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“Women of the Bible: Mary”

First Baptist Church https://fbcbartow.org

The first week we started this series, I mentioned some famous women in the world. Well, there may be no woman in the world (past or present) as famous as Mary the mother of Jesus.

Mary is the woman we will study today. What can we learn about the woman whom God used to carry, deliver, and raise His Son?

Well, let’s go to God in prayer and ask Him to speak to us as we learn about Mary, the mother of Jesus.


First of all, we don’t know a lot about Mary’s origins based on Scripture. However, we do have a pretty good idea of her lineage.

You see, there are two genealogies listed for Jesus: one in Matthew and the other in Luke.

Although both lead to Joseph (Jesus’ stepfather), it is commonly believed that the one in Luke is actually the line of Mary, though Joseph’s name was used because he was the male head of the household.

In what we believe to be Mary’s line, we see famous biblical figures such as David, Judah, Isaac, Abraham, Noah, and Adam.

Mary was from a very famous biblical line.

Yet, from all that we know about Mary, she was a normal Jewish young woman.

Let’s hear a little more about her story. Listen to Luke 1:26-38:

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.

Well, there we have one of the most famous parts of Mary’s story.

Of course, Mary would go on to deliver Jesus, the Son of God, who came to earth as a baby.

Mary would also go on to watch Jesus grow up and be unjustly crucified on the cross.

John 19:25

tells us, “Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene.”

Not only was Mary there when Jesus was crucified, she was there after His resurrection and even after He ascended back into heaven.

Listen to this moment in Acts 1:14, which comes after Jesus ascended into heaven in Acts 1:9. It says, “They all were continually united in prayer, along with the women, including Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers.”

Can you imagine the range of emotions that Mary experienced in her life?

She was engaged to be married to Joseph. She and Joseph probably had plans and dreams about how their life would go, then she is visited by an angel and told that she will have a baby right away, but not with Joseph. However, this baby would be the Son of God.

Imagine the initial confusion, then the joy of having this miraculous baby.

Imagine the pressure and challenges of raising the Son of God.

Imagine the heartache of seeing Him unjustly betrayed, arrested, beaten, humiliated, and then crucified.

Imagine the joy to learn of His resurrection, and to see Him again.

Then, imagine the wonder of seeing Him ascend into Heaven, back from where He first came, to be with His Father.

Imagine if you were Mary, and you knew that He was leaving, but where He was going, you would also go one day to see Him again.

All that is pretty incredible, isn’t it?

Well, this is the life that Mary lived.

Let’s learn a few things about Mary as we reflect upon this wonderful woman of the Bible.

First, . . .

‌I. Mary was favored by God.

Remember what the angel Gabriel said to Mary. He said in Luke 1:28, “Greetings, favored woman! The Lord is with you.”

There has been a lot of confusion over Mary’s status as one who was favored by God. She has often been thought of as a special person or even divine, particularly from the Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church. So, we need to understand from Scripture, that Mary was a regular young Jewish woman, who was used by God for a special purpose.

Mary was not chosen by God because she was special; Mary was special because she was chosen by God.

God did something special in her life. When we say that Mary was favored by God, we don’t mean that God was impressed by Mary, rather we mean that God showed His favor to Mary.

How do we know that this is what the Bible means when Gabriel calls Mary “favored woman?” Well, listen to what Mary herself says in Luke 1:46-49, “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.”

Mary says that God looked with favor on her, a humble servant. Gabriel did not say that God chose her because she was special or divine. Mary herself does not say that God chose her because she was special or divine.

God did not choose Mary because she was blessed; she was blessed because chose her. Mary says, “Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed, because the Mighty One has done great things for me, and his name is holy.”

The Mighty One did great things for Mary. Don’t you know, church, that the Mighty One has done great things for us? Don’t you know that the mighty one has done great things for you?

As the apostle John said in 1 John 3:1 “See what great love the Father has given us that we should be called God’s children—and we are!”

Listen, Christian: you are favored by God not because of anything that you have done, but by the wonderful grace and beautiful love of God.

Mary was favored by God; and in Christ, so are you.

Second, we learn . . .

‌II. Mary was obedient to God.

Luke 1:38 gives us a beautiful glimpse into Mary’s willingness to obey the Lord. She said, “See, I am the Lord’s servant. May it happen to me as you have said.”

Oh that God would give us that kind of obedience! Oh that we would take the stance that when God speaks, we listen and obey!

This was not always the case for every servant of God.

Of course, we remember the disobedience of Adam and Eve.

Also, let us not forget the disobedience of Jonah when he was commanded to preach to the people of Nineveh. He was so disobedient that God had him swallowed up by a great fish.

Let us not forget the reluctance of Moses when God called him to deliver the Israelites from Egyptian bondage.

Jacki King in her book The Calling of Eve says, “It takes approximately twenty-five verses of dialogue for Moses to accept his new role and mission from God—a stark contrast to Mary’s simple and humble, ‘I am the Lord’s servant.’”

Listen, church: if God calls you to do something, you can trust Him. You can trust that He will be faithful to you, and you can trust that you can be faithful to Him. You can respond as Mary responded, “See, I am the Lord’s servant. May it happen to me as you have said.”

You can respond in the way that Isaiah did in Isaiah 6:8: “Then I heard the voice of the Lord asking: ‘Who will I send? Who will go for us?’ I said: ‘Here I am. Send me.’”

May we be inspired by the obedience of Mary; this faithful woman of the Bible.

Finally, we learn that . . .

‌III. God was praised by Mary.

What was the response of Mary being favored and chosen by God? What was the result of Mary obediently responding to God and being used by Him? Well, we know how Mary responded. We’ve read part of this already. Listen to how Mary praised God. Listen to Luke 1:46-55:

46 And Mary said:

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.

The appropriate response to God blessing you and using you is to praise Him! The appropriate response to God fulfilling His promises in your life is to praise Him!

That’s why we sing together as a church; because God has blessed us, God has shown His favor to us, God is fulfilling His promises to us, and God deserves our praise!

We don’t sing as a church in order to entertain each other. We don’t sing as a church to see the talent of singers or musicians. We don’t sing as a church to have our musical preferences met. We sing as a church, together and collectively, because we sing to the only One who is worthy of praise!

We sing to the Mighty One who has done great things. We sing to the one whose name is holy. We sing to the one whose mercy is from generation to generation on those who fear Him.

Mary’s response was to praise God, and that should be our response as well.

That leads perfectly to our bottom line:

‌Bottom Line: God’s favor in our lives should lead to a life of obedience and praise.

When we are changed by God, we should be changed for God.

We should live a life of obedience and praise to God because of all that He has done for us.

Mary is a shining example of God showing His favor on someone, and that person being used by God for His glory, resulting in obedience and praise to Him.

Challenge yourself this week in the following ways:

‌Weekly Challenge #1 – Identify three ways that God has shown you His favor.

Take some time this week and think about how God has shown you His favor. Perhaps write it down so that you can reflect on it and remember it.

‌Weekly Challenge #2 – Identify one way that you can step out in obedience.

Mary set a glaring example of obedience. She said, “I am the Lord’s servant.” What about you? How can you live your life in obedience as the Lord’s servant?

(Gospel presentation)

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