Study Guide: Mary’s Messy Yes

Sunday December 21, 2008 | Greg Boyd

Focus Scripture:

Brief Summary:

Mary, the mother of Jesus, is one of the Bible’s great examples of faith. God chose her as the human vessel through which God would enter the world! Mary responded with great faith even though it would certainly introduce many challenges and change her life’s path.

Extended Summary:

Today’s topic could not be more monumental. In theological terms we are discussing the “incarnation”. God has entered the world. The Creator has been made physically present to the creation and has walked among us as a human being. This is the very heart of Christianity. And it all happened through Mary.

We might imagine many ways that God would “show up” and let the world know that he loves us—but without having known the story—it might be considered blasphemous to suggest that God be born in a dirty stable. But, when it is God’s idea to do it this way, it speaks profoundly of the character of God and how God wants his relationship with human beings to be. It seems impossible to imagine how Mary felt when God chose her for this unthinkable role. What we can know is that she responded in faith with these words, “I am the Lord’s servant, may it be to me according to your word.”

This was the response of faith. Greg spent time helping us see that by human standards, Mary was not a person of powerful standing or great influence. She was a humble Jewish child, and yet she was given a calling by God and accepted it with joy. She was blessed to have been chosen by God for a specific purpose.

Consider Ephesians 4:11-12. Each one of us is included in God’s plans to serve and love the world. Each one of us is called to play a part in the kingdom of God. Just like Mary, God has a calling for you and for the community you live in. If we listen, we will hear what it is that God would have us do, and if we choose to be like Mary, we will respond in faith to God’s call.

Reflection Questions:

  1. What stands out to you about how God came to Mary?
  2. What was Mary’s response to this unusual encounter?
  3. What does this say about God’s nature and how does this challenge your view of God?
  4. Like Mary, God has a call upon our lives. What is God calling you to do in this world?
  5. What is God saying to you right now?