Contact Us

  • Phone: (509) 747-3007
  • Email:
  • Mosaic Address:
    606 West 3rd Ave., Spokane, WA 99201

Service Times

  • Sunday:  8:30 am, 10 am, 11:30 am
  • Infant through 5th grade Sunday School classes available
  • FREE Parking!



Back To List

Dec 27, 2015

Taking A Page From Mary

Taking A Page From Mary

Passage: Luke 1:41-56

Preacher: John Repsold

Series: Christmas 2015- Stable Talk

Category: Holiday

Keywords: change, crisis, hard life, mary, praise, teenage faith, unexpected changes


This Christmas message looks at Mary's Magnificat, her song/prayer of praise to God in the midst of some very challenging realities. Having determined at her young age that as a servant of the Lord, she would do anything God wanted her to do, she become a model of how to embrace God's will when it is difficult, trying and life-altering. This message seeks to help us walk in the footsteps of this godly young teenage mother.


Taking a Page from Mary

Luke 1:41-55

December 27, 2002


INTRO:  After Christmas Eve service on Thursday, like many of you, we went home to spend a little time around the dinner table with each other.  It was a full table, so full that we had to add our last leaf in order to fit all 12 of us.  As we sat around chatting, I asked everyone to share a couple of things about this past year:

  • Tell us about something enjoyable and special that happened in your life this past year?
  • Tell us about something you are glad is behind you that happened this past year.

It was fascinating to see how closely related those two things often were to each other.  In other words, often the thing we were glad is behind us…some difficult challenge or experience…was closely connected with something very special, a real blessing, in our lives. 

EX:  Joanna and her family had to move out of their apartment about this time last year because the finances had dried up.  Andrew was supposed to be shooting the film Full of Grace sometime in early 2015.  But they had to put most of their stuff in storage, leave L.A. where they had lived for the past decade and head into a completely unknown future. 

      Those of you who have been in that place know how stressful it can be…especially with a 1-year old and number two on the way.  Being homeless is not one most people’s Christmas wish list.  They had no idea how God would take care of them.  They just knew they had to seek Him first and God would somehow take care of the rest. 

      It wasn’t long into January that they got a call from a friend of theirs in L.A., wife of another film director who was moving and offered to let them live in their home until it sold.  That turned out to be about 5 months, just long enough for Andrew to direct the movie Full of Grace and work with the film editor.  When the house sold for somewhere north of $3 million, they were homeless again…and moved up here to be with us.  And for the past 6 months, they’ve been living off and on with us but in this area the whole time. 

      (That was the one thing both Sandy and I mentioned as one of the most special things that has happened in our lives this past year—to live so close to them and our only grandchildren!)  Being essentially homeless with a toddler and not even having a place to stay in the city where they needed to be was tremendously stressful…and a tremendous blessing. 

If you had asked young Mary, the mother of Jesus, that year she was informed she would become the teenage mother of Jesus, God assuming human flesh as a baby born of a virgin, what was one of the best…and worst…experiences of the year, I think she would have said conceiving, carrying and birthing the Son of God, Jesus Christ.

      The positive, blessed parts of that experience are perhaps easily identified

  • To be engaged to be married to a very wonderful, very kind and God-fearing man must have been a very happy experience of that year.
  • Having an angel visit you personally with a direct message from God about your life had to be pretty amazing.
  • To be the one woman in the world chosen at that moment in human history to experience something no other woman had or ever will experience in this world, is easy to see as amazing.
  • To have the Spirit of God come upon you in such a way that you conceived a child in your womb miraculously, without a human father, had to be pretty amazing.
  • Becoming the only woman in human history to have God incarnate literally living in you for 9 months had to be unparalleled.

Those were all super-amazing things to happen to a girl of probably 14 or 15 years of age. 

      But what events of that year were things that Mary was probably glad to have behind her once the birth of Jesus was accomplished?

  • Can you imagine what it must have been like to become pregnant as a young teenager?
  • Can you imagine what it must have felt like to see the disbelief and disappointment in the eyes of your future husband? In the faces of your own family?
  • Can you imagine the nightmare it must have been for Mary to just walk down the streets of Nazareth seeing the women stare, whisper to one another and turn their backs to you?
  • Can you imagine how heart-rending it must have been to hear from some family messenger that your new husband was planning to divorce you?
  • Even after Joseph had experienced his own angelic visitation telling him not to divorce you because of the gift of God that was in your womb, how strange it must have been to move in with your new husband and yet not sleep together until after your first child was born.
  • How frightening it must have been to set off from Nazareth 8+ months pregnant with a husband you hardly knew, to go to a town you’d never been to, crowded with people you didn’t know, to register in a census that couldn’t have happened at a worse time?
  • How truly anxiety-provoking it must have been to feel the contractions start… and your water break…knowing that you had no place to stay that night, no place to go through your first delivery…probably any woman’s major fear?
  • How disappointing it must have been to realize that the best place you could find to go through the delivery was in the corner of a filthy, animal-filled stable in some truly dark street of this strange town.


Or stating it another way, big blessings often appear in the midst of big challenges. 

This is clearly one of the BIG lessons of the Christmas story.  What we celebrate with such great joy that happened 2,000 years ago had to have been troubling and perhaps terrifying for a very young couple whose hopes and dreams were being crushed anew with every twist and turn of events. 

SHARE in groups of two or three:

  • Something special or wonderful that happened to you this past year.
  • Something you are glad is behind you…history.


Now, turn to Luke 1:41-55.

I like all of us to spend a few minutes today learning from a godly teenager.  Yes, teenagers have things to teach old folks too. 

      Keep in mind that while the Bible doesn’t give us her age, in all probability she was somewhere between 13-16 years of age.  Most young women were pledged/engaged to their future husbands in their early teens.  Their husbands were usually in their mid or late teens.  So we’re really talking about a teenage couple trying to process what is happening to them with angelic appearances, unexpected pregnancies and unplanned, very inconvenient yet compulsory travel. 

      We pick up the story today shortly after Mary has received the news via Gabriel, the angel, that she will be the object of the world’s only truly “virgin birth.”  There will be no human male “XY chromosome” doner on this pregnancy.  But the child to be born will be a boy.

      Can you imagine how that conversation went down at the dinner table that night? 

Mary:  “Hey Mom and Dad, did you hear about Cousin Elizabeth?” 

Mom:  “What happened to her? Did she finally kick the bucket?  I’ve been bracing for that news any day with her age.” 

Mary: “No, no.  It’s not bad.  She’s pregnant!” 

Mom:  “Pregnant!  That’s impossible, dear. I know I haven’t talked to you about this sort of thing like I should have but…you just don’t have babies after 50…especially if you’ve been barren your whole life.  Who on earth did you hear that tale from?”

Mary:  “Ah, well, I had a little conversation today with… ah…ah…an angel…and he said so.” 


Mother:  “Really?  An angel?  Well, I guess that settles it.  And did this angel have anything else to say?” 

      I’m sure the rest of the conversation was totally easy, calm and rational with her parents that evening.  Talk about an “unplanned pregnancy”! 

      We’re not told how it all went down with Joseph either, but we can guess.  The Scriptures simply say (Mt. 1) that he assumed what every husband who had not had sex with his wife yet would assume.  Only he tried to shield her from public ridicule and judgment by planning for a private divorce.  We’re not told how many agonizing days or weeks it was before God sent Gabriel to talk with Joseph and get him back on board.

      Well, somehow Mary convinces her parents to let her make the trip from their town of Nazareth in northern Israel to Hebron in the hill country of Judea south of Jerusalem.  It’s an over 80 mile trip IF you go through Samaria, not the preferred route of most Jews.  It’s a lot longer if you have to cross the Jordan, go down the east side of the Jordan River, cross back over again near Jericho and then come up to Jerusalem and on to Hebron. Any way you cut it, you’re talking a 3-4 day road trip minimum. 

      Whether her daddy took his teenage daughter or she was sent with a caravan, we don’t know.  Luke just gives us the account of what happened when she first greeted Elizabeth upon her arrival.  Luke 1:41ff—

41 When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.  In a loud voice she [Elizabeth] exclaimed: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! 43 But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44 As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy.45 Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!”

I think with that last statement in vs. 45, Elizabeth is speaking under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit that had just filled her. She is commending Mary for her faith before she even really knows how great that faith was. By the Spirit she knew that Mary was somehow bearing her “Lord”.  She knew that this young, not yet fully married teenager, was “the mother of” her Lord.  You don’t make statements like that without God supernaturally revealing that to you.     

      Here are two women, at different ends of life’s spectrum, both experiencing miraculous pregnancies, coming together because of what the Holy Spirit is doing with them to shape human history. 

      It is at this point that Luke records Mary’s own song to God that I’d like us to consider today.  Whether it was right then, at that first meeting, or sometime during Mary’s three month stay with Elizabeth, we don’t really know.  But this song, commonly known as “Mary’s Magnificat,” is an amazing statement of faith by a young girl in the midst of one of the most difficult experiences a teenager can have.  (“Magnificat” is the first word of this song of Mary from the Latin version of Luke.)

      Imagine making this kind of declaration in the midst of your worst…and best…crisis of life to date

“My soul glorifies the Lord
47and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior….”

Rather than focusing on the disbelief of probably everyone around her, Mary takes God at His word.  She decides this is the BEST time of her life to write a song to God.  She sees this crisis as the best time to focus on God’s goodness to her and turn away from people’s disbelief about her. 

APP:  Which ought to be a rebuke to all of us 2, 3 or 4 times her age. Our circumstances don’t have to determine our songs…or the content of our conversations. 

      Too many of us sound like a Country Western song.  Like the old joke goes, “What do you get when you play a country western song backwards?  You get your trailer, your dog, your truck and your wife back.”

      Mary doesn’t sing country music! J  She sings God’s praises.  She is ecstatic about God her Savior.  No matter how hard this pregnancy is going to be and no matter how much she is going to be maligned for the rest of her life, she determines to write a new “praise song” and sing it to God.  She is determined to see God’s love for her and His grace towards her IN the tough but blessed times of life.  She’s already learned that life’s best…and worst…times go hand-in-hand.  She is able to live that way because she’s already decided that her life belongs to God.  As the New Living Translation puts her response to the angel Gabriel in vs. 45, “I am the Lord’s servant, and I am willing to accept anything he wants. May everything you have said come true” (Luke 1:39 NLT).

APP:   Have you and I decided that is what we’re going to do with life?  Or are we always diving for the country music?  J  Have we gotten to the place by our age where Mary was in her early teensI am the Lord’s servant, and I am willing to accept anything he wants.

      Have you come to that place in life yet?  It’s the only place we will find joy in God and peace in the midst of life’s unending storms.  So how about we declare that TODAY… NOW?  How about we speak that amazing phrase of faith in God out to Him and each other right now:


I am the Lord’s servant,

and I am willing to accept anything he wants.

[If you or I can’t make that proclamation publicly yet, then let’s at least make it our prayer to ASK God to make us willing to accept anything He wants.”

Mary continues with her song.  Notice WHO is the prime mover, the main action-taker in this song.
48 for he has been mindful
    of the humble state of his servant.

From now on all generations will call me blessed,
49  for the Mighty One has done great things for me—
    holy is his name.
50 His mercy extends to those who fear him,
    from generation to generation.
51 He has performed mighty deeds with his arm;
    he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.
52 He has brought down rulers from their thrones
    but has lifted up the humble.
53 He has filled the hungry with good things
    but has sent the rich away empty.
54 He has helped his servant Israel,
    remembering to be merciful
55 to Abraham and his descendants forever,
    just as he promised our ancestors.”

Here’s the clear challenge to each of us no matter where we are in life: 

  • What “great things” has God done in and around our lives that we can be talking about?
  • How has God invaded your crisis in order to show you his grace?
  • How has He pulled you through some tough stuff and kept you singing His praises?
  • How has he seen your “humble state” and made you aware that He is still blessing you?
  • How has He filled the hunger of our stomach…or soul…with good things?
  • How has God been merciful and gracious to YOU this past year?

[Open it up for sharing…public declaration of what God has done this past year.]