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2007-12-23_Mary-Blessed Among Women_Luke 1.26-56_SL

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Mary: Blessed Among Women

Luke 1:26-56   |   Shaun LePage   |   December 23, 2007

Mary: Blessed Among Women

Luke 1:26-56   |   Shaun LePage   |   December 23, 2007

I.       Introduction

A.    Been thinking about Mary; little girl 10 months ago—named Mary; lots of Marys: Beth’s mom, my sister, few dear friends—foremost: Mary of Scripture, blessed mother of Jesus

B.    Name: couple thousand years, one of most common names; meaning: “Lady”? “wished-for-child”? “perfect one”? “Beloved”?  Hebrew: form of Miriam, “obstinacy, stubbornness or rebellion” (hope not prophetic for our Mary); Maybe named @ 2 yrs.; maybe stubborn, rebellious girl was just the kind of person God wanted for this tough assignment

C.    Throughout history—even today—Mary treated in 2 wrong ways: (don’t want to dwell)

1.     Exalted to a wrong extreme

a)     2004: (BBC article) “Virgin Mary Toast fetches $28,000.” (pic) “A decade-old toasted cheese sandwich said to bear an image of the Virgin Mary has sold on the eBay auction website for $28,000. An internet casino confirmed it had purchased the sandwich, saying it had become a “part of pop culture”.

b)     Other supposed apparitions: (see powerpoint—actual examples)

c)     Sincere? Absolutely! (pic of shrine); Why? to RCC’s credit, don’t endorse all but created problem by declaring Mary sinless, co-mediatrix, co-redemptrix, “venerate” as Queen of Heaven & Earth; Jesus disagreed: Lk 11:27-28; Ron Rhodes (Reasoning w/Catholics, p.267); misinterpret Scripture, read NT ask Mary exalted?

2.     Ignored because we don’t want to be mistaken as Mariologists (Mary worshipers)

II.     Body—Mary great example (like Paul, David, Hannah, etc.) at least 5 ways; read Lk 1:26-56

A.    Mary accepted the will of the Lord (26-38)

1.     (26) “from God to Nazareth” comical? Shocking? Amazing? Great literary opening!

2.     (27) “virgin” minor point, but key to blessing; obedient before Gabriel, so God chose her; “engaged” means 12-14 yrs. old; “descendant of David”—key requirement (v.32)

3.     (28-31) “Greetings, favored one” (also v.30; cf. “blessed” vs.42,45); “favored” because sinless? No. See v.46-49: God’s work; God’s name—“favor”=grace; God in His grace great privilege of being the mother of the Messiah; name Him “Jesus”—attention shifts

4.     (32-33) “Great…Son of the Most High…throne of father David…reign over house of Jacob…kingdom will have no end”—clearly Messiah & God (only God’s kingdom “will have no end”)

5.     (34-35) How? Not disbelief (like Zechariah) but practical; Triune God will do it: “HS will come upon you…Most High (Father) overshadow you…holy child / Son of God (humbled Himself / incarnation)”; not “marry Joseph”—Virginal Conception!

6.     (36-37) Barren cousin pregnant!—we’ll come back; “nothing impossible with God”—building her faith, when God’s word seems unbelievable: “nothing impossible”!

7.     (38) Don’t miss drama! Imagine her thoughts, fear, heart racing: Accepted God’s will!

8.     Accepting the will of God means accepting tough assignments—walking alone; being misunderstood, rejected—but remember “blessed”! Blessing comes thru trials—children are a blessing—even non-Messiahs! Received via pain; Wisdom, strength, spiritual maturity, eternal perspective—all birthed through trials, struggles, even suffering; Go to God, say “Your will, not mine” someday (here or eternity) = blessing!

B.    Mary believed the word of the Lord (39-45)

1.     (39-40) “At this time…went in a hurry” why such a hurry? Mary was given a sign! All just a dream? Bad burrito? God graciously gave her a sign—she wanted/needed to see it! Old, barren cousin Elizabeth was pregnant! If true—then Mary pregnant, too!

2.     (41-45) Elizabeth confirmed everything—imagine what this meant to Mary; “blessed” 3X! Again, Mary was “blessed” because God was giving great privilege; “fruit of womb” idiom=child is a blessing; Another “blessed” because Mary “believed”; first person to believe virgin birth—now Elizabeth too (everybody thought they—like us--were crazy too); foundational doctrine of Christian faith—supports very important beliefs about Jesus; supports: 1) The word of Jesus. Bible clearly teaches; If wrong about this, why believe any other miracle—especially the Resurrection?; 2) The Messiahship of Jesus. Jesus fulfilled born of a woman (Gen 3:15) & virgin (Isa 7:14); 3) The Deity of Jesus. God could have entered the world any way He wanted, but He chose virgin birth as supernatural sign—fully God; 4) The Humanity of Jesus. Jesus really born, one of us, Mediator between God and man (1 Tim 2:5; Heb 9:15); fully man; 5) The sinlessness of Jesus. Born of a woman and not a man, demonstrated not sinful; worthy to be spotless Lamb of God (2 Cor 5:21).

3.     Basic, but so vital: We’re asked to live a life of faith—not blind faith, even Mary was given word of God and a sign; Mary blessed for believing and acting on word of God

C.    Mary praised the name of the Lord (46-56)

1.     Magnificat (1st word in Latin—“magnifies”) Mary’s song—biblically informed praise!

2.     (46-47) Exalt Mary? No, Mary says: “Exalt the Lord! Rejoice in God the Savior!”

3.     (48-55) Celebrated attributes: Lord (46), Savior (47), “has regard for the humble” (cares; 48), Mighty One (49,51), Doer of great things (49), holy (49), merciful (50,54), Judge (51-53), sovereign (52,53), provider (53,54), faithful (v.54,55); The Magnificat is such a treasure because it is Mary’s personal response of praise to God—in the midst of her difficult and even painful assignment Mary praised her Lord.

4.     (56) Don’t miss it: she “three months…returned to her home”—read between the lines, probably helped Elizabeth deliver John, then went home—showing; Scripture silent about what she went through with family, friends, the shame, disbelief that her baby was Messiah; of course everything happened exactly as God said it would: Gospel writers tell us she gave birth in Bethlehem and named him Jesus; she marveled as shepherds and Magi came to worship Him; John 19 she watched Jesus die on the cross; Acts 1 tells us she witnessed the resurrection and probably ascension of Jesus.

III.   Closing:

A.    If our little Mary Hope ever asks why we named her Mary, I’ll open the Scriptures and read the passages about her namesake and show her Mary was just one of God’s man “bond slaves” (servants) who accepted His will, believed His word and praised His name—and I’ll pray whatever God asks her to do, she’ll do it and be blessed.

B.    Closing Prayer: Our souls exalts You, Lord; our spirits rejoice in You, God our Savior. For You have had regard for us—Your humble bondslaves; servants. Like many generations before us, we do count Mary as blessed because You—the Mighty One—did great things for her; and we consider ourselves blessed as well because You have done great things for us also; And holy is Your name!  Your mercy is upon generation after generation—including our generation—if we will fear You, accept your will, believe your word and praise Your name. You have done mighty deeds with Your arm; You have scattered those who were proud in the thoughts of their heart. You have brought down rulers from their thrones when they did not honor You, And exalted those who were humble. You have filled the hungry with good things and sent away the rich empty-handed when they did not trust You and give You thanks. You have given help to Israel Your servant, and to the Church Your bride in remembrance of Your mercy, as You spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and his descendants forever; as you spoke through the final Word—Jesus Your Son. And so we exalt You, rejoice in You, thank You, submit ourselves to You in the name of the Incarnate Word of God; God Himself, Jesus our Lord. Amen.

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