The Incarnation
from Mary’s standpoint
22 December 2019 AM – Luke 1-2 – Incarnation – Scott Childs

Introduction: Mary was a humble, pure young woman from the small mountain town of Nazareth. Though she may have only been in her late teens, she was godly virgin who loved the Lord. Engaged to be married to a righteous young man named Joseph, she anxiously awaited their wedding day. Unexpectedly, an angel spoke to Mary and his message radically changed their plans.

Transition: This morning I want us to focus our attention on three of Mary’s three reactions to the incarnation while we look for principles for our lives.

1.        Mary Puzzled
When I was a child, Christmas time was a time when we often put together large jigsaw puzzles. I believe that jigsaw puzzles got their name from the fact that looking at all the disconnected pieces is puzzling. In a similar way, the virgin Mary puzzled over the events that suddenly took place in her life.

a.         She puzzled over the angel’s greeting (1:28-29)
1)         We have no idea where Mary was when the angel appeared to her. God tells us that he “came in unto her” or literally came towards her or near her. The angel must have looked like a human, for she did not scream. We do not know how or when she discovered he was an angel.
2)         However, in his greeting the angel told her three startling things. She was highly favoured (i.e., enriched with grace). The Lord was with her. She was blessed of the Lord. One commentator pointed out that all these things are true of the believer in Jesus. We are highly favoured as Mary was (Eph. 1:6), the Lord is with us (Mat. 28:20), and we are blessed (Eph. 1:3). – David Guzik
3)         Mary was troubled (i.e., agitated) by these words and cast in her mind what he meant (i.e., she deliberated in her mind to figure it out). We must admit that those greetings would be puzzling to a young virgin woman, especially when coming from an unknown “man”.
4)         The angel then calmed her fears and explained his mission (v.30-31).
b.         She puzzled over how she could have a son (1:34-35)
1)         Though she believed the angel, she asked a legitimate question that truly puzzled her (v.34).
2)         She was a virgin. She and Joseph, though engaged, had not come together physically. She was pure. From a human standpoint, it was impossible that she could remain a virgin and become pregnant.
3)         This too, the angel explained to her (v.35).
a)         Her conception would be the result of the Holy Spirit coming upon her and God’s power shadowing over her.
b)         She would conceive supernaturally and the babe that would be born would be the incarnate God/man.
c)         With God, nothing is impossible! (v.37) He is just as capable of doing the impossible today as back then.
4)         Mary believed and accepted the will of God for her life (v.38). If we will believe God’s Word and accept His will for our lives, life will be much more fulfilling.
2.        Mary Praised
a.         She excitedly told Aunt Elizabeth (1:39-45)
1)         “We are given no specific reason as to why Mary should arise and go to Elisabeth in such haste, but the speed of her reaction suggests that it was because she was in turmoil and saw Elisabeth as someone in whom she could confide.” – Pett
2)         The angel told her Elizabeth’s supernatural secret and she would tell Elizabeth her supernatural secret.
3)         Elizabeth’s praise is worthy careful note (v.41-45).
b.         She sang praise to God (1:46-55)
1)         Read Mary’s song of praise (v.46-55)
2)         Mary acknowledged that God was her Saviour. He had saved her from her sins.
O  Mary certainly was blessed to become the mother of Jesus, but there is nothing in the Bible to suggest that we should pray to her, worship her, or adore her as many do. She did not remain virgin nor was she more saintly than any godly Christian today.

3.        Mary Pondered
a.         She pondered the shepherd’s words (2:17-19)
1)         That night when the shepherds found Joseph, Mary and baby Jesus lying in a manger, they excitedly told them all that the angels said (2:10-12) and did (2:13-14).
2)         It was all these things that Mary kept in her heart and pondered in her heart. She was still putting together the pieces of the “jigsaw puzzle mystery”.
b.         She marveled at Simeon’s words (2:25-33)
1)         Mary’s babe was circumcised when he was eight days old and given the name Jesus. After Mary’s purification (about 40 days), Joseph took her and Jesus to the temple to offer the required sacrifice. Being very poor, they offered two young birds. While at the temple, they were greeted by an old man, Simeon.
2)         Read Simeon’s account (2:25-32).
3)         Joseph and Mary marvelled at those things (v.33). This was another piece of the “jigsaw puzzle” for Mary to ponder. Her son would be a light to lighten the Gentiles and the glory of God’s people Israel.
c.          She kept Jesus’ youthful words in her heart (2:41-51)
1)         Quickly, the years passed. Mary bore at least six other children.
2)         When Jesus was twelve years old, the family made their annual trip to Jerusalem for the feast. This time, however, Jesus went to the temple and occupied His time discussing Bible doctrine with the doctors or teachers. He was so engrossed that the caravan left for Nazareth without Him (2:46-47).
a)         Here we see the capabilities of a twelve-year-old boy.
(1)      He chose to discuss spiritual matters rather than playing games with his friends and exploring the big city.
(2)      He was able to interact with adults as they discussed Bible doctrine.
(3)      He was able to ask thought-provoking spiritual questions.
(4)      He had amazing understanding in Bible doctrine and gave amazing answers.
(5)      He was able to fend for Himself, even at night, while He was away from His parents.
b)         We might think that Jesus had these abilities because he was the God/man. While that may partly explain this event, it does excuse the lack of spiritual maturity in many Christian young people today. Parents, your mentoring task is huge. Take it seriously. You have a very limited number of years to nurture a passion for God in your child’s heart. Once they leave home, your nurturing days are virtually over. I challenge you to devote yourself to that task as one of your highest priorities in life. You only get ONE chance.
3)         Note Jesus’ words to His parents (2:48-49)
4)         Joseph and Mary did not understand all that Jesus meant by His word (2:50)
5)         Mary kept all these sayings in her heart. Once again, we find Mary pondering these mysterious sayings about her son.
Conclusion: The incarnation of Christ from Mary’s standpoint was an amazing part of her life. She puzzled over the angel’s message. She praised God for the growing babe in her womb. She pondered the words of the shepherds, the words of Simeon and even the words of her son Jesus.

What have we learned? Like Mary, we must be willing to obey God and do His will even when it is difficult. We should never worship Mary or pray to her. She was a sinner saved by grace as we can be. If you have children at home, how spiritually-minded are they? Is their spiritual growth a top priority in your life? Read Luke 2:11. Have you trusted Christ to save you from judgment for your sin?

Song: O Little Town of Bethlehem (#2) GH:92