In Advent and Christmas this year we are teaching in Luke 1 and 2 around the theme of Hope for Everyone. Week one was Zechariah: Despite All Odds. Week two was a fresh look at the announcement to young Mary: Let it Be! (You can listen here.) Our view of Mary is one of those places where the history of the church is again afflicted with the peril of the pendulum – swinging from the extreme of overstated or excess devotion to outright neglect and understatement. I suggest that the biblical balance comes from seeing Mary as Honored Mother and Model Disciple. Mary was originally given the title, Theotokos (God-bearer or “the one who bore the one who is God.”) This was not to draw attention primarily to her, but to defend the incarnation of the God-Man, Jesus Christ! We have much to learn from Mary about what a devoted disciple looks like. In the sermon, I suggest 5 ways that Mary models being a devoted disciple of Jesus:
- Mary was ‘ordinary’ but chosen.
- Mary responded to Grace (“…my spirit rejoices in God my Savior!”)
- Mary was an obedient, humble servant (“I am the Lord’s bond-servant; may it be to me according to Your Word.”)
- Mary was a worshipper (“she pondered all these things in her heart;” “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord!”)
- Mary overflowed with hope her whole life (“a sword will pierce your own soul;” she was at the cross and with the disciples waiting for the Holy Spirit launching the mission of the church.
Some resources for further study: Two books, one by Scot McKnight, The Real Mary; and Frederica Matthewes – Green, Mary As the Early Christians Knew Her, looking at well known early writings in the church that suggest traditions beyond the biblical narrative.)