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Mary – The Mother of Our Lord

First Baptist Church https://fbcbartow.org

“Mary – The Mother of Our Lord”

Series: The Characters of Christmas [on screen]

Rev. Matthew C. McCraw, EdD

First Baptist Church, Bartow, Florida

November 28, 2021

Introductory Comments:

Today, we are beginning a five week series learning about the characters of Christmas. Each week we’ll be looking at a different person, or people, whom God worked through to bring about the miracle of Christmas. 

Before we go too far into this morning’s sermon, I’d like to reflect upon an ancient prophecy, uttered not long after the very first humans came into our world.

After Adam and Eve chose to sin, a lot of blame was passed around as to whose fault it was that sin came into the world. 

God held all parties responsible, including Adam, Eve, and the serpent. In line with that, God pronounced a curse upon Adam, Eve, and the serpent.

Here is what God said to the serpent: Genesis 3:15 says, “I will put hostility between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring. He will strike your head, and you will strike his heel.” [on screen]

Eventually, a descendant from the line of Adam and Eve would come and He would be the One who would defeat the serpent, the devil, and all his evil forces. 

Well, that descendant was Jesus. This is what Christmas is all about! Jesus came to defeat sin and to show that God’s love is more powerful than the lies of the serpent. 

The seed of the woman: Eve, would be born through another woman: Mary. 

Mary is the one we’re learning about today. Today’s sermon is about “Mary – The Mother of Our Lord.” [on screen]

As we journey through this sermon today, we’re going to learn who Mary was, what she did, and what we can learn from her. 

Before we go any further, let’s pray together.


I want to give sort of a spoiler at this point. Mary wrote a beautiful song as a result of God choosing to use her. I want to look at this first. By the way, we’ll be spending most of our time in Luke 1 and 2.

For Mary’s song, look at Luke 1:46-55:

And Mary said:

46 My soul magnifies the Lord,

47 and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,

48 because he has looked with favor
on the humble condition of his servant.
Surely, from now on all generations
will call me blessed,

49 because the Mighty One
has done great things for me,
and his name is holy.

50 His mercy is from generation to generation
on those who fear him.

51 He has done a mighty deed with his arm;
he has scattered the proud
because of the thoughts of their hearts;

52 he has toppled the mighty from their thrones
and exalted the lowly.

53 He has satisfied the hungry with good things
and sent the rich away empty.

54 He has helped his servant Israel,
remembering his mercy

55 to Abraham and his descendants forever,
just as he spoke to our ancestors.

Mary wrote and sang this beautiful song in appreciation and admiration of God who would use her to be the one through whom all generations would be blessed.

Well, let’s see what happened.

First, let’s learn a little bit about who Mary was. Let’s look at . . .

I. Mary’s Life [on screen]

First of all, it’s commonly believed that Mary is from the tribe of Judah. 

There are two genealogies (or birth lines) are mentioned for Mary. The one that is mentioned in Luke 3 differs from the one in Matthew 1. The understanding here is that Matthew refers to Joseph’s line and Luke refers to Mary’s. 

Now, you might say, “Wait a minute, pastor! They both end with Joseph!” Well, keep in mind that the father was the head of the household and the representative of the household, so Joseph was probably listed at the end of Mary’s line because he was the head of the household.

So, Mary was from the tribe of Judah, which would mean Jesus was from the tribe of Judah. 

Also, we know that Mary was related to Elizabeth. We read about that in Luke 1:36, which we’ll read in a moment. What is significant about this fact is that Elizabeth was the mother of John the Baptizer, which made John and Jesus relatives. 

The Scriptures also tell us that Mary was a virgin, meaning she had not had an intimate relationship with a man. We see this fact in Luke 1:27. So, Mary was probably pretty young at the time. Women got married fairly young, so we can make a good guess that Mary may have been in her mid to late teens at the time she became pregnant with Jesus. 

By the way, we also know that Mary was engaged to Joseph. She was betrothed to him. 

To be betrothed in ancient Israel was as good as being married. Mary was legally bound to Joseph. We’ll talk more about this next week, but just know that this was not like an engagement in the modern United States. People in our culture can get engaged and unengaged without any big deal. Not so in the days of Mary.  

Here’s something that I want us to understand about Mary: she was a normal Jewish young woman. God did not choose to use her because she was divine. God did not choose her because she was more special than others. God choose her because God wanted to choose her. 

She was normal. In fact, after Jesus was born, Mary would have had to carry out the normal duties of a mother in ancient Israel. 

By the way, from what we can gather, Mary and Joseph didn’t have a lot of money, so Mary would not have had any household servants to help with the duties. 

So, Mary would have had to help educate her children (including Jesus), she would have cooked, cleaned, helped take care of her husband, taken care of the garden, butcher animals, bake bread, milk the goat, gather water, make clothes, clean clothes, keep oil in the lamps, gather firewood, and more!

It was also normal for Jewish mothers to have more than one child, and this was the case for Mary as well. We know from Mark 6:3 that Mary had another six other children. Mark records, “Isn’t this the carpenter, the son of Mary, and the brother of James, Joses, Judas, and Simon? And aren’t his sisters here with us?” [on screen]

So, despite what some churches teach, Mary was not divine, she was not a virgin forever, and she was not inherently special. She was special because God chose her; God didn’t choose her because she was special. 

Also, after the death of Jesus, Mary was cared for by the apostle John, at least in some form. We see in John 19:26-27, “When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple he loved standing there, he said to his mother, ‘Woman, here is your son.’ Then he said to the disciple, ‘Here is your mother.’ And from that hour the disciple took her into his home.” [on screen]

So, this is a little that we know about Mary’s life. She was a normal woman who was chosen by God to accomplish one of the most amazing miracles in the history of human civilization. That miracle would become part of Mary’s legacy. 

That’s our next section: 

II. Mary’s Legacy [on screen]

As we get into this section, I’d like for us to read the story as a whole. Let’s look at Luke 1 starting in verse 26.

26 In the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, 27 to a virgin engaged to a man named Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 And the angel came to her and said, “Greetings, favored woman! The Lord is with you.” 29 But she was deeply troubled by this statement, wondering what kind of greeting this could be. 30 Then the angel told her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 Now listen: You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give him the throne of his father David. 33 He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and his kingdom will have no end.”

34 Mary asked the angel, “How can this be, since I have not had sexual relations with a man?” 

35 The angel replied to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore, the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. 36 And consider your relative Elizabeth—even she has conceived a son in her old age, and this is the sixth month for her who was called childless. 37 For nothing will be impossible with God.”

38 “See, I am the Lord’s servant,” said Mary. “May it happen to me as you have said.” Then the angel left her.

So, we see here this beautiful moment when Mary is notified by the angel Gabriel that she has been chosen by God to give birth to God’s Son.

First of all, notice Mary’s reaction when she says that she is favored by God. Luke says in verse 29, “ . . . she was deeply troubled by this statement, wondering what kind of greeting this could be.” Mary is essentially saying, “Who, me? Why me?” Mary knows that she’s just a regular young woman. She has no idea why God would choose to show favor to her and bless her. 

Also, we learn that this is not just any baby. This baby is described in verses 32 and 33, “He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give him the throne of his father David. He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and his kingdom will have no end.” He will be “Son of the Most High,” meaning that He will be the Son of God. He will sit on the throne of David, meaning that He will be the promised Messiah for whom Israel has been waiting and hoping. His kingdom will never end, meaning that He will be eternal. 

Mary has been chosen to give birth to the divine, Son of God, who is the eternal Messiah, Jesus Christ! Oh, what a miracle! Oh, what a legacy!

This is one of my favorite parts of Mary’s legacy. Listen to her response in verse 38: “See, I am the Lord’s servant . . . May it happen to me as you have said.”

Mary didn’t have it all figured out, but she had an angel in front of her, telling her that God has chosen her, and Mary responded “I am the Lord’s servant . . . may it happen as you said.” She’s basically saying, “I’m all in . . . let’s do this!”

One of the greatest legacies of Mary’s life is her willingness to be used by God. We’ll talk about that more in a moment. 

Of course, part of Mary’s story and her legacy was the actual birth of Jesus. Let’s read that famous passage. Look at Luke 2:1-7:

1 In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that the whole empire should be registered. 2 This first registration took place while Quirinius was governing Syria. 3 So everyone went to be registered, each to his own town.

4 Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family line of David, 5 to be registered along with Mary, who was engaged to him and was pregnant. 6 While they were there, the time came for her to give birth. 7 Then she gave birth to her firstborn son, and she wrapped him tightly in cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.

Just so you know, we’re going to look at the actual birth story some more in the coming weeks, but I couldn’t pass over it as we discuss Mary, because she was a big part of the birth story. 

We also know that Mary was still around when Jesus was crucified. Indeed, we know that she was present at his heartbreaking death. As we heard earlier, Jesus told John the apostle to take care of Mary after his death. 

Did you know that Mary is even mentioned in the book of Acts? After Jesus rose from the dead and ascended back into heaven, Mary was there with the other early followers of Jesus. Acts 1:14 says, “They all were continually united in prayer, along with the women, including Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers.” [on screen]

So, Mary’s legacy is that she was chosen by God and willing to be used by God and His servant. 

Now, let’s see . . .

III. Mary’s Lesson [on screen]

What can we learn from the life and legacy of Mary?

First of all, Mary was an ordinary woman trying to figure out the will of God. 

When it was announced that she would give birth to Jesus, Mary replied in Luke 1:34, “How can this be?”

One commentary that I read about this was helpful. It pointed out that Mary didn’t ask this question in a spirit of doubt about whether or not it could happen, but rather how it would happen. Mary was trying to understand the will of God. 

Later, when Jesus was an adult, Mary seemed to try to rush along the mission of Jesus. It seemed she was trying to figure out Jesus’ mission on earth. Remember when Jesus turned water into wine? That started with Mary asking him to do something about the situation. We read in John 2:1-5, “On the third day a wedding took place in Cana of Galilee. Jesus’s mother was there, and Jesus and his disciples were invited to the wedding as well. When the wine ran out, Jesus’s mother told him, ‘They don’t have any wine.’ ‘What has this concern of yours to do with me,woman?’ Jesus asked. ‘My hour has not yet come.’ ‘Do whatever he tells you,’ his mother told the servants.” [on screen]

So, here’s the first lesson from Mary’s life for us: Lesson #1 – Sometimes, we won’t know all the details about what God is doing. [on screen]

Also, we see that even though Mary didn’t know all the details, she was still faithful. 

Remember how Mary responded? She said in verse 38 “See, I am the Lord’s servant . . . May it happen to me as you have said.”

Mary didn’t have everything figured out, but she trusted God and she was willing to be used by God. So, Lesson #2 is – We must be completely sold out to God’s plan for our lives. [on screen]

The final lesson we can learn from Mary is this, Lesson # 3 – God will use ordinary people to do extraordinary things. [on screen]

Mary was an ordinary poor young woman in Israel. Even after she was visited by an angel and even after Jesus was born, she was still like other Jewish women in many ways. Yet, God used her miraculously. 

Church, we need to understand that God is still in the business of using ordinary people. He can use you and He can use me. He can use an ordinary church like ours to change the world. We must trust Him and we must be willing to be used by Him. 

That takes us nicely to our bottom line:

Bottom Line: May we be willing as Mary was willing. [on screen]


God literally changed the world by using a willing poor young woman. God can change the world through you also. 

Now, some of you might be thinking, “Pastor, there’s no way I’m giving birth to Jesus! Only Mary can do that! I don’t think that’s happening again!”

Well, that’s true. That’s a good observation on your part. 

However, don’t forget these words of Jesus our Lord. 

Jesus said in John 14:12, “Truly I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do. And he will do even greater works than these, because I am going to the Father.” [on screen]

Also, Jesus said in Acts 1:8, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come on you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”[on screen]

Church, never underestimate what God can and will do through you when you are willing. 

Be like Mary, be willing to be used by God however He chooses to use you. 

Challenge yourself this week in the following ways:

Weekly Challenge:

1. Rate your willingness. [on screen]

Take some time this week and think about how faithful you are to do whatever it is God is calling you to do. Perhaps even give yourself a rating from one to ten. 

You might say, “Well that depends on what God is calling me to do!”

How willing are you to do whatever God is calling you to do?

2. Thank God for all that He accomplished through Mary. [on screen]

Although Mary was just an ordinary human, it is appropriate for us to thank God for what He accomplished through her. God deserves all the glory, not Mary. But, part of giving God glory is thanking Him for what He did through her. 

So, take some time this week and thank God for all that He did through Mary. 


Remember that prophecy that I quoted at the beginning of the sermon? Remember how God said that the seed of the woman would crush the head of the serpent? Well, God kept His promise. Jesus came through Mary and He would defeat sin, He would defeat the devil, and He would defeat death.

Through Jesus, the world was changed forever. That’s what we celebrate at Christmas. God blessed the world through what He did through Mary. 

If you’ve been changed by Jesus, be willing to be used as Mary was used.

If you have not been changed by Jesus, come to Him today. Do you know that the angel told Mary to name her baby “Jesus,” which means, “The Lord saves” or “The Lord is salvation?” I say to you now, the Lord is salvation. If you’ve not experienced salvation from the Lord yet, come to Jesus today. 

(Gospel presentation)

(closing prayer)

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