Going Deeper

Going Deeper

Mary & Joseph (6-27-20)

Luke 1:26-30 In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!” But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be. And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.”

As we dive into Mary’s testimony, we come to understand that she is a teenage girl, committed to Joseph to be married, and is preparing for her wedding. Things get interesting as she is visited by an angel of the Lord. Now, any of us would be freaked out at the sight of the angel, but not Mary. Notice that she is troubled, but not at the sight of an Angel. Instead it’s at his announcement that she is favored, and the Lord is with her. What I love about Mary’s response is what it reveals about her heart for God! An angel has just told her that she is “highly favored and that God is with her.”

Realize that the way the Jewish people thought about God’s presence was in the tabernacle, the Holy of Holies, where only the High Priest could go on their behalf. So, these are not casual, flippant words for Mary. The concept of God being with us and the concept of our being favored by God are not words that Mary took lightly—it rocked her!

Here is the point: It should rock us, too! She was blown away at the thought that God would draw near to her. What a life altering, profoundly powerful idea that the living God has drawn near to us. Not only does He draw near, but He has a plan and a provision for us. He had a plan for Mary as well.

Luke 1:31-33 “And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”

We also see this life-altering announcement given to Joseph.

Matthew 1:18-25 Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel”(which means, God with us). When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus.

Joseph and Mary both show signs of great faith in God despite being told life-changing news. How big do you believe God is?

We serve a huge God who knows no bounds. He is able, more than able. He does, and will do, what is best for His eternal purposes. There is no situation that is above God or out of His reach.

I think it was Mary and Joseph’s big view of God that helped them thrive in a really tough situation. If God is small and limited in your mind and heart, you will worry, and you will doubt. If God is big, sovereign, and over it all, you will lean not on your own understanding but trust in Him.

Luke 1:34-37 And Mary said to the angel, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?” And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God. And behold, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. For nothing will be impossible with God.”

Now surely, in Mary’s life, this news is not the peace for which she is looking. But we must step back and understand her situation.

  1. Her People in Unrest:

Her people are in unrest from the incredibly high taxation under Caesar, hatred and brutality of Herod, and the military force Rome was applying to the Jewish people.

  1. The Unplanned Pregnancy of an Engaged, Teenage Girl:

By tradition, her pledged spouse would try to divorce her, or have her stoned, for her perceived adultery! Think about what this does to her wedding plans—because, you don’t mess with a girl’s wedding!

Can you imagine what the town will say when she starts to show?

What does she say, “Oh an angel visited me; the Holy Spirit made me pregnant.”

“Come on Mary, just admit it, you are a floozy and a liar.”

There are so many reasons for Mary to be freaking out. But listen carefully to the response of a scared teenage girl who is in the midst of an oppressive upbringing, an arranged marriage, and now hearing news that would rip any young girl’s social life apart.

Luke 1:38 And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.

In the midst of all of life’s chaos, on the heels of more chaotic news, she is at peace! She is experiencing great harmony with God even in the midst of the storm and with more curveballs to come—including a one-hundred-mile donkey ride while pregnant and giving birth in a dirty, animal cave. Yet, she is at peace! How? Why? There are three things we see in Mary that help us understand real and lasting peace!

  1. Mary has a high view of God

Listen to her heart as she sings out to God these words:

Luke 1:46-55 And Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant. For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name. And his mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation. He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts; [Listen to the great divine insight she has as she must be thinking about who really is in power instead of Herod or Caesar.] he has brought down the mighty from their thrones and exalted those of humble estate; he has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent away empty. He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, as he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his offspring forever.”

Her soul magnifies the Lord and rejoices in God, for holy is His name and mighty is His power.

There are a lot of things in our sin in which we can magnify and rejoice. Mary’s heart is fixed on God, and she sees Him as Holy and worthy. She sees Him as mighty over all things. This is how she has peace—because she has a healthy and high view of God.

Author Steve Brown, says it so well, “As long as I could keep God in church, in my theology books, and in my God discussions, I could deal with Him. But when the real God came, it felt like he shook the church, burned the books, and laughed at some of our God discussion. I then realized that one doesn’t “deal with” God. He deals with us!”

We must be growing in our view of who God is. If peace is going to be real in our hearts and minds, so must our huge God! In John 3:30 John says it well, “He must increase, but I must decrease.”

  1. Mary surrendered to the will of God.

Luke 1:38 And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” …

If you are in charge of your life and you have not truly surrendered it to God in all things, that means you are still trying to hold onto the controls, and it’s no wonder why you have no peace; it’s no wonder why you are freaking out!

Mary has every opportunity to doubt God, to make excuses, and to run away, but she surrenders.

How are you at surrendering yourself to God’s will, to God’s word, so that He is the true authority in your life? Mary models a life that is truly surrendered to God and truly yielding to His will by saying, “Let it be to me according to your word.”

  1. Mary and Joseph embraced the good news of Jesus

Luke 1:31-33 “And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”

Later to Joseph, the Angel says, “She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”  We must understand that we are powerless for peace by ourselves, and why we are powerless for peace—because of our sin. This is why we need a savior!

Man’s power produces idolatry and when he elevates anything over God, that is sin. Sin is idolatry! When our relationships, our stuff, our status, or our success is more important to us than God is, that is sin. What we have to understand is that when these things are so important to us, we will stress about keeping them in order, from breaking down.

The problem is our relationships, our stuff, our status, our successes, and our health, all break down.

Psalm 38:18 (NASB) … I am full of anxiety because of my sin.

Man doesn’t have the power to not stress nor to not worry, because man is sinful; and, when we value the things God created more than God, we are in sin. And when that stuff breaks down, we can stress.

The good news is the arrival of Jesus!

Matthew 1:21 “… you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”

There is no peace in this world without the Prince of Peace. There will be no peace in your life without the Prince of Peace.

Isaiah 9:6 (NIV) For to us a child is born, to us a son is given and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called … the Prince of Peace.

What Mary and Joseph understood, and the reason why they had true peace, is that their very souls received the good news of the child that would set us free!  The question is, do you have a high view of God that causes you to truly surrender your life to Jesus alone, to trust in Him and rest in His peace even when times are hard, not going well, and/or not looking good on the horizon?

Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.

6 In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.

By His grace and for His glory,

-Shepherd

Soldiers for Jesus MC