You can listen to the podcast for this sermon here.
This is the day when many preachers of God’s Word will spend 30 minutes or so on a topic none have experience at. Some will pretend this day is no different than any other. This is the day that some men will dote on the mother of their children, check the box and think they’re good for another year. Being a mom is a tiring, demanding, and never ending responsibility, but it’s not just a job, it’s a calling. You may not be a mom, but the principles we’ll look at today will apply to you as well.
A mother called by God submits to the will of God. When you look at the life of Mary, she was only a teenager when she was confronted with the challenge to be completely submitted to God’s will. When Gabriel gave her the angelic message that she was to carry the Christ, Mary was a bit freaked out. Take a quick look at Luke 1:34-38. When told what was going to happen, Mary had some questions. “How can this be since I am a virgin?” The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy Child shall be called the Son of God.” Try and put yourself in Mary’s shoes. She and Joseph were engaged to be married and in the culture, Joseph bore the responsibility of a married man, but sexual contact was forbidden. So Mary comes up pregnant. She had a choice: submit to God’s will or not. The same choice exists for us. We can be obedient or not.
For Mary, the key sentiment for her life is found in her statement, “Behold, the bondslave of the Lord; may it be done to me according to your word.” She didn’t say, “Pick someone else.” She didn’t say, “Have you considered my cousin Elizabeth?” In fact the angel told her that Elizabeth was also pregnant – two miracles. Remember that Elizabeth was old and barren. What Mary realized was that the supernatural power of God chose her to bare the Son of God. Bible scholars don’t agree on Mary’s age. She could be as young as 13 which was a typical betrothment age, but most everyone agrees that she was a teenager. She was chosen by God. The angel Gabriel called her, “The favored one” in v. 28. Favored means show kindness.
Mary was quite perplexed (baffled) by Gabriel’s statement. “Don’t be afraid” Gabriel told her, “You have found favor with God.” What in the world would she have to fear? Maybe she wasn’t sure how to raise a child. Maybe she and Joseph weren’t planning on having children for a few years. She had been chosen to carry the Son of God, God’ only child. Wouldn’t you be afraid? You might be thinking, “No way, the angel spoke to her. If an angel was sent to me or if God spoke to me, I’d do whatever He said.” So why is it, when you have an opportunity to share the good news of the Gospel of Christ, you get butterflies in your stomach and you think you can’t do it? Why is it that when God calls you to do something, you need to pray about it? Mary did not waver from her complete submission to God’s will. I’m sure she was nervous. I’m sure she wondered if she had what it takes to raise a child; if she’d do it “right.” I’m sure she was concerned about her part in the prophecy of the Messiah.
You’re probably have the same concerns as Mary. You probably stay up late waiting for the date to be over and for your child to be returned home unharmed and untouched. You’re probably concerned that your child walks in obedience to God. Mary was like any parent who wanted the best, safest, and most comfortable life for her child and at the same time, being fully aware that things happen and life can throw you something completely unexpected. The big “bu0″t for Mary was that she was committed to God and that is worth imitating.
Something else that is encouraging is that a mother called by God does not have to be perfect. Perfection is unrealistic this side of heaven. We live in a world where we have plastic surgery to improve our looks. We color our hair. We have gym memberships. Our detergent is new and improved. When you call any large organization, you have to pay attention because the menu options have changed to make it better. Aren’t you glad you don’t have to be perfect?
I read a story about a woman named Linda Huckins. It was her daughter’s wedding day and she wanted everything to be perfect. As the mother of the bride she went to the front of the church to light one of the candles. As the story goes, she got a little too close to the flame and her acrylic nail caught on fire. Remember, wanting everything to be perfect, she nonchalantly lit the candle with her flaming nail. After she was done, she blew her finger out like a gunslinger with his six-shooter. All this in pursuit of perfection. (Linda Huckins, Malden, MA. “Rolling Down the Aisle,” Christian Reader).
Despite the fact that she was the mother of Jesus, Mary wasn’t perfect. Some teach that Mary was perfect, without sin, that somehow she is the queen of heaven. Some teach that we should pray to Mary and that she is a saint. Mary wasn’t perfect. Luke 1:47 tells us that Mary, “Rejoiced in God my Savior.” If Mary was perfect, why would she need a Savior? Luke 2:22-24 tells us that Mary and Joseph made sacrifices according to the Law. When you look at what the “Law of the Lord” is referring to, you come to Lev. 12:8. The pair of turtledoves or pigeons? One is for a burnt offering, the other a sin offering. Mary wasn’t perfect and you don’t have to be either. I’m sure you’ve made mistakes. Through it all, God will love you and will continue to work in you to accomplish what He began.
A mother called by God retains the title. No matter what your children do, no matter how rebellious or unloving they may be, you’re still the mom. Scripture describes the scene as Jesus hung on the cross. In each of the Gospel accounts, we see that His mother is there. Despite the obvious emotional pain and anguish she is experiencing, she’s there. She was the mother of Jesus and she never stopped being His mom. No matter the pain and suffering, a mom is there to the end. You see moms in the schools, the hospitals, and in the funeral homes. No matter the situation, moms are there. For Mary, the reality of Simeon’s prophecy in Luke 2:30 when he said, “For my eyes have seen Your salvation” was realized.
The crosses are different for every family, but more often than not, the crosses are present. There may be a divorce, or disease, or death. There may be arguments. Some tough love may have to be dished out. There may be long and sleepless nights.
Everybody here has a mother. She may be gone, she may be somewhere else, but nobody could have gotten here without a mother. Mary had a chance to see God’s entire plan played out. She suffered through the crucifixion, she rejoiced at His resurrection, and was a part of the group that witnessed the incredible outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost as described in Acts 1:14. Just like Mary, all mothers are called by God.
Thanks to Lifeway and Pastor Andy Cook for the outline of this sermon.