MARY: FAVORED AND FAITHFUL + LUKE 1
Bible Background: The Narrative Lectionary leads us into the Gospel of Luke now through Easter! Luke’s gospel starts out with the angel Gabriel visiting old Zechariah, and announcing that he will father a son who is to be named John. In Scene 2, Gabriel surprises Mary with the news that she will give birth to a son who is to be named “Jesus!”
Digging Deeper: 1. Think of other miraculous pregnancy/birth stories in scripture: Isaac and Samuel come to mind. Those mothers were barren. Mary is not. She’s a young woman of marriageable age, who has found favor with God. What do we learn about Mary-in this first glimpse-as a person and servant of God?
2. Luke shows the glory and plans of God coming to fruition in a particular place and time: “In the days of King Herod>to a town in Galilee>named Nazareth>to a virgin>engaged to a man named Joseph>of the house of David>her name was Mary!” Isn’t this always how God works? From the big picture to the individual? How does this demonstrate that each person-and their decision-matters to God?
3. Mary is “perplexed” but not necessarily “afraid”. (The greeting of every heavenly messenger in scripture is “do not be afraid!”) She asks a question “How can this be?” She gets an answer. Her final response in the scene is one of willingness and obedience “Here I am, the servant of the Lord. Let it be to me according to your word!” How much do you think Mary’s “yes” matters? Does she have a say? Or is this a done-deal? How much choice do we have on going along with God’s will?
4. Mary is given a ‘sign’ by the angel (just as Zechariah was given a sign in the previous birth announcement). It’s the news that her older relative Elizabeth-who was barren-is actually 6 months pregnant! (And Mary and we are assured that “Nothing will be impossible for God!”) When have you gotten some ‘sign’ from God? When would you have liked to have one? What’s one thing you need to remember is “not impossible for God?”
5. How is Mary not just the model mother, but the model Christian? What can we learn from her about serving God? About handling incredible joy and sorrow? About having your life take a turn you hadn’t expected? About pondering God’s word and God’s will?
6. In Scene 3, Mary goes to stay with old, expectant Elizabeth. What do you suppose they talk about? What do they pray about? What do they wonder about?