Mary said, Behold, the maidservant of the Lord. Let it be to me according to your word. I'm the maidservant. I am your servant. That's what she's saying. Whatever you say, I'm with you.
I'm here. I am at your service. And thus the title of the message, Mary, Maidservant of the Lord.
Of course, if you're a man, that becomes maidservant of the Lord. What a wonderful example. This is Cross-Reference Radio with our pastor and teacher, Rick Gaston. Rick is the pastor of Calvary Chapel Mechanicsville. Pastor Rick is currently teaching through the book of Genesis.
Please stay with us after today's message to hear more information about Cross-Reference Radio, specifically how you can get a free copy of this teaching. But for now, let's join Pastor Rick in the Gospel of Luke, Chapter 1, as he begins his message, Mary, Maidservant of the Lord. We are going to discuss Mary, and the title of the message would be Mary, the Maidservant of the Lord.
Our text will be in the Gospel of Luke, Chapter 1, and that's where we'll spend most of our time. But I want to preface the study by saying that I don't want to take time to address all of the unbiblical thoughts about Mary, held by many who say that they are Christians, as it was with Peter, too. There are those that assign certain attributes to Peter and Mary, especially that the Bible never does.
We'll address some of it as we go along, but I don't plan to spend too much time on it. I can say that the Mary and Peter of the Roman Catholic Church is not the Mary and Peter of the Bible. And if they don't like that, then they should just get with the Bible.
It's a very easy thing to fix. Now, Mary worship is not new. The names change. There was the worship of Tammuz, which Ezekiel spoke about, the Scripture speaks about, the Ashtoreth and Diana, the worship of these female characters. Of course, male characters are worshiped, too, and it just reflects the sinful nature of fallen man.
But we are supposed to know better. And while people have the power to worship people or their imagination, they don't have the right. And Scripture makes this very clear.
And I think we need to be very guarded against the influences of the groups that do direct their worship to those who are less than God. Now, what I enjoyed about this study personally is that just finding how closely joined Joseph and Mary were together. And wanting, almost midstream, wanting to just do a study on Joseph, too. But I felt God just blessing this and we're going to go forward with it.
I'm excited about it and I hope I can communicate that. So let's look at our text. The Gospel of Luke, chapter 1, verse 38. Now, this sets the pace for everything else we're going to talk about.
At least that's the goal. And there we read Luke, verse 38. Then Mary said, Behold, the maidservant of the Lord. Let it be to me according to your word. And the angel departed from her.
A very, very special moment. Ties right into what was going on months before with Zacharias, the priest in the temple. Well, we've got to talk about everything surrounding the events here because I think that they're very helpful as we look at human nature and its relationship to God.
Because that's what this is about. It's not about Mary. It's about the God of Mary, who is our God also. Now, our text belongs to the BC period of Scripture. Before Christ, that is.
Before the coming of Mary's greater son, Jesus Christ. And here we are at a time where God is performing a triple bypass. He is going to bypass Rome, the political center of power in the world at that time. He is going to bypass Athens, the intellectual center of the world at that time.
And Rome, she was famous for her military, for her engineering, for her government, as the Greeks were famous for their science and their philosophy and their culture. And so God passes the world establishments, the military might, the government, the culture, the sciences, the philosophies. And he also passes Jerusalem. He does not dispatch Gabriel to Jerusalem concerning the Son of God. He does for Zacharias, because that's where the priest is.
But he doesn't do it when he is about to announce what he is going to do in human history concerning the Savior. Jerusalem was known as the religious center of the world, famous for the temple, famous for the prophets, famous for her monotheism. In a world where people worshiped many gods and any gods, there was the Jew worshiping one God and one only. Basically, all three were fools at this time when it came to the knowledge of God. Jerusalem had no excuse. The others really had no good excuse, but you could understand it, I think, easily.
It's easier to understand why Rome and Greece and the other places in the world, they fell apart, but why Jerusalem? Well, we see this today. We have great Bible teachers teaching from the Scripture verse by verse and still then engaging in unscriptural behavior. I don't get it, except to say there is a very real devil and we are very real sinners, saved by grace, but still susceptible to the flesh, susceptible to the devil. This keeps us from becoming, knowing these things, observing these things. It keeps us from becoming full of ourselves, which is so easy to do, so easy to say, yeah, God is feeding me because I am special.
Well, I am special, but I'm no more special than anyone else, and that's something the flesh does not want to receive. And so again, they were, when it came to understanding the knowledge of God, totally ignorant, totally foolish because they had gone into a different direction. Listen to what Mary will say as the story develops, which I think is very appropriate at this point. In Luke chapter 1 verse 52, if you can look at it with me, she says, He has put down the mighty from their thrones and exalted the lowly. Past Rome, past Athens, past Jerusalem, to Galilee, Galilee of the Gentiles. God dispatches His angel Gabriel, the same angel that spoke face to face with Daniel, the same angel that spoke with Zacharias, which is a huge part of what's going to develop.
Look with me at verse 26. Now in the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth. The very word was one of scorn to the Jerusalem aristocrats. Galilee. It was overrun with Gentiles.
Herod had developed it extensively, the building projects, the theaters, the arenas, the pagan temples. Gentile was stamped all over the northern part of Israel, again known as Galilee. And their sophistication in Jerusalem would not allow them to pay attention to what God was doing and what God said He would do in that very region through the prophet Isaiah. I won't quote Isaiah just yet. Galilee of the Gentiles, which actually comes from a statement in Isaiah. Matthew picks it up in the fourth chapter.
We won't quote that just yet either. I know I've got a lot of these places to get back to with you, but a main highway ran through Galilee to Jerusalem within a half mile of Nazareth. Nazareth was a province within Galilee which itself had a reputation for being not only corrupt but super corrupt. That's where Mary lived, in Nazareth. You might remember Nathanael saying when his friend Philip said, come we have found the Messiah, Jesus of Nazareth. And he says, can anything good come out of Nazareth? Really?
Give me a break. How does Philip respond to his friend? There's nothing he could say about Nazareth, nothing in its defense.
So he just says, come see. Their relationship was such that Nathanael went to see and never stopped seeing, as we often say of John the Apostle. And so within this despised province of corruption, within this Gentile region of darkness, Galilee of the Gentiles, God dispatches Gabriel to go there because there is the innocent last, Mary. If I had to put a face on innocence, a human face, I don't mean original innocence, I mean there's no sin, but amongst humans, amongst those who were born sinners, it would be Mary's face. Remember this verse from Song of Solomon chapter 2. Like a lily among thorns, so is my love among the daughters.
That's Mary. That should be the church. It is the church, and it is not the church.
Every church, every group of believers should be hoping that God will be able to say this about them. Like a lily among thorns, so is my love among the daughters. And so in the midst of corrupt Nazareth there is this peasant maiden who actually belongs to a royal line.
She really is a princess out of the palace, in the royal line of David. And she has been kept pure in the midst of this. Listen to what Paul says, because Paul right doctrinally speaks about Mary's behavior. Philippians chapter 2 verses 15 and 16, that you may become blameless and harmless.
Oh God, that I wish I could be harmless. Children of God, without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain, as Mary is talking, as Joseph. That's Zacharias and Elizabeth and all these characters, Simeon and Anna, so many to come after. And so as I mentioned, God dispatches Gabriel, the game changer.
Everything is about to move from BC to AD, and the world doesn't even know it. Do you know when it says that there was no room in the inn? The Greek word suggests strongly, I should add, that really it wasn't an inn, but more of a shelter.
The Romans built these long travel paths and towns along the way. There was no room in the shelter. That means there really wasn't a barn for the babe to be born in, likely born in a shepherd's cave or out in the open, and then later moved to a shepherd's cave where a manger would have been. That's historical.
I mean, they have found these things, but I don't want to get sidetracked. I want to go back now to one of the verses I said I wanted to mention, and many of you like reviewing the whole Christmas story, so you'll get past it. Matthew chapter 4, quoting the prophecies concerning the birth and the coming of Jesus Christ, verses 14 and 15, 15 and 16, the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali. Those tribes were in the Galilee region, though they were not now functioning as tribal leaders or tribes in that area.
That had all been split up. It continues, by the way of the sea beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles, the people who sat in darkness have seen a great light, and upon those who sat in the region and shadow the shadow of death, light has dawned. And so there Matthew is talking about the coming of Christ into this dark region, this place that the whole world looked upon, especially the religious self-righteous Jews, but not God. As mentioned, Gabriel arrives. Look at verse 28 of Luke chapter 1, and there we read, Having come in, the angel said to her, Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you. Blessed are you among women. Not above women, but among them.
Now that's pretty big. Now this is troubling to her. I think Mary, she's young, very young, and ditzy, but good ditzy, righteous for sure, but once the Spirit starts moving, everything starts turning around. You see, when Zechariah sees Gabriel, he has a little different reaction, because he's more calculated, not in a negative way, but he's developed. He calculated, well, what's this guy doing in the temple, and he's thinking of it differently. But when she sees him, she's innocent. It's like, hey, I would have been dialed 911, or hand me that firearm to deal with somebody in my house like this.
He would have had to have been doing something very special to make me stand down. But the way the story reads is that she's very comfortable in dialogue with this stranger in the home. Now when he says that you're highly favored, he's actually saying you are endued with grace. He mentions that she is favored from the Lord. Like Job, heaven was mindful of her character, of her person, of how she behaved, just like us. Now that's not meant to spook us, you know, they're peering down watching us.
That's not the idea at all. The idea is that the heart is deceitful above all, desperately wicked. No man can know it but God, who searches the mind, the heart. God looks past what he sees us doing.
He goes much deeper than what's on the surface. And this should be something that encourages us. Now look again, verse 30. She was troubled by all this. Well, verse 37, to the virgin betrothed to a man, let me just back up here a little bit, he says, and having come in, the angel said to her, rejoice, highly favored, 1 verse 28, the Lord is with you, blessed are you among women. But when she saw him, she was troubled at this saying and considered what manner of greeting was this. You see, that's like, what do you mean?
Well, that's odd. Again, I would have been, what are you doing in my house? And then it goes on, and the angel said to her, do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a son and shall call his name Jesus. He will be great, verse 32, and will be called the son of the highest. And the Lord will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end. All prophetic. It doesn't have anything to do directly with savior, saving mankind, though the name does, and though that's the meaning of it, but it's interesting how Joseph gets a little bit of a different presentation than Mary.
Not contradictory, not at all. But this angel is saying, you are going to give birth to the ruler, and his name will be Jesus, Yahshua. Yahweh is salvation. That's what the name means.
By the time he gets transpronounced from the Hebrew to the Greek to the English, we know it as Jesus, the savior. Her reaction to all this is our text. It comes in waves.
There's not one epiphany, and that's it. There's this light that shines through, she begins to get it, she submits to it, and then there's a second wave, a big wave, a tsunami that hits her yet again. So let's read our text there in verse 38, and there it says, Mary said, behold, the maidservant of the Lord, let it be to me according to your word. I'm the maidservant. I am your servant. That's what she's saying.
Whatever you say, I'm with you. I'm here, I am at your service. And thus the title of the message, Mary, maidservant of the Lord. Of course, if you're a man, that becomes manservant of the Lord.
What a wonderful example. I think it is fitting as I look at scripture, and I understand that in the end God makes sense with everything he does. I think it is fitting that the savior of sinners enters the human race through a sinner. I think it is fitting that he comes through a woman, representative of Eve, by whom sin first entered into humankind. Sin entered into the human experience through a woman. The savior enters into the human experience through a woman, not just any woman. Savior.
A maidservant. The savior enters through a maidservant, and it is still that way. The gospel is given through men and maidservants of the Lord. It comes through sinners. It comes through people that don't understand all there is to understand about sin, but understand enough about the savior to keep moving forward in spite of sin.
Otherwise, we're all knocked out of the game. I'm not going to reference it, but in 1 Timothy 2 verse 14, this is what Paul was talking about. About the savior coming through a woman who herself was a sinner, bringing the solution to all mankind. Now look at Luke chapter 1 verse 47. Mary, in her magnification of the Lord, in the power of the Spirit, and just in passing, one has counted at least 23 references to various scriptures in her song.
The magnification of Mary, it is known. But in verse 47, she says, and my spirit has rejoiced in God my savior, which means she's a sinner, and she's confessing it. This idea of the immaculate conception that Mary was born without sin is sinful. It is blasphemous.
It is unbiblical. It is to be rejected on every level. And again, not trying to beat up on other groups. We don't have to. We just have to stand for the truth. If the truth beats up on them, then that's their problem.
And the solution is to get onto the right side of truth. But no, I've got to put my culture first. I've got to put my mom and dad first. Well, you put your mom and dad before God, you're in big trouble. This has been the case throughout the whole Old Testament.
It's never been right, unless mom and dad are right. There's no dishonor to the honor of mother and father when a person says I must uphold the truth. I must stand for the truth of God. There's no dishonor in that. But it's not easy. And so again, a woman brought sin to mankind, a woman brought the savior to mankind. The problem? The solution.
Does that mean women are any less than men at all? It means God is going to deal with it. And when he deals with it, whatever it may be, he's going to be right.
It's going to make sense. And we are going to praise him in the end. And now I want to take verses 46 and 45 once again. Getting a little ahead of the story as far as its chronology goes, but listen again to this woman's confession and admission that she is a sinner herself in need of a savior. And Mary said, my soul magnifies the Lord and my spirit has rejoiced in God my savior for he has regarded the lowly state of his maidservant for behold henceforth all generations will call me blessed. Not God.
She's not God the mother. Gabriel's message of prophetic message concerning rule is limited to the son. He is going to be the one that fulfills the prophecies. He is going to be the one whose kingdom never ends. He is going to be the one that fulfills Isaiah chapter 9 verses 6 and 7, for unto us a child is born. Unto us a son is given. Now that's the Christmas story.
But here comes the rest of the story. And the government will be upon his shoulder, not the government we have now or any other government of men. This will be the righteous government and his name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end and upon the throne of David and over his kingdom to order it and establish it with judgment and justice from that time forward even forever the zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this and here is one of the next phases taking place in Luke's gospel chapter 1. Listen to what the prophet Nathan said to David. He says your house and your kingdom shall be established forever before you.
Your throne shall be established forever. This goes beyond David. It goes beyond Solomon.
It goes all the way to the Messiah who is now coming to the world. Mary, wife of Joseph, mother of Jesus but never mother of God. She could not produce God. The race, the Jewish race could not produce God and that's why we have the virgin birth. As I said, she's not the mother of God and if you were to call her the mother of God, if you were to pray to her, she would call it blasphemy and she would have probably be part of the process of having used stone to death under this government because that was the penalty.
It was a capital crime to blaspheme God. You've been listening to Cross Reference Radio, the daily radio ministry of Pastor Rick Gaston of Calvary Chapel in Mechanicsville, Virginia. Pastor Rick is teaching from God's word each time you tune in.
As we mentioned at the beginning of today's broadcast, this teaching is available free of charge at our website. Just visit crossreferenceradio.com. That's crossreferenceradio.com. We'd also like to encourage you to subscribe to the Cross Reference Radio podcast. Subscribing ensures that you stay current with all the latest teachings from Pastor Rick. You can do so at crossreferenceradio.com or search for Cross Reference Radio in your favorite podcast app store. That's all for today. Join Pastor Rick next time for more character studies right here on Cross Reference Radio.
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