The Mary Model of Motherhood (Luke 1:26-38)
The Mary Model
Luke was a medical doctor (Col. 4:14). He was not a Jew; he was a Gentile. He had a friend named Theophilus who had also become a Christian but Luke had been a Christian longer and, in fact, had traveled quite a bit with the apostle Paul. Luke knew Christianity inside and out.
So, Luke did research into Christianity, into the life of Christ. He tells us that in 1:1-4. In the process of doing his research, Luke found a number of other biographies of Jesus of Nazareth, no doubt including Matthew and Mark. But Luke did other research beyond Matthew and Mark. Then, guided by the Holy Spirit of God, Luke sat down and wrote for Theophilus this life of Christ – verse 4 says – “so that you may know the exact truth about the things you have been taught.” No doubt there were some false “gospels” available, so Luke wanted to make sure that Theophilus knew the truth about this religion he had embraced.
Today, I want us to look at one source of Jesus’ spiritual life. How much of your personality and behavior can you attribute to each parent? What have you learned from your mom? What do you do today in which you see echoes of your dad? In honor of mothers, today, I want us to look at Jesus’ mother, Mary, and consider the “Mary Model of Motherhood.” The character of Jesus’ mother for He no doubt learned and matured from the godly example of His mother.
Let’s read 1:26-27. God has chosen this young woman, engaged but not yet married to her husband, Joseph, to be the mother of Jesus’ earthly nature. Jewish girls were given in engagement at the age of 13. Their engagement lasted one year until the husband and wife came together. We’ll get to that in a moment. Nazareth was 70 miles NE of Jerusalem in a valley on the northern side of the plain of Jezreel.
As we proceed, observe the Mary Model of Motherhood…
RECOGNIZES THAT THE LORD IS WITH US – 1:28
For those of us who are Christians, we have the promise that God/Jesus will be with us all the time. This is among the last words of Jesus on earth – Matthew 28:20.
The Hebrew writer also promised: “Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, "I will never leave you nor forsake you.” (13:5).
While the apostle Paul was in Corinth, Jesus appeared to him to encourage him to be bold and courageous in teaching the Gospel (Acts 18:9-10). How could Paul be bold and courageous? Jesus told him, “I am with you… I have many people in this city.” Keep in mind that the presence of Jesus did not keep bad things from happening to Paul. But His presence did give Paul the courage he needed to face the challenges in front of him.
The “Mary Model of Motherhood” recognizes that the Lord is with us.
#2 – DOES NOT ALWAYS UNDERSTAND THE LORD’S WAYS – 1:29
Do you remember when the judge Gideon was hiding from the Midianites in Judges 6? An angel appeared to Gideon and told him the same thing that Gabriel told Mary – “The Lord is with you” (6:12).
Gideon did not understand God’s ways. He responded, “If the Lord is with us, why then has all this happened to us?” That’s an easy and natural and human response.
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8-9).
Mary’s perplexity asks Gabriel: How is the Lord with me? When will I know the Lord is with me? Where will I see evidence of the Lord being with me?
Don’t we ask the same things of God? How, Lord? When will things get better? Where will I see evidence of your presence?
But the “Mary Model of Motherhood” does not always understand the Lord’s ways.
#3 ACCEPTS GOD’S CHALLENGE – 1:30-33
God’s challenges to us come in different ways. We may be challenged by losing a job; we may be challenged by children who don’t seem to accept the guidance of Jesus Christ; we may be challenged by health problems; we may be challenged by caring for our parents through their health problems. We may be challenged by sins and temptations and spiritual weaknesses.
To Mary, the challenge was to give birth to the Son of God – the Savior of the World. Here is Mary’s challenge:
Vs 31 - You will bear a son and name him after the great Old Testament character who led his people into the Promised Land – name Him “Jesus” – or “Joshua” – which means “The Lord is Salvation.”
Vs 32 - This son will be called the “Son of the Most High” [His Position] The only person (individual) in the Old Testament who was called the “son of God” was the king of Israel, beginning with King David. So here is a subtle message to Mary that her Son was going to be King. Imagine if God were to appear to you and say, “You are going to bear a future president of the United States.” How would that impact you? You would, no doubt, immediately think – “I’m not prepared for that. I don’t have the education for that. I can’t prepare someone for the presidency. I’m not up to it. I can’t do it.”
Gabriel goes on to tell Mary specifically that her son, Jesus, would sit on the throne of David [His Authority]. There had not been a man from David’s lineage to sit on the throne since Zerubbabel and the days of the Babylonian Empire. The Jews had longed for those days, for the time when they would have a new king on the throne. They had waited for this promise to be fulfilled for about 600 years!
Vs 33 – But not only would her son, Jesus, be a king and sit on the throne but His reign would be forever and His kingdom would never end! That would tell the thinking person that this kingdom would be different. Everyone knows and understands that nations rise and fall. But a kingdom that would never fall? A kingdom that would never cease to exist? What type of kingdom would this be? What type of nation would it be? But more specifically, what type of person would Jesus be to lead such a kingdom? We can only imagine the questions that were flying around in Mary’s mind and the weight of the responsibility that she felt. It was truly a great challenge to her faith.
The “Mary Model of Motherhood” accepts God’s challenges…
#4 – ACCEPTS GOD’S STRENGTH TO MEET THE CHALLENGE – 1:34-35:
“The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High – the very one whose Son she was to bear – will overshadow you” [His Divine Ties]. In this way, that child would be the “Son of God” so here, I believe Gabriel is telling Mary that Jesus would be more than just a king. He would be called the “Son of God” in a way that was unique to Him. Mary would be the mother of the boy whose Father would be the God of Heaven.
If that challenge added fears and weight to this responsibility she had been given, no doubt the presence of God to fulfill the task was just as reassuring. “The Holy Spirit will help you.”
God will give us strength to meet the challenges He lays out before us. When God challenged the judge Shamgar to fight against 600 Philistines, He gave him the oxgoad to do it. When God challenged Rahab to get the spies safely out of Jericho, He provided the scarlet cord to let the Israelites know to spare her house from destruction. When God challenged Gideon to fight against 135,000 Midianites, He gave him a trumpet to disturb the enemies’ camp and cause them to fight against each other. When God challenged David to defeat the giant, He provided the sling that killed Goliath. When God challenged Samson to fight against the Philistines, He gave him a jawbone to do the job. When God challenged Moses to lead the Israelites across the Red Sea on dry land, He gave him a rod to do the job. When God challenged Dorcas to serve her fellow Christians by sewing and making clothes, God provided the needle.
But all were used for God. There are a number of ways God strengthens us, not the least of which is the Holy Spirit, dwelling in us and utilizing His Word to strengthen our inner person (Ephesians 3:15).
The “Mary Model of Motherhood” accepts God’s strength to meet the challenge…
#5 – FINDS HELP IN GOD’S COMPANIONS – 1:36:
Perhaps as a way to encourage and strengthen Mary in the challenge that lay before her – especially in enduring such a miraculous birth – God does a similar, though not as extraordinary, miracle in allowing Mary’s relative to become pregnant.
Companionship. We need it. That’s why God created the church. It is a spiritual body that comprises all the saved. But God could have added us to His body without creating the church. But God created a church – a body of people called together to worship and to encourage one another. All the epistles in the New Testament deal with bodies of Christians and how they needed to deal with each other.
We need to find spiritual companionship in the church. That’s how we strengthen and encourage each other. “Let all things be done for edification” (1 Corinthians 14:26).
The “Mary Model of Motherhood” finds strength and help from God’s companions…
#6 – HAS FAITH IN THE KNOWLEDGE, WISDOM, AND POWER OF GOD – 1:37:
Do you trust God’s knowledge? Do you trust God to do the wise thing? Do you believe that God can do all things?
The great prophet Jeremiah had said, “Ah Lord God! Behold, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and by your outstretched arm! Nothing is too difficult for you!” (32:17). We need to memorize and internalize the message of that verse!
The “Mary Model of Motherhood” has faith in the wisdom, knowledge, and power of God…
#7 – OBEYS WITH RESOLUTE ACCEPTANCE – 1:38:
The fact that Mary calls herself a “bond slave” suggests an attitude of complete obedience.
We see in these words a reflection of the words of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, “Not my will but Thine be done” (Luke 22:42). Could it be that Jesus learned this willingness to obey God at all costs from His own godly mother?
Consider the words of the faithful Job in the midst of his own challenge – “Though he slay me, I will hope in him” (Job 13:15).
When you totally commit yourself to God, then you totally rely on Him. That means that you can obey Him at all costs.
What is the “Mary Model”?
#1 - RECOGNIZE THAT THE LORD IS WITH US – 1:28
#2 – YOU WILL NOT ALWAYS UNDERSTAND THE LORD’S WAYS – 1:29
#3 ACCEPT GOD’S CHALLENGE – 1:30-33
#4 – ACCEPT GOD’S STRENGTH – 1:34-35:
#5 – FIND HELP IN GOD’S COMPANIONS – 1:36:
#6 – HAVE FAITH IN THE KNOWLEDGE, WISDOM, AND POWER OF GOD – 1:37:
#7 – OBEY WITH RESOLUTE ACCEPTANCE – 1:38
Take home message: Follow the “Mary Model” in your daily walk with Christ.