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Righteous Mary


https://www.behance.net/gallery/110813615/Sermon-Illustrations-2022

Four-year-old Brandon decided to fix his mom pancakes for Mother’s Day. He’d seen her do it millions of times and was sure he could do it by repeating what she did. He began by getting the big bowl and spoon she used. He pulled a chair up to the counter, climbed up on it, and opened the cupboards. He pulled out the heavy flour canister, spilling some of it on the floor. He jumped down and hurriedly scooped some of the flour into the bowl with his hands. To this he added most of a cup of milk and added some sugar. His kitten joined in, walking through the floury trail on the floor leaving tracks all over the kitchen. Now Brandon was confused: he didn’t know what to do next, whether to put it all into the oven or on the stove and he didn’t know how the stove worked.

Suddenly he saw his kitten licking from the bowl of mix and reached to push her away, knocking the egg carton to the floor. Frantically he tried to clean up this monumental mess but slipped on the eggs, getting his pajamas white and sticky.

And there she was! His Mommy stood at the door, her eyes wide with surprise . Big crocodile tears welled up in Brandon’s eyes. All he’d wanted to do was something good, but he’d made a terrible mess. He was sure big-time punishment was coming, maybe even a spanking. But his mother was there, surveying the damage.

Then, walking through the mess, she picked up her crying son, hugged him and loved him, getting her own pajamas white and sticky in the process. Her first job was to get them both cleaned up and then work together to get the kitchen back in order.

That’s how God deals with us. He cleans us up, then calls us to partner with Him in cleaning up the messes we’ve made. Brandon’s mom is a fictional example of good motherhood, Mary, the mother of Jesus, is a biblical example of good motherhood. Mary exhibited a deep faith and faithful service: we would all do well to note and follow her example. This morning we’ll note the particulars; the following part is up to you.

Mary, the mother of Jesus, was an example of righteousness.

1. Mary was a righteous woman.

As we survey Mary’s life for examples of godly living, we begin with Luke 1:26-38, 46-56, where Mary agreed to be the mother of the Messiah. Mary consented to do God’s will as the angel Gabriel made it known to her. (1:26-38) From 1:28+30 we learn Mary had found FAVOR with God. Gabriel explained exactly what it meant to have God’s FAVOR: “THE LORD IS WITH YOU.” There is no higher status to be enjoyed than to be with Him.

Mary’s first reaction to the angel’s message was being confused and disturbed, which understandably lead to her asking questions. (1:29-37) To her eternal credit, Mary’s eventual response was faithful trust in the Lord. (38)

In 1:46-56, we see Mary celebrated her decision by worshiping God. This Song of Mary is centered on God; she rejoiced in who He is and the things He has done for His people. Notice Mary mentioned herself just once in the entire song, in verses 48-49.

She referred to herself with humility: God’s LOWLY SERVANT GIRL. The word LOWLY means “humiliated.” (No doubt people would want to humiliate her for her sudden pregnancy and her impossible-sounding explanation for it.) The word SERVANT is more accurately translated as “slave.” This expression is profound; Mary used strong language to communicate her deep faith.

Balancing her humility, Mary had a sense that God had singled her out for a historic purpose. She knew future generations would call her BLESSED. She was grateful that He had done GREAT THINGS for her. In Luke 11:27 an unnamed woman called out from a crowd to bless Jesus’ mother. This is but a single example of Mary’s prediction coming to pass.

In Luke 2:19+51 we see Mary treasured all God’s promises. Both when the shepherds appeared at Jesus’ birth (v. 19) and later, when they presented Him at the temple and both Simeon and Anna predicted great things about Jesus (v. 51), Mary’s reaction was to treasure the things said in her heart.

2. Mary was a righteous mom.

At the wedding in Cana, we see Mary launched Jesus’ ministry. (John 2:1-12) We don’t always agree on what’s important. Mary saw the fact that they’d run out of wine at the wedding feast as a tragedy. The bride and groom and their families were about to suffer an embarrassing dishonor. Jesus did not think it deserved to be the occasion for His first miracle. His concern was timing. He told Mary, “MY TIME HAS NOT YET COME.” (4)

Mary was not deterred and did not argue; she simply instructed the servants “DO WHATEVER HE TELLS YOU.” (5) Because of Mary’s persistence, two important things happened on this occasion: this was the FIRST TIME JESUS REVEALED HIS GLORY and HIS DISCIPLES BELIEVED IN HIM. (11) Who else but a Jewish mother would be allowed to goad the Messiah into doing something He hadn’t planned on doing?

In John 19:25-27, Mary witnessed Jesus’ death. Mary and John are among the four people John names as being at the cross. Their presence at the crucifixion was risky: the Jewish leaders were there, and they may’ve been eager to round up some of Jesus’ disciples to persecute them. Beyond that, how many of us would be strong enough to attend the execution of one of our children?

Acts 1:14 tells us Mary joined the disciples for worship. After naming the remaining eleven disciples, Luke names Mary and includes unnamed other women and - interestingly - Jesus’ brothers. This is the first time Jesus’ brothers are mentioned among the believers. Prior to this, they did not believe and openly mocked Him for the claims He made about His true nature. (Mark 3:21-35) This is the last time Mary is mentioned in the New Testament.

Mary, the mother of Jesus, was an example of righteousness.

St. Irenaeus (d. 220) tells us that the beloved disciple, John, preached in Ephesus after Pentecost. Presumably, Mary accompanied him there. One ancient tradition claims that Mary died and was buried at Ephesus. These traditions do not have the same level of accuracy as the Bible, but they do indicate that once Jesus gave John charge of His mother, the two of them were together until she died.

Perhaps the most compelling tribute to Mary is Jesus seeing to her ongoing care before He died. In spite of the agony of the cross and the greater agony of taking the world’s sin upon Himself, Jesus thought so highly of His mother that He provided a new protector for her.

Today we’ve seen the great example Mary set for all of us to believe. Let us be resolved to honor her memory and our own mothers by devoting ourselves to God in the way Mary did.

RESOURCES:

https://www.sermoncentral.com/sermon-illustrations/21296/six-year-old-brandon-decided-one-saturday-by-dennis-jones, accessed on 6 may 22, adapted for Mother’s Day.

https://udayton.edu/imri/mary/s/scripture-on-the-life-of-mary.php#:~:text=Focusing%20on%20Jesus%2C%20Scripture%20begins,order%20to%20note%20Jesus'%20background.&text=Luke%20tells%20us%20that%20Mary,(Lk%201%3A26), accessed on 2 May 22, accessed on 2 May 22.

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