Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Great People Of the Bible- Week #11- Mary (The mother of Jesus)

Motherhood is a painful privilege. Young Mary of Nazareth had the unique privilege of being mother of the very Son of God. Yet the pains and pleasures of her motherhood can be understood by mothers everywhere. Mary was the only was the only human present at Jesus' birth who also witnessed his death. She saw him arrive as her baby son, and she watched him die as her Savior.

Until Gabriel's unexpected visit, Mary's life was quite satisfactory. She had recently become engaged to a carpenter, Joseph, and was anticipating married life. But her life was about to change forever.

Angels don't usually make appointments before visiting. As if she were being congratulated for winning the grand prize in a contest she had never entered, Mary found the angel's greeting puzzling and his presence frightening. What she heard next was the news almost every woman in Israel hoped to hear-- that her child would be the Messiah, God's promised Savior. Mary did not doubt the message, but rather asked how pregnancy would be possible. Later her song of joy shows us how well she knew God, for her thoughts were filled with his words from the Old Testament.

Mary was used by God to bring a blessing into the world. We can learn a lot about her willingness to serve. Looking at Mary we can ask, "How is God using me to bring a blessing into the world?"

Read Luke 1:26-40, 46-56

-What did Gabriel say about Mary's relationship with God?
-Why did the announcement trouble Mary?
-What did this reveal about her character?
-How did Gabriel describe her future child?
-Why would the news about Elizabeth have been an encouragement to Mary?
-How was Mary's response in verse 38 an act of worship?
-What attitude toward God did her response indicate?
-Following Gabriel's dramatic announcement Mary went to her cousin Elizabeth's home. What did Elizabeth recognize about Mary's relationship with God?
-Verses 46-55 contain Mary's song of praise, commonly called the Magnificat. What do these verses reveal about her relationship with God?
-How would you describe Mary's concept of God? What did she know about him?
-What had Mary learned about God from history?
-Compare her expressions of praise with these from the Old Testament: Psalm 130:17, Isaiah 40:22-24, Job 5:11-12, Psalm 107:9.
-How do you think Mary knew all these great truths about God? (See Deuteronomy 6:4-7)
-What characteristic of Mary is shown in Luke 2:19, 51-52?
-What did Mary do after Jesus' ascension? (Acts 1:12-14)
-Why is our concept of God important to worship?
-How can we grow in our knowledge of God?
-How can Mary's life encourage you in your walk with God?

Next week = Peter


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