This week at Antioch I started a new sermon series on Mary the Mother of Jesus. Over the next few weeks as we lead up to Christmas we’ll be looking at some different issues through the life of Mary.
This week I talked about Mary throughout church history and the development of Catholic church doctrines surrounding her. I also discussed the humble and earthy nature of Mary and the narrative surrounding Jesus’ birth.
Mary was a devout person and had won favor with the Lord. This is no small thing if you think about it.
I think we confuse the significance of Mary by misinterpreting verses like Luke 11:27-28. In this text we see an exchange between Jesus and a woman in the crowd:
As Jesus was saying these things, a woman in the crowd called out, “Blessed is the mother who gave you birth and nursed you.”
He replied, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.”
We sometimes assume that Jesus was devaluing his mother Mary or downplaying her significance. In fact, he is subtly point to the very thing that made Mary significant in the first place–her faith, humility and obedience.
Jesus’ comments echo Mary’s response to the angel Gabriel in Luke 1:38 when she said, ““Behold, the bondslave of the Lord; may it be done to me according to your word.” [NASB]
In whatever situation we are in, when we hear God’s word and humbly serve and obey, our greatness comes from walking with God in his story. Greatness comes through humble faith and our proximity to God, not in power and strength the way the world may perceive it.