Malankara World

Sermon / Homily for Mothers' Day

Mary - A Willing Servant of God

by Cooper Abrams

Scripture: Luke 1:26-38


There was no greater event in the history of the world than the birth of Jesus Christ. Jesus was God as John 1:1-4 tells us:

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men."

What also is so marvelous is the way the Lord became a man and entered this world. God, the Son, came to this earth "born of a woman."

In Verse 35, Gabriel told Mary the Holy Spirit would come upon her and God's power would overshadow her and she would conceive a child. Christ's birth was a miracle in every respect. A young Jewish maid who was a virgin would conceive by the power of God and would bear a child.

There are many aspects of the miracle birth of Christ we could look at but I want to look at who was Mary, the maiden chosen by God to be the earthly mother of Jesus Christ.

I. Who Was Mary?

A. The name Mary was a very popular name in New Testament times. There are seven different Marys mentioned in the New Testament.

B. The Bible presents her as a godly chaste young Jewish girl who was betrothed to a devout Jewish carpenter named Joseph.

1. I think in most ways she was an ordinary young woman. Biblically we can say she was given no more or less potential than any other young girl or woman living them or today.

2. What made the difference in her life was her attitude towards God. What made her available to be used of God was her commitment to Him.

3. The proof of that is that when she heard the truth and God's plan she immediately accepted it. That showed her heart.

C. Mary suffered great embarrassment being with child and not having a husband.

1. It was a crisis. She was betrothed to Joseph.

2. Outwardly, it would be impossible for her to explain her situation to Joseph, her parents and their family and friends. God intervened in a dream and told him that the child Mary was carrying was of the Holy Spirit.

a. Joseph too was a godly young man and apparently loved her very much. Even before God spoke to him in a dream through and angel.

b. Matt. 1:19 says he did not want to publicly expose her and sought to privately put her away. Matt. 1:24 says Joseph obeyed God and married her.

3. It under the Old Testament Law was a capitol offense to have a child out of wed lock.

4. Yet, in spite of all this she accepted this difficulty as God's will relying on Him.

D. Apart from giving birth of Christ Mary is not a prominent figure in the New Testament.

1. That she was a faithful Jew can be seen in that she and Joseph carried out the rituals of presenting herself at the Temple at the proper times, such as after child birth and at the Passover.

2. After Jesus was born, the Bible tells us that Joseph and Mary had other children, at least four boys and two girls. This too shows her to be a normal woman and mother.

3. It appears that Joseph died and left her a widow with a large family. We do not know when he died, but I believe it would have to be after Jesus was old enough to work and provide for her. It may be that Jesus left home when he was thirty and began His public ministry because until that time his brothers were old enough to work and provide for the family

E. Some of the accounts in the New Testament do not flatter Mary and she is presented as being a devout young mother with very human traits who knew suffering, heartache and victory.

1. At Cana at the marriage feast where Jesus preformed His first miracle she appeared anxious and bossy.

2. Early in Jesus' ministry she and others in the family tried to get Jesus to return home thinking that He was "beside" himself. It seems as if she did not understand truly who He was and what He came into the world to do.

F. Mary was a loving mother.

1. Although it seems she did not fully understand her Son, she went to Jerusalem when they crucified Him and stood beneath the cross. Jesus spoke to her and John and entrusted each of them to the other.

2. After the resurrection we find the last mention of her in the Bible as she continued in prayer (Acts 1:14) with the other faithful who waited for the coming of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit and God beginning the institution of the local church.

3. Then the Bible is silent and mentions her no more.

4. The Roman Catholic church has perverted the memory of her with their false teachings of her immaculate concept by her parents, the supposed translation of her body to heaven, her supposed appointment as the co-redemptix with Christ, that she was the actual mother of God, that she serves as a interceder in heaven. All these things clearly grew out of Roman Catholicism's people being involved in the pagan female cults of the four century on.

II. Mary's Testimony, Faithfulness and Message.

A. Mary had shortcomings as all men and women, yet she was a godly woman who loved the Lord and was faithful to God. Like all the men and women God used in the Bible, the Lord did not hide their weaknesses. Yet, these men and women were greatly used of the Lord. The reason was it was God working in them that caused them to do great things for God. It was not their ability, but their willingness for God to use them that allowed the Lord to use them.

B. Luke 1:38 expresses her heart.

"And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her."

1. The course that the Lord had for her life was a difficult one. She would have a child and not know a man.

2. Clearly she understood what she was being asked to do. In verse 34, she replied...."how can this be seeing I do not know a man?"

3. Yet, fully understanding the difficulties she faced she replied and said "let Thy will be done."

C. Mary immediately left Nazareth and traveled south to her cousin Elizabeth's home near Jerusalem. Elizabeth too was going to have a miracle birth. She was barren, yet God performed a miracle and she like Sarah, Abraham's wife was too given a child.

When Mary entered saw Elizabeth her child, John the Baptist, leaped inside her. She was filled with the Holy Spirit and said:

"Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For, lo, as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in mine ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy. And blessed is she that believed: for there shall be a performance of those things which were told her from the Lord." (Luke 1:42-45)

D. Mary's reply is found in Luke 1:46-55,

"My soul doth magnify the Lord, And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Savior. For he hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden: for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed. For he that is mighty hath done to me great things; and holy is his name. And his mercy is on them that fear him from generation to generation. He hath shewed strength with his arm; he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. He hath put down the mighty from their seats, and exalted them of low degree. He hath filled the hungry with good things; and the rich he hath sent empty away. He hath holpen his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy; As he spake to our fathers, to Abraham, and to his seed for ever."

III. Mary Was God's Faithful Servant.

A. Why was God able to use her? Because she believed God. Elizabeth noted that and acknowledged Mary's belief in God.

B. No man or woman can be saved or used of God a part from believing in Him.

1. True belief will show itself in action.

2. A true believer will obey God and obey His will for their lives.

3. Often God calls us to do things that are difficult. He calls those who believe and love the Lord and want to serve Him.

4. He only chooses the faithful, the ones that believe. In the parable in Matt. 22:1, Jesus used a parable to illustrate this point. He said a king sent his servants to invite guest to his wedding feast. Some of the guest made little of the kings request, others just ignored it and went their way, others were hateful and spitefully treated the kings servants and killed some of them. He sent his servants out again and they brought in many, good and bad. One guest came without a wedding garment which was an insult to the king and the king cast him out.

Jesus then made the point of the parable: Matthew 22:14 "For many are called, but few are chosen."

Many people have little time for the Lord. Others are indifferent and others outright oppose Him. Other pervert the God's truth and put their faith in false teachings. Mary lived in a day when the Chief priest, elders, scribes and Pharisees and their religion dominated Jewish life. Their's was a false religion, not based on God's word or in truth. Jesus taught them the truth, but they rejected Him and God's truth and sought to kill Him. Eventually they had Him crucified. They are all unbelievers. Yet, Mary was among the few who believed the truth and rejected the false religion of the Jewish leaders. God cannot use nor does He call those who will not accept His word. Because she believed God gave her a special call.

C. Every woman and mother here has a special call from God to live a godly faithful life. God has a will and ministry for every mother here.

1. Often the will of God for the Mother and wife is a difficult one.

2. Mothers faithfully serve the Lord and are rarely mentioned.

Sometimes a wife is mentioned and acknowledged, but rarely one's mother.

ILLUS: We all know of Abraham Lincoln. Do you know who was his mother? President Lincoln said, "All that I am or ever hope to be, I owe to my angel Mother." (1809-1865) Yet, hardly anyone even knows her name. Lincoln was one if not the greatest President we have had he said, "I remember my mother's prayers and they have always followed me. They have clung to me all my life."

"All I am I owe to my mother. I attribute all my success in life to the moral, intellectual and physical education I received from her." -- George Washington

(1732-1799) These mothers were faithful to their God given privilege and responsibilities. Their sons were great men because they had a great and wonderful mother.

3. Like Mary, they understood God's appointed task and they replied "Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word." The word "handmaid" is the word used for a female slave. Mary was saying whatever the circumstances, whatever the difficulties, whatever the personal cost to her....she wanted God's will done in her life.

4. It was God who made Mary special. It was God's will for her and her commitment to it that her role in God's plan that made her a wonderful woman and child of God. She was no different from any other woman. She had her weaknesses, yet she obeyed God.

ILLUS: My earliest remembrances of my mother involved her getting us to church each Sunday. My father early in my life did not attend church, but my mother did every Sunday. We rarely if ever missed a Sunday. My mother did not drive, but she made sure that Daddy was up, all five of us children who were like stair steps were dressed and ready to go. Our clothes were always clean, we always had a good breakfast before we left. You see she took her responsibilities as a mother to her heart.

There could only be one Mary, who was the earthly mother of the Lord Jesus, but the Lord has many other mothers.

There is a problem today with many mothers. They are too busy and often too selfish put their own desires and wants above God's and their family. They have their projects and their desires and that is what motivates them. Many do not place God first. A mother cannot put the Lord first in her life...if she does not put her family first.

We mostly think of mothers in their role with their children, but there must be a father, a husband if a woman is to be a mother. A wife who is not a "help meet" to her husband will probably not be a good mother to her children. If the father and mother are at odds with each other the children and the family will greatly suffer.....and sadly God's will most likely will not be accomplished.

Being a godly mother and wife is not something that comes automatic. There are two sides to the matter.

First, a woman must be committed to the Lord and to his will for her life. She must believe and love the Lord.

Second, she must learn to be a devoted child of God with an open Bible and in prayer seeking God's guidance for her life and for her family.

You cannot separate these to parts of being the mother God intended one to be. One must be supported by the other.


1. The question for each of us is the same. Do we truly believe God and accept His word?

2. Only the believer is saved and only the believer can be used of the Lord.

3. True belief can be tested. If it is true it will produce results in our lives. Faith that is true will be a committed faith that willingly seeks God's will for one's life.

4. Do you want the blessings of God within your life? The question if for men, women, boys and girls. Will you truly believe the Lord and let Him use you?

5. It that your true desire?

See Also:

More Sermons for Mothers' Day

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