Mary Was Thoughtful About God’s Word (Luke 1:29-38)
Mary Was Thoughtful About Others (Luke 1:39-45)
Mary Was Thoughtful About God (Luke 1:46-55)
As we continue our journey through the book of Luke, we come to look at one of the main characters in the Christmas story – Mary the mother of Jesus. The main character in the Christmas story is Jesus Christ. After all, Christmas is named after Him! So we never want to lose sight of the centrality of Jesus Christ in the Christmas story. But some do this very thing when they focus on the Christmas story. Some people have caused Mary to almost eclipse the glory and greatness of Jesus Christ. Some people have almost placed Mary above Jesus in importance.
For example, here is a clipping I pulled out of the Daily Interlake newspaper a few months back. It is a prayer to the Blessed Virgin. It says this,
Oh, most beautiful flower of Mt. Carmel, fruitful vine, splendor of Heaven, blessed mother of the Son of God. Immaculate Virgin, assist me in my necessity. Oh, star of the sea, help me and show me herein you are my mother. Oh, Holy Mary, mother of God, queen of heaven and earth! I humble beseech you from the bottom of my heart to succor me in this necessity. There are none that can withstand your power…
And the prayer goes on from there. But did you hear the wording? Mary is called the splendor of heaven, the star of the sea, the queen of heaven and earth. It says that there are none who can withstand her power. From what we are going to see about Mary today in Luke, I think that she would be horrified at such adoration. She would be distraught that such exalted titles had been given to her. She would be angry, upset even, about these things.
You see, Mary was a humble young woman who wanted nothing more than to give all praise and glory to God. She did not want to be noticed. She did not want to be recognized. And she definitely did not want to receive the praise and adoration that she sometimes receives. She was all about being humble and giving all glory to God. This is what we are going to see – and much more – in Luke 1:26-56. We will learn about the thoughtfulness of Mary. She was thoughtful in three ways. As we go through them, ask yourself which one you can work on.
Let us begin in Luke 1:26 where the stage is set, and we are introduced to Mary and the Messenger from Heaven.
Luke 1:26-28. Now in the sixth month [this is the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy. Remember, Elizabeth was six months pregnant with John the Baptist – in the sixth month) the angel Gabriel (this is the same angel, the same messenger who appeared to Zacharias) was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. And having come in, the angel said to her, “Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!”
We learn so much in these verses about Mary! We learn that she was not very prominent because she was living in Nazareth. Nazareth was a little town in the middle of nowhere. It was the boondocks, it was the sticks. Nobody of any importance lived in Nazareth. But that is where Mary was. We also learn that she was pure because she was a virgin.
We learn that she was promised or betrothed to Joseph, who was of the house of David. This was probably an arranged marriage, and Joseph was probably much older than Mary. He could have been in his late twenties, or thirties, some even think he was in his forties. She was probably in her early to mid teens. She was probably 14 or 15, though she could have been as young as twelve. 
But the most important thing that we learn about here in Luke 1:28, is that she was praised. In verse 28, the angel greets her with a blessing. He says, “Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!”
Now, ladies…men too, I suppose, but you’ll have to change the wording…what would your response be if an angel appeared to you and said this to you? You’re drinking your cup of coffee tomorrow morning while reading your Bible, and all of a sudden, an angel appears to you, and says, “Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you, blessed are you among all people.” What would you do? What would you think?
Now, I’ve asked this question of myself, and I think that if an angel were to appear to me and say something along these lines to me, I think I would get puffed up with pride. I know my own heart. I know the pride that lurks within me. I think most of us would be in the same boat. We would call up our neighbors and tell them what had happened. During the next conversation with so-and-so from church, we would, in an offhand manner, say something like, “Well, you’ll never believe what happened to me. I was doing my devotions the other morning, and an angel appeared to me and told me that I was more blessed than anyone else on earth. Sniff.”
Of course, I’m sure that part of the reason we do not receive such blessings is because God knows how we would handle it. We would get all puffed up and arrogant. But not Mary. Not Mary. Look at verse 29.
Mary Was Thoughtful About God’s Word (Luke 1:29-38)
Luke 1:29. But when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and considered what manner of greeting this was.
Mary did not get puffed up. Mary did not become arrogant. She didn’t even say, “Yep, I knew that was coming because I’m so obedient to God. I’m such a great person.” No, the text says, she was troubled at his saying. She was troubled. That’s strange, isn’t it? It’s the last response we would expect out of someone who has just been blessed. I mean, when was the last time you heard someone says, “Oh, God has just been blessing my socks off! And it is so troubling.”
But this is the response of Mary. And do you want to know why? Because Mary was thoughtful. I told you we were going to see this about her, and here is where we learn the first part of it. Mary was troubled because she was thoughtful, in the sense that Mary understood the Word of God. She was contemplative; she was reflective about the Word. Mary was thoughtful about the Word of God. Mary knew the Word, and that is why she was troubled at this blessing. How do we know this? Well, in several ways. First of all, just as another heads up, that her song in verses 47-55 is full of Scriptural truths from the Old Testament.
Second, we know from the rest of her life, that she is very careful to know and obey the law of God and the Old Testament regulations. She made sure that after Jesus was born he was circumcised on the eighth day (2:21), he was presented at the temple (2:22-28), and they took Him yearly to the Passover in Jerusalem (2:41). Mary knew her Bible and was careful to obey her Bible. We get a good hint of her knowledge of the Word right here in Luke 1:29. I believe she was troubled because she knew from the Old Testament that blessings are not an end in themselves. God is very liberal with His blessings, but He does not intend to bless just so that we can be blessed.
You see, Mary knew that when God bestows divine blessings upon His people, the blessing was always for the purpose of greater responsibility. God’s blessings are not just blessings. They are for the purpose of giving greater responsibility. Did you know that? God never blesses just for the sake of blessing. He blesses us because He wants us to do something with those blessings. And the greater the blessing, the greater the responsibility.
For example, if He gives the blessing of a good mind and knowledge, He wants us to use that knowledge to teach and apply the truth to our lives and others. If He gives us a blessing of money, He wants us to use that money to finance His work around the world. He gives the blessing of children so that we can raise them up to be Godly offspring, Godly men and women who will serve Him with their lives. He gives the blessing of living in America so that we can use our wealth and our resources and our position in the world to help other people and to help the Good News of salvation through Jesus Christ be spread to nations that are still in spiritual darkness.
The angel told Mary that God was going to greatly bless her – and she was troubled. She was so young for such great demands upon her life. Although she was pure before God, she knew that she was a sinner, and she didn’t know if she was up to such great responsibility. She knew her Bible, and she knew that when an angel appears to give you a message from God, it will be no small task that God is asking. And it wasn’t. As we all know, God was asking her to be the mother of God. I can’t imagine such a task.
Wendy and I are worried enough about raising our children. What if we do something wrong? What if we are too harsh in our punishment? What if we are not involved enough in her life? What about all the things in life that we cannot protect her from? What if she makes the wrong friends? What if she gets sick? All parents have these similar kinds of worries. But imagine if you were Mary! Trying to raise the Son of God. We get stressed out raising our own kids. What if you had to raise Jesus? You bet she was troubled. She didn’t know if she was up to the task. Of course, she doesn’t actually know yet what the blessing will be, but she finds out in verse 30 and following. Look there with me.
Luke 1:30-33. Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.”
Gabriel tells her, “Don’t be afraid, Mary. Don’t be afraid of me. Don’t be afraid of this blessing. God’s blessings are always good and this one is the best of all.” And he goes on to tell her that she is going to be the Mother of the promised Messiah.
Luke 1:34. Then Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I do not know a man?”
Now this should remind us of a very similar statement Zacharias made back in verse 18. In both instances, the angel Gabriel pronounces a blessing, and in both instances, the human recipient, Zacharias in verse 18, and Mary, here in Luke 1:34, questions the message. But remember last week, I said that Zacharias’ response was one of doubt and criticism. Zacharias did not really believe that the promise would come true through him.
I believe that although Mary asks a question here, she is not asking out of unbelief and doubt as Zacharias was, but out of faith and trust. I get this both out of how the questions are asked, and also how the angel responds. You see, up in Luke 1:18, Zacharias asks, “How shall I know this?” He is saying, “How can that happen? How is that possible? How could that ever happen?” When he says, “How can I know this?” he is almost even asking for a sign so that he can know the truth of what the angel says. And the angel kind of says to him, “Look, I’m a messenger from God, and if God says it that settles it.”
Though Mary, like Zacharias, asks a question, she is unlike Zacharias, in that she is not doubting that the angels words will come to pass. Zacharias’ questions revealed his doubt that what the angel said would happen. Mary’s question reveals that she believes it will happen; she is just curious how it will happen. She asks, How can this be, “How will this happen” since I do not know a man? “since I am a virgin?”
I get from this that it is never wrong to try to seek understanding, to try to work things out logically, to try to ask God what He is doing, and how He is doing it, and why He is doing it. The questions are not wrong. But we need to recognize that when God clearly gives a promise, we should not question the promise. We can ask how God is going to bring it about, but we should not think that God is not going to bring it about. We need to trust God’s Word even when we don’t know the particulars. It’s never wrong to ask for the particulars, but even when we ask, we need to know that He may or may not give us the answers.
Mary, in her asking, does kind of get an answer to her question. Look at verse 35.
Luke 1:35-37. And the angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God. Now indeed, Elizabeth your relative has also conceived a son in her old age; and this is now the sixth month for her who was called barren. For with God nothing will be impossible.”
Gabriel answers Mary and tells her that the Holy Spirit is going to cause it to happen. In other words, it will be a miracle. He goes on to tell her that God had performed a miracle with Elizabeth as well. She is going to have a son in her old age, even though she was barren.
Luke 1:37 is the key, With God nothing will be impossible.
You know what? Whether we understand how it works or not doesn’t matter. God can do anything He wants that is within His will. Nothing is impossible for God. If He wants to allow a barren woman to be with child, that is an easy thing for Him to do. If He wants a virgin to be with child, that is also an easy thing for Him to do. If He wants to part the Red Sea, if He wants to raise people from the dead, if He wants to feed 5000 with just five loaves and two fish, it is an easy thing for Him to do.
So also in your life. Very likely, there are circumstances in your life which you feel are impossible. An unsaved relative, a financial need, a sickness. Whatever it might be, let your requests be made known to God, for He revels in doing the impossible.
Now, having said that, let me also share a caution. We must make sure that we do not take verse 37 out of context or use it as a proof text for bad theology. Just because God can do the impossible, does not mean He always will. “Anything God determines to do He can accomplish, because there is nothing impossible with God. But that does not mean He will do everything [we] want him to do, because some things are not included in His plan.”  God can do the impossible, but He only does it when it accomplishes His purposes.
Luke 1:38. Then Mary said, “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.
Again, how different from Zacharias! No doubt from Mary, just trust and faith. She heard God’s Word, she had a minor question, which was answered. And in verse 38, she shows her trust and reliance upon God’s Word. She was very thoughtful about the Word of God. She knew that God’s blessings bring great responsibility, and that God’s promises never fail. I saw a bumper sticker once that said, “God said it, I believe it, that settles it.” That’s Mary’s kind of bumper sticker.
Now, I think that a natural result of being thoughtful, and being knowledgeable, of being filled with the Word of God, is being thoughtful about others. Luke 1:29-38 showed that Mary was thoughtful about the Word of God. Luke 1:39-45 show that she is also thoughtful about others.
Mary Was Thoughtful About Others (Luke 1:39-45)
Luke 1:39-40. Now Mary arose in those days and went into the hill country with haste, to a city of Judah, and entered the house of Zacharias and greeted Elizabeth.
This journey from Nazareth to the hill country of Judah is quite a distance, and is nearly identical to the journey she will make about 9 months later when she and Joseph go to Bethlehem for the census. But I see in Luke 1:39-40 two people that Mary was thoughtful about. You say, “Yeah, Zacharias and Elizabeth.” No, not them. Elizabeth is one, but I see someone else she is thoughtful about first. The first person Mary was thoughtful about was Joseph, the man she was betrothed to. The man she was going to marry.
You say, “Where do you get that from, Jeremy? Joseph is not even mentioned here.” Yes, I know, but from the other Gospel accounts it appears that Mary never told Joseph what had happened to her. I’m sure part of this was because of her humility, but even still, how do you go about explaining to someone that although you are pregnant, you are still a virgin?
I don’t think Mary ever tried to explain to Joseph what happened. She probably also didn’t try to defend herself to Joseph. I think that she figured that if God still wanted her to marry Joseph, that God would tell Joseph what happened also. It was not her place to go and try to force Joseph to understand and believe what the angel had told her.
Mary knew that when God wants to get a message through to someone like Joseph, God often sends the message straight to that person, rather than through someone else. But Mary here, in verse 39, is thoughtful about Joseph. She loves Joseph and doesn’t want her pregnancy to damage his reputation. You see, it was a very shameful thing for a woman to get pregnant out of wedlock, and it was even more shameful if she got pregnant while she was betrothed, and even more shameful still if the man she was pregnant by was not the man she was betrothed to.
In such a case, it was shameful for both the man and the woman. Mary’s pregnancy, when found out, would be shameful both for her and for Joseph. Both would become the objects of ridicule and scorn. She wanted to spare Joseph this ridicule if she could, and so she left as soon as possible, and went far away to go visit Elizabeth. Mary was first of all thoughtful about Joseph.
But Mary was also thoughtful about Elizabeth. Mary left Nazareth, not only to try to protect Joseph, but also to go and help Elizabeth. Remember, Elizabeth was getting up there in years. She was well past the normal age for child bearing. And being pregnant, from what I hear, and from what I have observed, is not easy for any woman of any age. But Elizabeth was older and needed help. Maybe she even needed someone to talk to. Remember, Zacharias still can’t talk.
He was one of those strong, silent types…Can’t you just hear Elizabeth? “Zacharias, you never talk to me any more!”
So Mary, in thinking of Elizabeth, goes to help her out. Now, we do not know if Mary was going to tell Elizabeth about the child she herself was carrying or not. Even if she was planning on telling Elizabeth, we can be sure she wasn’t going to be boastful about it. Can you imagine Mary taunting other women with, “I’m the mother of the Messiah, I’m the mother of the Messiah.” No, I don’t think so. Remember, Mary was humble about her blessing and humble about her responsibility.
Anyway, whether she was going to tell Elizabeth or not doesn’t matter, because as soon as Mary enters into the house, the baby in Elizabeth jumps for joy and Elizabeth knows Who (with a capital W) Mary is carrying. Look at Luke 1:41.
Luke 1:41-45. And it happened, when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, that the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. Then she spoke out with a loud voice and said, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! But why is this granted to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For indeed, as soon as the voice of your greeting sounded in my ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy. Blessed is she who believed, for there will be a fulfillment of those things which were told her from the Lord.”
Elizabeth shows that she knows that Mary is carrying the promised Messiah. And there in Luke 1:45 is another statement about believing in the promises of God that they will be fulfilled. We talked about some of that last week. So Mary has come to help Elizabeth during the last three months of her pregnancy. Skip ahead real quick to Luke 1:56.
Luke 1:56. And Mary remained with her about three months, and returned to her house.
The last three months are some of the most difficult months, and Mary might have stayed and help deliver John. We are told in verse 58 that some of Elizabeth’s relatives were there, but we aren’t really told who.
Anyway, the reason Mary was there was because she cared for Joseph, and she cared for Elizabeth. Mary was thoughtful about others. Now, at the end of verse 56, we read that Mary returned home. I’m sure that she and Elizabeth talked about Joseph, and what he might do when he found out Mary was pregnant. And they probably decided that Mary should return home and face whatever comes. God had given her this blessing and the responsibility that came with it, and if that meant not getting married, then so be it. If that meant her name getting dragged through the mud, then so be it.
She was confident that God knew what He was doing. Mary was about to go through a great trial in her life. A time when people talked about her behind her back. A time when people pointed the finger at her and told lies about her. A time when people spread gossip and rumors about her. But she knew that God knew what He was doing. And so, after helping Elizabeth for a time, Mary returned home. Mary was very thoughtful. She was thoughtful about God’s Word, and she was thoughtful about others.
In Luke 1:46-55, we see the last thing she was thoughtful about. When Mary entered into Elizabeth’s house, and John leapt in Elizabeth’s womb, Elizabeth made the pronouncement of blessing in verse 42. She said, Blessed are you among woman, and blessed is the fruit of your womb,
And Mary, says in response, “Yep, I’m pretty blessed. It’s because I’m such a good person. I really deserve all this blessing. After all, I’ve lived holy all my life. Aren’t I great? I hope people worship me someday.” Is that what she said? NO! In Luke 1:46-55, we see that Mary was thoughtful about God.
Mary Was Thoughtful About God (Luke 1:46-55)
She knew that she did not deserve the blessing God had poured out upon her, and when Elizabeth said, “You are so blessed,” Mary responds with a song of praise and adoration to God. Mary responds by giving all the credit and all the glory to God. Mary responds with a heart full of thanksgiving to God.
She doesn’t know what will happen to her. She doesn’t know all the joys and trials that this blessing will bring. But she does know God, and that He deserves to be praised. And so that is what she does. In every single verse, she magnifies the Lord, and praises His name, and tells of all that He has done. And by the way, this song she sings also shows that she was always thinking about God’s Word. Every verse alludes to Old Testament Scriptures. Mary sings a Scriptural song of praise to God. She wants to give credit where credit is due.
I don’t have time to get deep into the song, so let me just read it.
Luke 1:46-55. And Mary said:
“My soul magnifies the Lord,
And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.
For He has regarded the lowly state of His maidservant;
For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed.
For He who is mighty has done great things for me,
And holy is His name.
And His mercy is on those who fear Him
From generation to generation.
He has shown strength with His arm;
He has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.
He has put down the mighty from their thrones,
And exalted the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things,
And the rich He has sent away empty.
He has helped His servant Israel,
In remembrance of His mercy,
As He spoke to our fathers,
To Abraham and to his seed forever.”
Mary was very thoughtful toward God. God doesn’t need anything from us, but He does want to receive our praise when He blesses us, or when He does something great for us. Asking God for things is okay, but we must remember to thank Him and praise Him and glorify Him when He provides the things we ask for. Our prayers should be equal parts petition and praise, and if anything, maybe a bit heavy on the praise.
Like Mary, let’s be thoughtful. Let’s be thoughtful first of all, about the Word of God. Allowing the Word of God to dwell in us richly is the basis and foundation for everything in the Christian life. Secondly, be thoughtful about others. As you all know, Christmas is not about me, and what’s under the tree for me. The reason Christ came that first Christmas was not for himself, and what He could get. No, he came for others. He came for sinners. He came to give of himself. Mary practiced this before Christ was ever born. We can practice it too. This Christmas, let’s be mindful and thoughtful of others. Finally, be thoughtful of God. He wants to receive your praise and adoration for all that he has done for you and all that he is to you.
 Bock, 57.
 Wiersbe, 172.
 McGee, Thru the Bible Vol. IV, 248.
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