Mary: An Ordinary Mom?

This is the 23rd Mothers’ Day message that I have preached.  I am a little surprised to recognize that I have never used the most famous mother of all to preach a message on Mothers’ Day.  That is, until today.

I.   The News:  Luke 1:30-31

Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus.

Now, obviously Mary received this news from an angel, not from a doctor or pregnancy test.  Even more important, she was a virgin and so there was certainly no reason for her to suspect that she might be pregnant.  Nonetheless, I suspect that her reaction to the news, would be similar to women everywhere.  She was undoubtedly both frightened and excited.  She was likely feeling both joy, and concern.  These are ordinary responses to the very human news that one is with child.  Mary’s world, like any other mother, was about to change forever.  Mary’s circumstances were extraordinary, but her feelings were probably normal human feelings.

II.  Common Bonds:  Luke 1:39-45

Now Mary arose in those days and went into the hill country with haste, to a city of Judah, 40 and entered the house of Zacharias and greeted Elizabeth. 41 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. 42 Then she spoke out with a loud voice and said, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! 43 But why is this granted to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44 For indeed, as soon as the voice of your greeting sounded in my ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy. 45 Blessed is she who believed, for there will be a fulfillment of those things which were told her from the Lord.”

Obviously, I am a man and so have never experienced being pregnant, or being a mother, so all of my observations are subject to being corrupted by the male perspective, but I have consulted with experts (ordinary moms) and I have been told my thoughts are reasonably accurate.

Mary and Elizabeth were both pregnant under extraordinary circumstances.  Elizabeth was older, and had been barren.  Mary was to be the mother of Jesus, and Elizabeth was to be the mother of John the Baptist.  Still, there is a common experience here of pregnant women everywhere.  Pregnant women like to get together and compare notes.  They like to talk about the changes that are taking place in their bodies, their experiences, feelings, their hopes and dreams and so forth.  If they don’t have a friend that is pregnant, then a friend who has been there already works just as well, maybe even better.  Frankly, women like to talk with other women.  That is pretty ordinary.

The Birth:  Luke 2:6&7, 19

So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

I rather doubt that as Mary was envisioning the day of birth that she had thought that she would be in a strange town, giving birth in a barn.  For most women, the birth day does not go quite like they had expected.

But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart.

Mary’s experiences were unique and she remembered every detail.  Ordinary women also remember all the details of the birth of their children.  It is an ordinary event that is extraordinary in the sense that it is always remembered.  The day of birth is an ordinary thing, and yet very special day.

IV.  They Grow Up Fast:  Luke 2:40

And the Child grew and became strong in spirit, filled with wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him.

Jesus grew up just like other children grow up.  Parents everywhere recognize that it seems that their children are infants one day, and young adults the next.  This is an ordinary experience.

V. Children Sometimes Give Us Fits:  Luke 2:41-46

His parents went to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of the Passover. 42 And when He was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem according to the custom of the feast. 43 When they had finished the days, as they returned, the Boy Jesus lingered behind in Jerusalem. And Joseph and His motherdid not know it; 44 but supposing Him to have been in the company, they went a day’s journey, and sought Him among their relatives and acquaintances. 45 So when they did not find Him, they returned to Jerusalem, seeking Him. 46 Now so it was that after three days they found Him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, both listening to them and asking them questions.

At age twelve, Jesus may have already been accepted as a young adult in the Jewish community.  While His family was in Jerusalem, He went to the temple.  He probably didn’t think anything about it.  His parents, trusting Him as a young adult, assumed that He would be with the group.  Can you imagine their concern when they realized that He was not with them.  One day out, one day back, and the third day they find Him in the temple.  Can you imagine how worried Mary was about her twelve-year-old son?  It is a very ordinary thing for our children to give us a few fits as they grow up.  Even Jesus was apparently not except from the typical behavior.

VI.  Still Involved:  John 2:1-5

On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Now both Jesus and His disciples were invited to the wedding. And when they ran out of wine, the mother of Jesus said to Him, “They have no wine.”

Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does your concern have to do with Me? My hour has not yet come.”

His mother said to the servants, “Whatever He says to you, do it.

I just have to smile as I read this passage.  Mary believed in her child and knew what He was capable of doing.  She encouraged Him to act in a way that only mothers seem to know how to do.  It wasn’t yet His time, but He ended up helping out anyway.  Ordinary mothers believe in their children, and continue to offer guidance, even after they are grown.  Mary was no different.

VII.  A Broken Heart:  John 19:25

 Now there stood by the cross of Jesus His mother, and His mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene.

Mary was with Jesus during His ministry and she was there at His death.  How awful that had to be.  Sometimes a mother’s heart is broken by the things that her child has to suffer.  This too, is a common experience in the history of mankind.

VIII.  New Hope:  Acts 1:14

These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers.

After Jesus death, resurrection, and ascension, Mary is with the disciples.  She has experienced the heights and depths of Jesus’ ministry on earth.  At this time she is expectant for what comes next.  For mothers who have suffered heartbreak, after heartbreak, there can be new hope.

Conclusion:  Obviously, Mary was a very special mother, but many of her experiences are ordinary experiences, common to mothers everywhere.  God can use ordinary mothers to do extraordinary things.  Actually, you don’t have to be a mother, God can use ordinary people, both men and women, to do extraordinary things.




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6 Responses to “Mary: An Ordinary Mom?”

  1. Charlene Vance Says:

    We have multiple sources for knowing about women’s lives in 1st century Roman Palestine. There are literary sources such as the Bible, texts from writers such as Josephus and Pliny and the Apocryphal texts (although these have to be read with a pinch of salt as they refer to a slightly later time). There are the early Rabbinic materials, which provide a good deal of information. There’s also archaeological evidence and material culture to give us clues about how women lived and what kind of houses they lived in. There is a great deal of information about Roman women’s lives in Roman texts and novels throughout the provinces of Rome.

    • Pastor Curt Says:

      Charlene, thank you for commenting. History can be a wonderful teacher and can provide tremendous insight on the early development of the Christian faith.

  2. Roxanne Landry Says:

    While Jesus was hanging on the cross, “there stood by the cross of Jesus, his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene . When Jesus therefore had seen his mother and the disciple standing whom he loved, he saith to his mother: Woman, behold thy son. After that, he saith to the disciple: Behold thy mother. And from that hour, the disciple took her to his own” (John 19:25-27).

  3. Jacquelyn E. Noble Says:

    His later parables and teachings show his esteem for the faith and patience of women and condemn the injustices done to them in the male-dominated society of his time. His advocacy and appreciation for women surely followed his love and respect for the woman who was his mother. He was sensitive to the plight of widows. Surely he was influenced by Mary’s situation after the death of Joseph?

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