A Pregnant Virgin

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Noel
Grim was the world and grey last night: The moon and stars were fled, The hall was dark without song or light, The fires were fallen dead. The wind in the trees was like to the sea, And over the mountains’ teeth It whistled bitter-cold and free, As a sword leapt from its sheath.
The lord of snows upreared his head; His mantle long and pale Upon the bitter blast was spread And hung o’er hill and dale. The world was blind, the boughs were bent, All ways and paths were wild: Then the veil of cloud apart was rent, And here was born a Child.
The ancient dome of heaven sheer Was pricked with distant light; A star came shining white and clear Alone above the night. In the dale of dark in that hour of birth One voice on a sudden sang: Then all the bells in Heaven and Earth Together at midnight rang.
Mary sang in this world below: They heard her song arise O’er mist and over mountain snow To the walls of Paradise, And the tongue of many bells was stirred in Heaven’s towers to ring When the voice of mortal maid was heard, That was mother of Heaven’s King.
Glad is the world and fair this night With stars about its head, And the hall is filled with laughter and light, And fires are burning red. The bells of Paradise now ring With bells of Christendom, And Gloria, Gloria we will sing That God on earth is come.
Mary Had The Little Lamb
Mary had the little Lamb, who lived before His birth; Self-existent Son of God, from Heaven He came to Earth. Mary had the little Lamb; see Him in yonder stall — Virgin-born Son of God, to save man from the Fall. Mary had the little Lamb, obedient Son of God; Everywhere the Father led, His feet were sure to trod. Mary had the little Lamb, crucified on the tree The rejected Son of God, He died to set men free. Mary had the little Lamb—men placed Him in the grave, Thinking they were done with Him; to death He was no slave! Mary had the little Lamb, ascended now is He; All work on Earth is ended, our Advocate to be. Mary had the little Lame—mystery to behold! From the Lamb of Calvary, a Lion will unfold.
When the Day Star comes again, of this be very sure: It won’t be Lamb-like silence, but with the Lion’s roar.
Luke 1:26–56 KJV 1900
And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be. And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end. Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren. For with God nothing shall be impossible. And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her. And Mary arose in those days, and went into the hill country with haste, into a city of Juda; And entered into the house of Zacharias, and saluted Elisabeth. And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost: And she spake out with a loud voice, and said, Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For, lo, as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in mine ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy. And blessed is she that believed: for there shall be a performance of those things which were told her from the Lord. And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord, And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour. For he hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden: For, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed. For he that is mighty hath done to me great things; And holy is his name. And his mercy is on them that fear him From generation to generation. He hath shewed strength with his arm; He hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. He hath put down the mighty from their seats, And exalted them of low degree. He hath filled the hungry with good things; And the rich he hath sent empty away. He hath holpen his servant Israel, In remembrance of his mercy; As he spake to our fathers, To Abraham, and to his seed for ever. And Mary abode with her about three months, and returned to her own house.

Introduction:

Last week we looked at 4 bad girls from the Bible that were relatives of our Savior. Today we are going to look at a different Christmas Surprise.
We have a funny word... oxymoron. An oxymoron is a combination of contradictory words. Our title tonight is an oxymoron. “Pregnant Virgin”. How can a virgin be pregnant?

The Story

Luke 1:26–33 KJV 1900
And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be. And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.
Imagine the shock. An angel appears to you and says that the Lord favors you and is with you. This by itself makes this story hard to believe.
Angels don’t just appear to anyone, especially to a woman in this time and Jewish culture. Mary was not a wealthy woman nor was she an influential person. Why did God choose her?
The angel tells her that she is going to have a baby and this is not going to be just any kid... this is going to be the Messiah, the Son of God.
I am sure by this point that Mary is so overwhelmed that she is not sure what to believe. Now Mary knew about the prophesied Messiah, but I am sure she was shocked that it was her that would give birth to Him.
Illustration:
There was a little boy that came home from Sunday School one Sunday. His mother asked him what he had learned in Sunday School. The little boy tells the most fabulous story. He says that they learned about a man named Moses that was leading some people away from the Egyptians and the Egyptians were chasing them. As they were being chased, they came up to a huge river that they could not get across. So, Moses, had his men build a bridge and all of the people crossed over. As soon as they crossed over, Moses called in an air strike and fighter jets came in and blew up the bridge so that the Egyptians could not catch them. The mother says, “Are you sure that is what your teacher taught you?” The little boy said, “Not exactly, but you would never believe the story she told us”.

The Shock

Luke 1:34-45
Like this little boy said, “No one will ever believe this story”. I am sure that is one of the first things that popped into Mary’s mind. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that virgins aren't pregnant.
I can imagine Mary at that moment thinking, “What is Joseph going to say? What is going to happen to me? They will probably stone me to death.”
Mary had every reason to think these things because Jewish Law said that the punishment for adultery was death.
The angel also tells Mary that Elizabeth is pregnant which is another miracle because she is too old to have children. So now we have both a pregnant virgin and a pregnant older woman.
Mary leaves and goes to stay with Elizabeth and in verses 41-45 we see Elizabeth praising God.
Luke 1:38 KJV 1900
And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.
Luke 1:45 KJV 1900
And blessed is she that believed: for there shall be a performance of those things which were told her from the Lord.
Notice in verse 38 that Mary submits her life to the Lord as His vessel and then in verse 45 Elizabeth reiterates that Mary has submitted to the will of God. Through all of this Mary is offering praise to God.

The Song

Luke 1:46–56 KJV 1900
And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord, And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour. For he hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden: For, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed. For he that is mighty hath done to me great things; And holy is his name. And his mercy is on them that fear him From generation to generation. He hath shewed strength with his arm; He hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. He hath put down the mighty from their seats, And exalted them of low degree. He hath filled the hungry with good things; And the rich he hath sent empty away. He hath holpen his servant Israel, In remembrance of his mercy; As he spake to our fathers, To Abraham, and to his seed for ever. And Mary abode with her about three months, and returned to her own house.
We see that Mary continues to praise God. Notice a few things about her praise.

(1) Mary’s praise reveals a knowledge of the terminology and theology of the Old Testament. Mary's praise is filled with Old Testament allusions and references.

Mary's praise dwells on the character of God, particularly His grace, which is bestowed on those of low estate. There is also a distinct parallel with the praise of Hannah in 1 Samuel chapter 2. Some may question how a simple peasant girl may have such a grasp of the Old Testament.
All Israelites from their childhood days knew by heart songs from the Old Testament and often sang them in the home circle and at celebrations. Mary was steeped in the poetical literature of her nation, and accordingly, her praise also bears unmistakable signs of it.

(2) Mary’s praise begins with her expressing gratitude for the grace God has shown to her, as a humble servant of the Lord.

In verses 46-49, Mary praises God for His mercy which He has expressed toward her.
Luke 1:46–49 KJV 1900
And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord, And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour. For he hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden: For, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed. For he that is mighty hath done to me great things; And holy is his name.
She rejoices in God, who is her Savior (verse 47).
This may not refer solely to the salvation work which Christ has come to do, but surely it includes it.
God looked upon her humble estate with compassion, and she is to be esteemed as blessed by all future generations (verse 48).
God’s compassion for her reveals both His power and His holiness He is the “Mighty One" and “holy is His name,” v. 49).
Mary, contrary to many religious traditions, does not view herself as better or holier than anyone else. She views herself as a sinner who needs God’s salvation, and as the Lord’s servant, upon whom He has showered His mercy and grace.
There is no evidence that she thinks God has chosen her to be the mother of the Messiah due to her own blessedness, but rather that her blessedness is the result of God showing His grace and mercy by choosing to use her as His instrument. In verse 48 her blessedness is viewed as the result of God’s grace.

(3) Mary's praise recognizes God’s grace on His chosen people.

Luke 1:50 KJV 1900
And his mercy is on them that fear him From generation to generation.
God had not just singled Mary out for the blessing and left everyone else to fend for themselves. Mary viewed her blessing as just an illustration, a microcosm of God’s grace, which is why she praises God for His grace to all those who fear Him, from generation to generation.
Mary praises God for her personal benefits and the blessings which all of God’s people (those who “fear Him”) experience.

(4) Mary’s praise focuses on the faithfulness of God to His promises and His purposes, specifically, His covenant with Abraham and his descendants.

Luke 1:51–55 KJV 1900
He hath shewed strength with his arm; He hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. He hath put down the mighty from their seats, And exalted them of low degree. He hath filled the hungry with good things; And the rich he hath sent empty away. He hath holpen his servant Israel, In remembrance of his mercy; As he spake to our fathers, To Abraham, and to his seed for ever.

(5) Mary’s praise encourages Elizabeth, just like Elizabeth’s praise encourages Mary.

(6) Mary’s praise does not focus as much on the child she will bear, as on the Father who is sending His Messiah.

In other words, Mary’s praise does not focus on the immediate blessedness of her having this child, but on the ultimate outcome of the coming of Messiah. She looks at the long term, not the short term.
She views this event in terms of the distant past, in terms of the covenant promises of God, in terms of the history of Israel, where God’s mercy was shown on generation after generation, and in terms of the distant future, when at His second coming Messiah will set things straight, even though she doesn't realize this at the time.
Luke 1:51–53 KJV 1900
He hath shewed strength with his arm; He hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. He hath put down the mighty from their seats, And exalted them of low degree. He hath filled the hungry with good things; And the rich he hath sent empty away.
It will be a time when the social order will radically and violently reverse. The high and lifted up will be put down and the humble will be lifted up (verses 51-52). The hungry will be fed and the well-fed will be hungry. The poor will be helped, but the rich will be sent away (verse 53).

(7) Mary speaks more about the outcome of Christ’s second coming than the first.

(8) Mary’s Holy Spirit inspired theology is very different and obviously superior to that of the scribes and Pharisees, who would soon become the archenemies of our Lord.

Mary did not mention the Law of Moses or the Mosaic Covenant, but only God’s promise to Abraham, or the Abrahamic Covenant. Mary's theology recognized that Israel’s hope was rooted in the Abrahamic Covenant, not in the Mosaic.
The scribes and Pharisees could only think and talk in terms of the Law of Moses. Mary's theology viewed all of God’s dealings in the light of His grace; the religious leaders only thought in terms of human work.
Mary's theology describes the great themes of the Old Testament, such as God’s mercy and compassion, and God’s concern for the poor and the helpless. These were the themes of the Old Testament prophets. They were not, however, the themes the scribes and Pharisees chose to spotlight. In His rebuke of the scribes and Pharisees, Jesus constantly referred to these great themes, and to the fact that legalism of the scribes and Pharisees violated them.
Mary's theology took into account that God has a plan, which He had been carrying out throughout Israel’s history. It viewed history in the light of this plan. The scribes and Pharisees, however, seemed only to grasp a few of the particulars but missed the plan. They “strained at gnats” but they swallowed camels. Mary understood the “camels” and the religious leaders only understood the “gnats.”

Conclusion:

There are those who have perverted God’s words about Mary, and rather than regarding her as blessed above all women, have honored her as above all mankind, worshipping her and praying to her as though she were a deity or even on the level of the Messiah. This can be seen in blatant disregard for the teaching of the text. Others, however, have had a knee-jerk reaction to this error going to the extreme the other way, and have failed to see the value in modeling Mary's submission.
Here are some of the ways in which Mary provides us with a model of submitted discipleship.

(1) Mary is an example of submitted discipleship by her faith in the word of God, and in her submission to the will of God.

(2) Mary is an example of submitted discipleship in the depth of her knowledge of the word of God.

(3) Mary is an example of submitted discipleship in her understanding of the grace of God, and in her gratitude toward God for bestowing grace on her.

(4) Mary is an example of submitted discipleship in her grasp of the impact of the gospel on social relationships.

(5) Mary is an example of submitted discipleship in her grasp of the purposes and promises of God.

(6) Mary is an example of submitted discipleship in her purposeful reflection and meditation on the things of God.

(7) Mary is an example of submitted discipleship because she understood her praise was not just a personal expression of worship, but also was a way of edifying Elizabeth.

What a Shock. God used a pregnant virgin to bring the Messiah into this world and instead of running scared she praised God.

Are you willing to allow God to use you no matter what it costs, how it effects your reputation or the comfort of your life?

Mary was and I praise God that she was.
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