1. A VIRGIN GIVES BIRTH (Luke 1:26-38)
BACKGROUND: When these things happened, Mary was a young girl, probably under 20 years of age. She was engaged to be married to Joseph, a carpenter. Sexual relationships before marriage were strictly forbidden by the Old Testament.
- What kind of character did Mary have - what conclusions do you draw from this text?
- What was Mary's relationship with God like?
- Imagine Mary's everyday life in the small village of Nazareth - what might have been its joys and sorrows?
- Why did God choose this young girl to be the mother of his son?
- Think of various reasons why Mary reacted the way she did to the greeting of the angel (verse 29)?
- What was the reason God sent Gabriel to Mary?
- Read verses 32-33. What did Mary learn about the child she would eventually bear? Say it in your own words.
- Mary was a virgin. How could she already believe in a virgin birth when she didn't have any available proof? (In other words, before any signs of pregnancy were revealed in her body.)
- Why do so many people in our day find it extremely difficult to believe in a virgin birth?
- In the gospel of Matthew we see that Joseph also had first great difficulties in believing in a virgin birth. If Mary had known what kinds of agonies were awaiting her as the mother of Jesus, do you think she would have accepted the calling?
- Gabriel said twice that Mary had received mercy from God (verses 28,30). The word "mercy" means the forgiveness of sins. What did Mary need this forgiveness for?
- Perhaps you have felt sometimes that your problems are far too difficult even for God to solve. Read verse 37 and apply it to your problems. What does this verse mean in your present situation?
- Thirty some years later, Mary stood by the cross of her son. What did she think then about the promise of God in verses 32-33?
- If God offered to you a life full of mercy, but at the same time a life full of suffering such as Mary's life, how would you answer him?