Do you know the real Mary, mother of Jesus?
Walking around our neighborhood, I see small creches – depictions of the birth of the Christ child with Mary and Joseph and baby Jesus and maybe a few sheep or cows nearby. Sometimes depictions of shepherds or kings kneeling are also shown. So Mary and child and Joseph are clearly there.
But how do YOU feel about Mary? If you are Catholic, you adore her. But all of you reading this who are not Catholic, how do YOU feel about her? Do you ever speak of her? Does your pastor ever give a sermon about her? And should he?
I am writing on this because I know there’s a proclivity among conservative 7th day sabbath keepers and Hebrew roots folks to just dismiss Mary. Check your own heart on this. After all, she’s been idolized by the world’s largest Christian faction, the Catholics. You may know -- or not -- about the Catholic doctrines of the Immaculate Conception, the Assumption of Mary to heaven, and that Catholics call her “the Queen of Heaven” (compare Jeremiah 44) and on and on. There are also many reported visions of Mary by young girls and others.
My point is, for many sabbath keeping folks, there’s a bias against having anything to do with Mary. Again, am I right? Check your own heart.
But folks, we’re talking about the very special, specific young woman God Most High in heaven personally selected to be the woman to be the mother of his own and only son. He picked Mary to give birth to his son and raise him in a good home, good environment and do all they could to help him not ever sin. We’re talking about a woman to whom God sent his special messenger angel Gabriel with this stunning news. And we’re talking about a very humble and gracious woman – and therefore one God could magnify and bring out her greatness. I think it’s time we honor this great woman and learn from her life.
So I have a new sermon about Mary. I hope you’ll watch the video or hear it and review the notes. It’s time we stopped dismissing this great woman, if we do. I personally believe her to be the greatest of all the women of the Bible and in the top 5 or top 10 of all the people in the Bible – men or women! Mary has a lot to teach us by her life example of humility, grace, submission to God and obedience, and so I hope you enjoy the message.
Imagine realizing as you listen to Gabriel, God’s special messenger angel tell you that you’ve been hand-picked by God himself to carry His very son to term -- conceived of the Holy Spirit – and what all that could entail. She must have thought of the prophecy in Genesis 3:15 where God said this to Satan the serpent after Satan deceived Eve into eating the forbidden fruit, and who then urged her husband to also eat of it, though Adam was not deceived:
Genesis 3:15 -- “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, And between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, And you shall bruise His heel."
This was a prophecy about the Messiah and Jews understood that. Mary would have understood that. That future seed of Eve would vanquish Satan. As one song says, “the child that you’ve delivered, will soon deliver you.” At what point did it really sink in to Mary that she was giving birth to the Deliverer of humanity, and her OWN Deliverer!? In my teaching I discuss how Mary herself needed to be delivered. Imagine the thoughts racing through Mary’s mind to realize it was to be HER seed, HER son, to face combat with Satan.
I don’t know if Mary immediately connected Psalm 22 and Isaiah 53 prophecies – to her son. But surely after the resurrection she must have. She knew, her son would be suffering a great deal while fulfilling this calling.
It wasn’t long before she was realizing SHE was the one hand-picked to fulfill the prophecy of a VIRGIN conceiving and bearing a son who was going to be “GOD with us” – or Immanuel.
Isaiah 7:14 -- “Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.”
The angel Gabriel told her that the father of this, her first child, would be God himself, and the Holy Spirit would be the means, the seed by which she would become pregnant. The Father of her baby to come, was God himself. The thoughts must have been overwhelming.
So Mary was very, very special. In my sermon, I make plain that we definitely should not ignore her. But on the other hand, what does scripture say about worshiping Mary or praying to her? All that and more is in the sermon.
In the popular song “Mary, did you know?” – I found the lyrics to be surprisingly praising of Christ. It was not about Christmas, but lauding Yeshua! I don’t keep Christmas. Christ was not born on December 25, and Christmas today is rarely even about Jesus anymore. I have many sermons and blogs about why I don’t keep Christmas.
But I do love and worship my Savior, God’s son, Mary’s son. I’m so glad God did send him to us to save us all from our sins. The song “Mary did you know” praises Jesus. It’s not really about Mary but asking her if she realized just how GREAT her son was going to be! Here is part of the lyrics.
“Did you know that your baby boy has come to make you new?
This child that you’ve delivered, will soon deliver you…
Mary did you know that your baby boy is Lord of all creation?
Did you know that your baby boy will one day rule the nations?
Did you know that your baby boy is heaven’s perfect Lamb?
This sleeping child you’re holding …is the great I Am?”
Nothing wrong with those lyrics at all. Mary was very special to be the one hand-picked to raise such a child.
In the sermon I also discuss – was she immaculately conceived? What does the Bible say about that? Was she assumed body and soul to heaven? All that and more.
I hope you’ll enjoy the sermon.