Mary's Faith: Trusting God's Promise | Faith Bible Study #10

Faith Bible Study #10 – Mary’s Faith: Trusting the Promise of God

Pastor Duke Taber

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Introduction

The story of Mary, the mother of Jesus, is a powerful example of faith in action. Throughout the gospels, we see Mary’s unwavering trust in God, her humble obedience to His will, and her steadfast devotion to her son, even in the face of incredible challenges and uncertainties.

In this Bible study, we will explore the nature and significance of Mary’s faith, tracing her journey from the annunciation of Jesus’ birth to the crucifixion and resurrection. We will examine the key moments and events that shaped her faith, and consider the lessons and insights that her example offers for our own lives and spiritual journeys.

At the heart of Mary’s faith is a profound trust in God’s character and purposes. From the moment the angel Gabriel appeared to her, announcing that she would conceive a child by the Holy Spirit, Mary embraced God’s plan for her life with courage, humility, and obedience. Her response to the angel’s message, “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word” (Luke 1:38, NKJV), reveals a heart that was wholly surrendered to God’s will.

Throughout her life, Mary’s faith was tested and refined in the crucible of suffering and uncertainty. As a young, unmarried woman, she faced the scandal and stigma of pregnancy outside of marriage. As a mother, she witnessed the rejection and persecution of her son, culminating in his brutal crucifixion. And as a disciple, she experienced the grief and disorientation of Jesus’ death, followed by the astonishing joy of his resurrection.

Through it all, Mary’s faith remained anchored in the goodness and faithfulness of God. She pondered the mystery of Jesus’ identity and mission in her heart (Luke 2:19), even when she did not fully understand it. She stood by the cross as her son suffered and died, enduring the agony of a mother’s love and the anguish of apparent defeat. And she was among the first witnesses of the resurrection, experiencing the triumph of God’s love over sin and death.

As we study Mary’s faith, we will explore the biblical passages that give us insight into her character and her relationship with God. We will consider the significance of her role as the mother of the Messiah, and the ways in which her faith points us to the larger story of God’s redemptive work in the world. We will also reflect on the challenges and obstacles that Mary faced, and the ways in which her faith sustained and strengthened her in the midst of trials and difficulties.

Through this study, we will gain a deeper appreciation for the power and beauty of a life lived in faith and obedience to God. We will be inspired by Mary’s example of humble trust, courageous surrender, and steadfast devotion, and challenged to cultivate those same qualities in our own lives. We will also be reminded of the incredible love and grace of God, who chose to enter into our world through the womb of a young woman and to redeem us through the sacrifice of His Son.

As we begin this journey together, let us approach Mary’s story with open hearts and minds, ready to receive the wisdom and insight that the Holy Spirit has for us. May we be encouraged and equipped to live out our own faith with boldness, perseverance, and joy, knowing that the same God who was faithful to Mary is faithful to us as well. And may we, like Mary, be found faithful and obedient, bearing witness to the transforming power of the gospel in our lives and in the world around us.

Faith Bible Study #10 - Mary's Faith: Trusting the Promise of God

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Mary’s Faith at the Annunciation

The story of Mary’s faith begins with the annunciation, the moment when the angel Gabriel appeared to her and announced that she would conceive and give birth to the Son of God. This event, recorded in Luke 1:26-38, is a pivotal moment in the history of salvation, and it reveals the depth and strength of Mary’s faith in a powerful way.

When the angel appeared to Mary, she was a young woman, probably in her early teens, living in the small town of Nazareth. She was betrothed to a man named Joseph, but they had not yet come together in marriage. The angel’s message to Mary was startling and unprecedented: “Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!” (Luke 1:28, NKJV).

Mary’s initial response to the angel’s greeting was one of confusion and perplexity. She wondered what kind of greeting this was, and what it could mean for her life. But as the angel went on to explain the nature of his message, Mary’s faith began to shine through.

The angel told Mary that she had found favor with God, and that she would conceive and give birth to a son, who would be named Jesus. He would be great, and would be called the Son of the Highest, and he would reign over the house of Jacob forever. Mary, knowing that she was a virgin, asked the angel how this could be possible.

The angel’s response revealed the miraculous nature of what was about to happen: “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God” (Luke 1:35, NKJV). The child that Mary would bear would be conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit, and would be the very Son of God himself.

Mary’s response to this incredible announcement reveals the depth of her faith and her willingness to submit to God’s will for her life. She said, “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word” (Luke 1:38, NKJV). In this one sentence, Mary demonstrated a profound trust in God’s goodness and wisdom, a humble acceptance of her role in His plan, and a courageous willingness to embrace the unknown and the difficult.

Mary’s faith at the annunciation is all the more remarkable when we consider the challenges and risks that she faced. In her culture, pregnancy outside of marriage was a serious scandal, one that could result in shame, rejection, and even death by stoning. By saying yes to God’s plan, Mary was putting her reputation, her relationships, and even her life on the line.

But Mary’s faith was not based on a calculation of risks and benefits, or a weighing of pros and cons. It was rooted in a deep trust in God’s character and purposes, and a willingness to surrender her own desires and plans for the sake of His will. She believed that God was good, that He was faithful, and that He had a plan for her life that was beyond her understanding but worthy of her obedience.

Mary’s faith at the annunciation also reveals a heart that was receptive to the work of the Holy Spirit. When the angel told her that the Holy Spirit would come upon her and that the power of the Highest would overshadow her, Mary did not resist or question, but opened herself up to the transforming presence of God. Her faith was not just a mental assent to a set of beliefs, but a wholehearted embrace of God’s love and power at work within her.

As we reflect on Mary’s faith at the annunciation, we are challenged to cultivate a similar posture of trust, humility, and openness in our own lives. Like Mary, we are called to say yes to God’s will for our lives, even when it seems risky, costly, or uncertain. We are invited to surrender our own plans and desires, and to trust that God’s purposes for us are good and worthy of our obedience.

We are also reminded of the power and presence of the Holy Spirit, who overshadowed Mary and who dwells within us as believers. Just as Mary’s faith was conceived and nurtured by the Spirit, so too our faith is a gift of God’s grace, sustained and strengthened by His power at work within us.

May the example of Mary’s faith at the annunciation inspire and challenge us to live out our own faith with courage, humility, and obedience, knowing that the same God who called and equipped Mary is faithful to do the same for us. May we, like Mary, be found receptive and responsive to the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives, bearing witness to the transforming power of the gospel in all that we say and do.

Reflective Questions:

  1. How does Mary’s response to the angel’s message challenge or inspire you in your own faith journey? What does it mean for you to say “yes” to God’s will for your life, even when it seems risky or uncertain?
  2. In what areas of your life do you struggle to trust God’s goodness and wisdom? How can Mary’s example of humble surrender and obedience encourage you to place your faith in God’s purposes for you?
  3. How have you experienced the presence and power of the Holy Spirit in your own life? In what ways do you need to cultivate a greater openness and receptivity to the Spirit’s work within you?
  4. What risks or challenges do you face as you seek to live out your faith in obedience to God? How can Mary’s courage and willingness to embrace the unknown inspire you to step out in faith?
  5. How does the story of the annunciation remind you of the incredible love and grace of God, who chose to enter into our world through the womb of a young woman? What does this reveal about God’s character and His purposes for your life and for the world?

Mary’s Faith in the Face of Challenges and Uncertainties

As we trace the story of Mary’s faith throughout the gospels, we see that her trust in God was not a one-time event, but a consistent posture that sustained her through the challenges and uncertainties of life. From the scandal of her pregnancy to the sorrow of her son’s crucifixion, Mary’s faith was tested and refined in the crucible of suffering and sacrifice.

One of the first challenges that Mary faced was the social stigma and potential rejection that came with her pregnancy. In her culture, a woman who became pregnant outside of marriage was seen as a disgrace and a sinner, and could face severe consequences, including being disowned by her family or even put to death.

When Mary told Joseph, her betrothed, about the child she was carrying, he had every right under the law to expose her shame and to have her punished. But Joseph, being a just man, chose to divorce her quietly, sparing her from public disgrace (Matthew 1:19). It was only after an angel appeared to him in a dream, confirming that the child was conceived by the Holy Spirit, that Joseph took Mary as his wife and protected her from harm.

Mary’s faith in the face of this challenge is evident in her willingness to trust God’s plan for her life, even when it seemed to contradict the expectations and norms of her society. She believed that God’s purposes for her were good and worthy of her obedience, even if they led to misunderstanding, rejection, or suffering.

Another challenge that Mary faced was the uncertainty and upheaval that came with the birth of Jesus. When the time came for her to give birth, Mary and Joseph were forced to travel to Bethlehem for a census, a journey of several days on foot or by donkey. When they arrived, there was no room for them in the inn, and Mary had to give birth to her firstborn son in a humble stable, surrounded by animals and hay.

The circumstances of Jesus’ birth were far from ideal, and must have been a source of great stress and anxiety for Mary. But her faith in God’s provision and protection never wavered. She trusted that the same God who had overshadowed her with His Spirit and conceived the child within her womb would also watch over them and guide them through the challenges of parenthood.

Mary’s faith was also tested by the prophetic words that were spoken over her child. When Jesus was presented in the temple as an infant, the elderly prophet Simeon took him in his arms and declared, “Behold, this Child is destined for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign which will be spoken against (yes, a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed” (Luke 2:34-35, NKJV).

These words must have been both thrilling and terrifying for Mary. On the one hand, they confirmed that her son was indeed the Messiah, the long-awaited Savior of Israel. On the other hand, they hinted at the suffering and opposition that he would face, and the pain that Mary herself would experience as a result.

Throughout Jesus’ life and ministry, Mary had to grapple with the tension between her love for her son and her faith in God’s purposes for him. She witnessed the miracles he performed and the crowds that flocked to him, but she also saw the growing opposition and hostility from the religious leaders. She heard his teachings about the kingdom of God and the cost of discipleship, but she also knew that following him would require great sacrifice and self-denial.

Perhaps the greatest test of Mary’s faith came at the foot of the cross, where she watched her son suffer and die a horrific and humiliating death. The sword that Simeon had prophesied did indeed pierce her soul, as she witnessed the agony and abandonment of her beloved child.

But even in this darkest hour, Mary’s faith did not fail. She stood by the cross, a silent witness to the love and obedience of her son. She entrusted him into the hands of the Father, believing that even this seemingly senseless tragedy was part of God’s greater plan of redemption.

And when the resurrection came, Mary was among the first to experience the joy and wonder of new life in Christ. She was present in the upper room when the Holy Spirit was poured out on the disciples, empowering them to be witnesses to the risen Lord (Acts 1:14).

Through all the challenges and uncertainties of her life, Mary’s faith remained a constant and unwavering anchor. She trusted in the goodness and faithfulness of God, even when circumstances seemed to contradict His promises. She surrendered her own desires and plans, embracing the path that God had chosen for her, even when it led to suffering and sacrifice.

As we reflect on Mary’s faith in the face of challenges and uncertainties, we are inspired to cultivate a similar posture of trust and obedience in our own lives. We are reminded that following Jesus is not a guarantee of an easy or comfortable life, but a call to take up our cross and follow him, even when the way is difficult or unclear.

We are also encouraged to bring our own fears, doubts, and struggles to God in prayer, trusting that He is able to sustain and strengthen us, just as He did for Mary. We can find comfort and hope in the knowledge that the same God who was faithful to Mary through all the ups and downs of her life is faithful to us as well, and will never leave us or forsake us.

May the example of Mary’s faith in the face of challenges and uncertainties inspire us to live out our own faith with courage, perseverance, and hope, knowing that our lives are held secure in the hands of a loving and faithful God. May we, like Mary, be found faithful and obedient, even in the midst of trials and difficulties, bearing witness to the transforming power of the gospel in all that we say and do.

Reflective Questions:

  1. What challenges or uncertainties are you currently facing in your own life? How can Mary’s example of faith and trust in God encourage and strengthen you in the midst of these struggles?
  2. Have you ever experienced rejection, misunderstanding, or social stigma as a result of your faith in Christ? How did you respond, and what did you learn about God’s faithfulness and provision in those situations?
  3. In what ways has your faith been tested or refined through suffering or sacrifice? How have these experiences deepened your trust in God and your willingness to surrender to His purposes for your life?
  4. How does the example of Mary at the cross challenge or inspire you to remain faithful to Jesus, even in the face of pain, loss, or disappointment? What does it mean for you to entrust your life and your loved ones into the hands of the Father?
  5. How can you cultivate a posture of trust and obedience in your daily life, even when circumstances seem to contradict God’s promises or purposes for you? What practices or disciplines can help you to stay anchored in God’s love and faithfulness?

The Significance of Mary’s Faith for Believers Today

As we reflect on the story of Mary’s faith, we may wonder what relevance or significance it has for our own lives and spiritual journeys. After all, Mary was a unique and chosen vessel, hand-picked by God to bear the Savior of the world. Her experiences and challenges were in many ways extraordinary and unrepeatable.

And yet, the example of Mary’s faith has much to teach us about what it means to live a life of trust, obedience, and devotion to God, even in the midst of ordinary and everyday circumstances. Her story reminds us that faith is not just a matter of intellectual assent or religious observance, but a wholehearted surrender to God’s purposes and a willingness to follow Him wherever He leads.

One of the key lessons that we can learn from Mary’s faith is the importance of humility and submission to God’s will. From the moment of the annunciation, Mary demonstrated a posture of humble obedience, saying “yes” to God’s plan for her life, even when it seemed risky, costly, or uncertain. She did not seek to assert her own desires or agenda, but rather embraced the path that God had chosen for her, trusting that His purposes were good and worthy of her surrender.

This posture of humility and submission is essential for all believers who seek to follow Jesus and live out their faith in obedience to God. It requires a willingness to lay down our own plans and preferences, and to trust that God’s ways are higher and better than our own. It means being open and receptive to the leading of the Holy Spirit, even when it takes us in unexpected or uncomfortable directions.

Another lesson that we can learn from Mary’s faith is the importance of perseverance and endurance in the face of challenges and trials. Throughout her life, Mary faced numerous obstacles and uncertainties, from the scandal of her pregnancy to the opposition and rejection that Jesus faced in his ministry. She witnessed the suffering and death of her beloved son, and experienced the pain and grief of loss and apparent defeat.

And yet, through it all, Mary’s faith remained steadfast and unwavering. She did not give up or lose heart, but continued to trust in God’s goodness and faithfulness, even in the darkest and most difficult moments. She persevered in prayer and in fellowship with the other disciples, and experienced the joy and wonder of the resurrection and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.

This kind of perseverance and endurance is essential for all believers who seek to live out their faith in a world that is often hostile or indifferent to the gospel. We will face trials, temptations, and challenges that test our faith and our commitment to Christ. We may experience rejection, persecution, or suffering for the sake of our beliefs. But like Mary, we are called to hold fast to our faith, to trust in God’s promises and purposes, and to persevere in prayer and obedience, knowing that our labor is not in vain in the Lord.

A third lesson that we can learn from Mary’s faith is the importance of bearing witness to the transforming power of the gospel in our lives and in the world around us. Throughout her life, Mary was a powerful witness to the love and grace of God, both in her words and in her actions. She proclaimed the goodness and faithfulness of God in her magnificent song of praise, the Magnificat (Luke 1:46-55). She bore witness to the divinity and authority of Jesus, even when others doubted or opposed him. And she stood by the cross and the empty tomb, a silent but powerful testimony to the sacrificial love and victorious power of Christ.

As believers, we too are called to be witnesses to the transforming power of the gospel in our lives and in the world around us. We are called to proclaim the goodness and faithfulness of God, even in the midst of a culture that often rejects or marginalizes faith. We are called to bear witness to the truth and authority of Jesus, even when it is unpopular or controversial. And we are called to stand firm in our faith, even in the face of suffering or opposition, knowing that our witness has the power to point others to the hope and salvation found in Christ alone.

Finally, the story of Mary’s faith reminds us of the incredible love and grace of God, who chose to enter into our world through the womb of a humble and obedient young woman. Mary’s story is not just a tale of human faith and courage, but a revelation of the character and purposes of God Himself. Through Mary, we see the depths of God’s compassion and condescension, His willingness to identify with us in our weakness and vulnerability, and His power to bring life and hope out of even the most unlikely and impossible circumstances.

As we reflect on the significance of Mary’s faith for our own lives and journeys, may we be inspired to cultivate a similar posture of humility, perseverance, and witness in our own walk with Christ. May we be encouraged to trust in God’s goodness and faithfulness, even in the midst of trials and uncertainties, knowing that He is able to sustain and strengthen us, just as He did for Mary. And may we be filled with gratitude and wonder at the incredible love and grace of God, who chose to enter into our world and to redeem us through the sacrifice of His Son.

May the example of Mary’s faith be a constant reminder to us of the power and beauty of a life lived in surrender and obedience to God. May we, like Mary, be found faithful and obedient, bearing witness to the transforming power of the gospel in all that we say and do, and pointing others to the hope and salvation found in Christ alone.

Reflective Questions:

  1. In what areas of your life do you struggle with humility and submission to God’s will? How can Mary’s example of obedience and surrender challenge and inspire you to lay down your own plans and preferences and trust in God’s purposes for you?
  2. How have you experienced perseverance and endurance in your own faith journey? What trials or challenges have tested your faith, and how has God sustained and strengthened you through those difficult times?
  3. In what ways can you bear witness to the transforming power of the gospel in your own life and in the world around you? How can you proclaim the goodness and faithfulness of God, even in the midst of a culture that often rejects or marginalizes faith?
  4. How does the story of Mary’s faith reveal the character and purposes of God Himself? What does it tell us about God’s love, compassion, and power to bring life and hope out of even the most unlikely and impossible circumstances?
  5. What is one specific way that you can apply the lessons and insights from Mary’s faith to your own life and spiritual journey? How can you cultivate a posture of humility, perseverance, and witness in your daily walk with Christ?

Conclusion

As we come to the end of our study on the faith of Mary, we have explored the profound example of trust, obedience, and devotion that she demonstrated throughout her life and journey with God. From the moment of the annunciation to the foot of the cross and beyond, Mary’s faith was a constant and unwavering anchor, sustaining her through the challenges and uncertainties of life and pointing her to the goodness and faithfulness of God.

Through Mary’s story, we have seen the power and beauty of a life lived in surrender and obedience to God’s purposes. We have been inspired by her humble acceptance of God’s call on her life, her perseverance in the face of trials and difficulties, and her witness to the transforming power of the gospel in all that she said and did.

We have also been reminded of the incredible love and grace of God, who chose to enter into our world through the womb of a humble and obedient young woman, and to redeem us through the sacrifice of His Son. Mary’s story is not just a tale of human faith and courage, but a revelation of the character and purposes of God Himself, who is able to bring life and hope out of even the most unlikely and impossible circumstances.

As we reflect on the lessons and insights that we have gained from this study, may we be challenged and encouraged to cultivate a deeper and more vibrant faith in our own lives. May we, like Mary, be found faithful and obedient, saying “yes” to God’s call on our lives, even when it seems risky, costly, or uncertain.

May we persevere in prayer and obedience, even in the face of trials and difficulties, knowing that God is able to sustain and strengthen us, just as He did for Mary. May we bear witness to the transforming power of the gospel in our lives and in the world around us, proclaiming the goodness and faithfulness of God and pointing others to the hope and salvation found in Christ alone.

And may we be filled with gratitude and wonder at the incredible love and grace of God, who chose to enter into our world and to redeem us through the sacrifice of His Son. May we never take for granted the gift of salvation that is available to us through faith in Jesus Christ, and may we live each day in the light of His love and mercy.

As we leave this study, let us hold fast to Mary’s example of faith and seek to live out our own faith with the same humility, perseverance, and devotion that she demonstrated. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, knowing that He is faithful to complete the good work that He has begun in us.

May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with us all, now and forever. Amen.

Reflective Questions:

  1. What has been the most meaningful or impactful lesson that you have learned from this study on the faith of Mary? How has it challenged or encouraged you in your own faith journey?
  2. In what areas of your life do you need to cultivate a deeper trust and obedience to God’s purposes? How can you say “yes” to His call on your life, even when it seems risky or uncertain?
  3. How can you persevere in prayer and obedience, even in the face of trials and difficulties? What promises or truths from God’s Word can you hold onto in those challenging times?
  4. In what ways can you bear witness to the transforming power of the gospel in your own life and in the world around you? How can you proclaim the goodness and faithfulness of God through your words and actions?
  5. How does the story of Mary’s faith inspire and motivate you to live out your own faith with greater humility, perseverance, and devotion? What is one practical step that you can take today to deepen your relationship with God and to follow Him more faithfully?

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