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Bible Study – June 2021

Getting ready! Mary’s story

Think of a major event in your past life: perhaps finishing a study course, getting married, having a baby, the trip of a lifetime …

Can you remember how it was for you preparing for that event? Getting ready?

The nights lying awake planning, down to the smallest details.

So many phone calls, conversations, errands – and the lists!

How did you feel? What were your thoughts?

(As well as discussion, you might like to write down your responses to the reflection questions in this study. Use your prayer journal or a notebook.)

Mary gets ready

Think of young Mary, betrothed in marriage to Joseph the carpenter, planning the wedding with her family, with Joseph. Getting ready for the great change of becoming a wife … 

Imagine how it was for her, planning and preparing. Imagine her growing excitement and nervousness.

But then – a great disruption to their plans! Read Luke 1:26–37.

Imagine Mary’s feelings and thoughts now! This was NOT what she had been getting ready for!

If this message from the angel comes true, what will Mary face now? In her relationship with Joseph? With her own family? With her community?

How might Mary have responded?

Read Luke 1:38. How has Mary adjusted her “getting ready”? What do you think motivated her adjustment?

God gets ready

Mary’s tumultuous experience happens in a wider context. God is at work, getting ready for the coming of his Son, to be born of Mary.

Read Luke 1:5–25. How is God preparing for his Son’s birth?

What will John’s role be? (See also John 1:19–34)

What do you think Elizabeth had been getting ready for before this interruption?

How have her life plans been changed?

God knows Mary will need support from someone who understands her extraordinary position. And so he brings young Mary to her older cousin Elizabeth – two women whose plans for the future have been profoundly disrupted by God’s action in their lives. Both women might well have been anxious, disturbed, fearful, even angry!

Look at what happens when pregnant Mary meets pregnant Elizabeth. Read Luke 1:39–49.

How does the young prophet in Elizabeth’s womb react when his Lord in Mary’s womb enters the house? How does Elizabeth react? How does Mary react?

Who is at work in all of them, bringing such responses? (v41b)

This is a scene of joy and worship, motivated by the Spirit of God! The Holy Spirit has opened these women’s hearts to their Saviour and Lord in their midst!

Our getting ready

Have your own life plans ever been disrupted by events outside your control?

How did you feel about that? (Take some time to write or think about this …)

What about now? What are you getting ready for now?

Whether our preparations go to plan, or whether they are disrupted by external events – such as a pandemic! – we are invited by God to look with eyes of faith and to ask, “Where is God at work in all this? How is God inviting me to respond?”

The Holy Spirit within us will stir our hearts to this faith in our faithful God and will open our eyes to look for Jesus in our midst: Jesus speaking to us through his Word; Jesus feeding and strengthening us with his own body and blood; Jesus our Shepherd and Lord.

So that we can say with Mary, “Here I am, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your Word”.

Prayer: Loving Lord, we trust your grace and goodness as you work out your purposes in this world. We know our lives are in your hands, and that you are our Good Shepherd, our Rock, and our Saviour. As we each get ready for our future plans, give us a deep trust in you, that whatever happens we will keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, walking the road with us. Help us to respond with grace and patience when things don’t go to our plan and open our eyes to see and receive what you may be doing in the “disruptions” of life! We pray in the name of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus. Amen.

About the Author

Pauline Simonsen

Pauline Simonsen is the dean of Emmaus, a Christian training provider in Palmerston North, New Zealand. She loves to teach, and especially enjoys opening God’s Word to people who are hungry to understand more of God and his ways with us. Pauline is a trained spiritual director, and is regularly invited to lead retreats, or as a guest speaker for the wider Christian church. She is married to Roger and they live with two much-loved cats in the beautiful Manawatu region of New Zealand.

Comments 4

  1. This is a timely reflective study and I am thankful for your words, guidance and references in opening up what is a very personal contemplation for me. I have had to repeat this study several times and each time is affects me more deeply. Our God is so good and your prayer is beautiful. Thank you for sharing your gifts.

  2. Thanks from ladies at St Mark’s Mt Gravatt. “ We thought it was simple but..” Barbara said, “Boy oh boy, have we filled it out!”

    1. 🙂 It sounds like you all brought your shared experiences and wisdom together, ladies! That makes the best study times, I reckon… God bless you all!

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