tinsel and lights. But Jesus didn’t stay in the manger. He grew up and became a Man (fully God, fully human). He preached. He taught. He invited. He bewildered many. He infuriated some.

And in Jerusalem, the same crowds who were at one time waving palm branches and shouting “Hosanna in the Highest! Blessed is He who comes on the name of the Lord!”-- were seven days later shouting “Crucify! Crucify! CRUCIFY! And give us Barabbas!”

The long and noisy road to Calvary began in the quiet serenity of Bethlehem. The shadow of the cross loomed over the peaceful bed of hay.  But Jesus Christ was no less innocent when they nailed Him to the cross than He was when they wrapped Him in the manger.  “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” Your sin and my sin…

Mary did you know that your baby Boy is Lord of all creation?

Mary did you know that your baby Boy will one day rule the nations?

Did you know that your baby Boy is heaven’s perfect Lamb?

This sleeping child you’re holding is the Great I Am.

Next Sunday, we’ll consider this text from Joseph’s perspective. Until then, amen.

=============================================================

The consummation of Christmas is found in Easter.  “And you shall call His name JESUS for He shall save His people from their sins.”  Can you hear it?  ---Faint echoes of the cross even on His birth announcement.  It was God’s plan. It was Christ’s purpose.  He was born to die for sins He never committed, but for our sake “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”  (2 Cor. 5:21)

There was nothing accidental about the cross. The cross was never “plan B” for God. It was His plan of redemption from before the foundation of the world.  Foreshadowed by animal sacrifice in the Old Testament, God’s perfect Lamb without blemish became the final sacrifice for sin.  He said “Tetellesti” --It is finished! Paid in full! “No other foundation can be laid than that which is laid-- which is faith in Jesus Christ our Lord.”

Then notice his other name given in the text, Immanuel-- God with us.  I secretly envy some who have toured London and other parts of Europe. I understand that one of the most interesting of London’s ancient cemeteries is Bunhill Fields. There rests the dust of men like Charles Wesley, Isaac Watts, and Daniel Defoe, the author of Robinson Crusoe. The cemetery is sometimes called the “Westminster Abbey of Nonconformity.” For they were all evangelical non-conformists to the Church of England.

Directly across from this ancient graveyard is the chapel of John Wesley, and the house in which he lived and died. Just before his death on March 2, 1791, John Wesley opened his eyes and exclaimed in a strong, clear voice, “The best of all is, God is with us!” God is with us!

That’s what Bethlehem proclaims to the world—God is with us. “His name shall be called Immanuel.”

Mary did you know that your baby Boy is Lord of all creation?

Mary did you know that your baby Boy will one day rule the nations?

Did you know that your baby Boy is heaven’s perfect Lamb?

This sleeping child you’re holding is the Great I Am.

The real joy of Christmas is not to be found in the lights and tinsel, but in the One for Whom the season exists. The One who said, “I AM the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.”

Has the One born in the manger been born in your heart today?  I know for many of you that He has indeed. And I pray if He hasn’t, that you would settle that question this day and let it be settled forever in your heart. The same One who conquered sin and death and walked out of an empty tomb will also walk into an empty heart right now.  Jesus is still in the business of saving sinners.  That’s why He came... that’s why He was born in a stable… He’s God’s Lamb.

Remember as you drive throughout the busy city streets and see all the signs of the commercial Christmas with the noise, and crowds, and hassles-- that this is precisely the way it was in the little town of Bethlehem the night on which Christ was born. Same noisy crowds. Same congested streets. They were all converging on the city for a census. And the sign the world continues to hang outside where everyone can see, still reads: “No Room” --No room for Jesus.

Make room for your Savior this Christmas. He came to earth with the living word that should set His people free. But with mocking scorn, and with crown of thorn, we bore Him to Calvary.

It is for those of us who are Christians to remind the world that He came to save His people from their sin. And for that reason alone, there must always and forever be room for Christ in Christmas. Let us pray.

CLOSING PRAYER

“Father, we thank You that You loved us so much that You sent Your only Son to save us from our sins. That Jesus left His throne in glory to become like us. And died and rose to conquer sin and death that we might become like Him. O, the mystery! We celebrate your indescribable Gift this day. And we praise You for it. Send us forth with Your blessing now. In the matchless name of Jesus Christ, Amen.”

BENEDICTION

Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God,

be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen.

[1 Timothy 1:17, KJV]

Original © C.K. Grant, Christmas 2003

Related Media
Related Sermons