Do you remember being 14? What were you doing at 14? Fourteen. It’s an awkward time. Your body is somewhere between childhood and adulthood, Hormones are doing all sorts of weird things to your body and to your voice. And there is this great race to grow up.
Still, at fourteen you are not old enough to drive a car, vote, stay out late, or live on your own. At fort\teen, there are a lot of things that you are not allowed to do. Remember yourself at fourteen years old; in Junior High or High School, interested in things fourteen year old’s are interested in. You are still a child living in your parent’s home.
Then, one night, there is a disturbance in another room of your house. You get up to investigate and there, In the middle of your living room stands this supernatural, and absolutely terrifying angelic presence that speaks these words to you…“You will bring the son of God into this world!” What would you do? What would be going through your mind? Would you also be wondering how fast you could get out the back door and down the street? Would you say, “sure, no problem, I am ready for that!”
Keep this thought in mind as we examine the text today (Luke 1:26-38)
Scholars tell us that the betrothal age was between 13 and 15. Mary was about this age.
Today we are talking about Mary the mother of Jesus, she is person who causes great polarization in religious circles, some worship and pray to her some completely ignore her.
Usually Eastern Orthodox and Catholics give her too much honor, and Protestants don’t give her enough.
“In A.D. 431, the first official doctrine was issued honoring the Virgin Mary as “Theotokos,” God’s Mother. In 1854, Pope Pius IX declared her born without original sin. In 1954, papal dogma declared her bodily assumption to heaven. Now, many Catholics are hoping that Pope John Paul II will elevate Mary to “Co-Redemptrix, Mediatrix of All Graces and Advocate for the People of God.”
The Pope has receive 4 million-plus signatures by 1997, pushing for an “infallible” pronouncement that Mary shared in the redemption accomplished by Jesus, although the movement has invited “blistering criticism” from other Catholics and non-Catholics.” —Current Thoughts & Trends
We will look at what the bible says about her, not tradition or religion. If for no other reason we should honor her for trusting God in faith, accepting a huge challenge at 15 years of age.
She was a person like any of us, but she chose to be obedient to submit to God’s plan for her life. Throughout this series I hope you will see her humanity.
Luke 1:26 tells us an angel of the Lord appeared to Mary. Mary was not a prophet or a priest; she was not in God’s temple performing acts of service. Instead, she was simply a young woman who was living at home and planning her wedding, for she was engaged to be married to a man named Joseph. In ancient Jewish marriages, the word “engaged” (or “betrothed”) had a different meaning than today. First, the two families would agree to the union and negotiate the betrothal, including a price for the bride that would be paid to the bride’s father. Next, a public announcement would be made. At this point, the couple was “pledged.” This is similar to engagement today, except that it was much more binding. At this point, even though the couple was not officially married, their relationship could be broken only through death or divorce. Sexual relations were not yet permitted. This second step lasted for a year. During that time, the couple would live separately, with their parents.
This waiting period would demonstrate the bride’s purity. If she were found to be pregnant during that time, the marriage could be annulled. After this waiting time, the couple would be married and begin living together. What Mary was about to hear from the angel would have significant impact on her engagement.
A police officer pulled a guy over for speeding and had the following exchange: Officer: May I see your driver’s license? Driver: I don’t have one. I had it suspended when I got my 5th DUI. (Driving Under the Influence)
Officer: May I see the owner’s card for this vehicle? Driver: It’s not my car. I stole it.
Officer: The car is stolen? Driver: That’s right. But come to think of it, I think I saw the owner’s card in the glove box when I was putting my gun in there.
Officer: There’s a gun in the glove box? Driver: Yes sir. That’s where I put it after I shot and killed the woman who owns this car and stuffed her in the trunk.
Officer: There’s a BODY in the TRUNK?!?!? Driver: Yes, sir.
Hearing this, the officer immediately called his captain. The car was quickly surrounded by police, and the captain approached the driver to handle the tense situation:
Captain: Sir, can I see your license? Driver: Sure. Here it is. It was valid.
Captain: Who’s car is this? Driver: It’s mine, officer. Here’s the registration.
Captain: Could you slowly open your glove box so I can see if there’s a gun in it? Driver: Yes, sir, but there’s no gun in it. Sure enough, there was nothing in the glove box.
Captain: Would you mind opening your trunk? I was told you said there’s a body in it. Driver: No problem. The trunk was opened; no body.
Captain: I don’t understand it. The officer who stopped you said you told him you didn’t have a license, stole the car, had a gun in the glove box, and that there was a dead body in the trunk.
Driver: Yeah, I’ll bet he told you I was speeding, too.
What would you do if you were that officer? Go nuts? Tear your hair out? Scream? Mary must have felt that way too, in our Bible text this morning. It’s like a “get me to the nearest psychiatrist” reaction. Here’s Mary, perhaps thinking of marriage, preparing for the big day, already pledged to be married to a man named Joe, dreaming of driving the family SUV, with kids arguing about who gets to sit in front of the camel, and u being the perfect patient mom. Then an angel appeared.
26 …God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a village in Galilee,27 to a virgin named Mary. She was engaged to be married to a man named Joseph
Mary and Joseph were an average young couple planning to get married. During their engagement God showed up and announced they were to have a child together before they have even had sex. Many times things don’t go the way we plan. “Stuff happens.”
The point is, plans don’t always go the way we plan them. I’m not saying that everything that happens, God plans. That’s not true. God is not the author of evil. If someone gets raped, God didn’t plan that. When someone gets abused, when someone gets cancer… the Bible says God is not the author of evil. That’s why we’re to pray for His will to be done. God’s will is not always done. I can chose to not do God’s will.
The fact is, a lot of my plans gets messed up because I mess them up. My own stupidity messes up my own plans a lot of the times. We’re all very well acquainted that other people can mess up your plans. But sometimes God providentially, God sovereignty changes circumstances around because He’s got another idea in mind. And that’s obviously what happened at Christmas time about 2000 years ago.
WHAT CAN I DO?
Mary showed how a believer reacts to the unexpected. Life’s unexpected curves do not have to be catastrophic to the Christian. I hope you will use Mary’s approach to coping when life takes an unexpected turn. How do we approach life when it turns out different than what you expected? How do we respond when God is clearly at work working in miraculous ways we cannot deny?
In our next post, let’s look at three truths that Mary used when her life took an unexpected turn.
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