This week Pastor Chris continued in our Christmas series, focusing on the promise of joy. The world encourages us to find joy in superficial things, but we as God’s children have an inheritance of resolute and eternal joy. Mary was a young, diminished, and misunderstood teenager when God called her to carry the Christ child. As she magnified the Lord through her difficult circumstances, Mary experienced a joy that only comes through surrender to God.
1. Mary rejoiced because of God’s favor.
Luke 1:26–28 (ESV)
26 In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, 27 to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin’s name was Mary. 28 And he came to her and said, “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!”
Ephesians 1:6 (ESV)
6 to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.
• This portrays Mary as a recipient, not a dispenser, of divine grace.
Luke 1:29–30 (ESV)
29 But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be. 30 And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.
• Closed Mind: Those who use doubts as a way of staying in control of their lives and keep minds closed.
• Open Mind: Open to the truth and willing to relinquish control if they can be shown the truth.
Luke 1:31-33 (ESV)
31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”
• Jesus comes as the fulfillment of Scripture.
Genesis 3:15 (ESV)
15 I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.”
Isaiah 7:14 (ESV)
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.
•Jesus comes as a man.
•Jesus is the Son of the Most High.
Luke 1:34-35 (ESV)
34 And Mary said to the angel, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?” 35 And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God.
Luke 1:36-37 (ESV)
36 And behold, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. 37 For nothing will be impossible with God.”
2. Mary rejoiced because she surrendered and believed.
Luke 1:38 (ESV)
38 And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her
“Becoming a Christian is not like signing up for a gym; it is not a ‘living well’ program that will help you flourish and realize your potential. Christianity is not another vendor supplying spiritual services you engage as long as it meets your needs at a reasonable cost. Christian faith is not a negotiation but a surrender.” Tim Keller
3. Mary rejoiced because she knew God.
Luke 1:46–48 (ESV)
46 And Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Lord, 47 and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, 48 for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant. For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
Luke 1:49–55 (ESV)
49 for he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name. 50 And his mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation. 51 He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts; 52 he has brought down the mighty from their thrones and exalted those of humble estate; 53 he has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent away empty. 54 He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, 55 as he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his offspring forever.”
The Heart of Joy
- The Lord (v. 46)
- My Savior (v. 47)
- All Knowing God (v. 48)
- Righteous (v. 48)
- Mighty (v. 49)
- Personal (v. 49)
- Holy (v. 49)
- Merciful (v. 50)
- Worthy (v. 50)
- Powerful (v. 51)
- Sovereign (v. 52)
- Gracious (v. 52)
- Generous (v. 53)
- Just (v. 53)
- Humble Helper (v. 54)
- Faithful (v. 55)
- Forever (v. 55)
- What does it mean to have favor with God?
- How and why did Mary have favor with God? Do we have the same favor with God as she did?
- What does it mean when the Word says Mary’s soul magnified the Lord (Luke 1:46)?
- Pastor Chris said a closed mind doubts as a way of staying in control, while an open mind is willing to relinquish control. Do you agree? Have you ever experienced either one?
- Pastor Chris said the promise of joy comes when we surrender to Christ. Is there anything you need to surrender afresh this Christmas season?
- What was your answer to discussion question #4? Bring this area to the Lord this week in prayer.
- Meditate on Luke 1:46-55 this week. This Song of Mary is a hymn of praise to God and represents Mary’s heart posture toward God. As you meditate on this scripture, ask God to give you the joy of Mary.