Remember: participation is up to whatever level you can manage. Just reading through and thinking about it as you do, writing your responses down in your personal journal, leaving a comment or question in the comments section or emailing thoughts to me. You could chat to a local friend about what comes up or if you get really excited you are welcome to use these questions for your family or small group study time. I'd love to know if you do so let me know!
So go and grab your Bible, a cup of tea and a some biscuits and whatever else you might need and let's get into studying the character of the wonderful woman Mary, the Mother of our Lord.
What do you already know about Mary?
What sort of picture of her do you have in your mind?
Read Luke 1:26-38
Q1. What guesses can we make about Mary when Gabriel tells her in v 28 that she is ‘most highly favoured’?
Q2. What attributes of a highly favoured woman do you have or would you like to work on?
Q3. v 29 says that she is troubled by the greeting Gabriel gives her. Why might that be?
Q4. The angel’s announcement is pretty amazing. How do you think you would respond?
Q5. Shadows are usually a scary image so what does the angel mean in v 35 when he says that ‘the Most High will overshadow you’? (see Psalm 17v8, 36v7 & 91v1-2 for help)
Q6. In v 36 Gabriel tells Mary about her relative (exact relation unknown) Elizabeth being 6 months pregnant even though she is ‘old and barren’. In v37 he then says ‘For nothing is impossible with God.’ Why else might he mention Elizabeth?
Q7. Mary asks the angel only one question (v 34) before responding with ‘I am the Lord’s servant. May it be to me as you have said.’ What might her response teach us about her character?
Q8. Do you think she fully realizes at this stage what her future holds?
Q9. What does her response teach us about being God’s servants?
Q10. What does her response teach us about faith? (see also 1 v 45)
Q11. If nothing is truly impossible with God what area of your life do you need to turn over to him at the moment? What is holding you back?
It is interesting here to reflect briefly on Mary’s future as the mother of Jesus and the role she would have had as his teacher, especially in his early years. While Jesus is of course fully God we see here that being born of Mary he is also fully human. As with all children their first port of learning everything is in the home. It is where we learn to reach, grab, crawl walk, laugh, talk and communicate. It is also where we learn and are influenced by the attitudes and beliefs of our family.
Mary’s own beliefs and attitudes would have had as much of an impact on the child Jesus as any parents on their children. When Mary shows her heart of service to the Lord in declaring in v 38 ‘May it be as you have said’ it is easy to see that if this is her response to something so major it must surely have filtered through her daily life and into her family.
Indeed when we later come to the Garden of Gethsemane where Jesus is praying in Matthew 26v39 & 42 Mary’s son echoes her servant heart and even her very words when he says to his Father ‘yet not as I will but as you will’. Or as Mary said ‘May it be to me as you have said.
Q12. What attitudes do you hope to impart to the people in your life?