Teaching Series
What Child Is This?

Series: What Child Is This?
Sermon: Mary
Speaker: Japhet De Oliveira
Writer: Japhet De Oliveira
Kids Sections: Jessyka Albert

Refresh: Open with prayer. Ask for the Holy Spirit to open your heart to new understanding and for God’s character to be revealed.

Read: Matthew 28:1-10 in the New Living Translation (NLT). Note 1–3 insights or questions. 

Reflect: A few years ago, I visited the south of Brazil—the city of Porte Alegre—and caught up with some of my relatives from my father’s side of the family. They had several wonderful photos and stories to share of adventures, tragedies, and victories. For me, this was a deep immersion experience, listening to them speak Portuguese only, sensing the rhythm of their lives, and seeing my father’s heritage (and mine) piece together to make more sense. I traced our heritage all the way back to the 1840s when José Lorenzo Mendes, a Spanish merchant sea captain married an English woman named Mary Emily Thompson. Traveling between Europe and the USA for business, they heard the Gospel message taught by the Seventh-day Adventist Church, and decided to settle in the south of Brazil, effectively as lay missionaries. I wonder what they dreamed their children would be like? I wonder if they had any idea of the legacy they would create. The good things. The bad things. The hard things. The great things. 

Imagine, what it would have been like for Mary when she held baby Jesus in her arms for the first time. Miracle child. This child is the one Eve, way back in the garden of Eden, had hoped she held in her arms when in fact she held her son Cain. We place so much hope in our offspring, in our children. Maybe we place too much pressure on them at times. Maybe we want to live too much or correct too many of our mistakes through them. Mary, on the other hand, according to Luke 1:30; 48-50, shows us that it was God’s grace that chose her. He took a humble heart and transformed this woman into the mother who allowed Jesus to grow strong in trusting God for everything (Luke 2:40). She would have had aspirations for Jesus herself. This is evident at the Wedding of Cana (John 2), when Mary asked her son to save the family reputation by providing wine for the wedding. Jesus did the unexpected; He saved His mother’s reputation and showed that He had come to bless her and the world (John 10:10). He demonstrated His ability to take the water jars, used for Jewish purification rites, and make something new from them. Jesus can turn faith into a whole new chapter. Transformation happens for us when we follow Mary’s advice—she is reported to have instructed the others, “Do what He tells you” (John 2:5).

Recalibrate: What legacy are you creating or hoping to create through your life? 

Respond: Pray for the wisdom to learn from others. 

Research: Why did John tell us that the Wedding of Cana took place on the third day?

Live Wonder (ages 0–3)
Hold or hug your child. Share with them what it felt like when you held them for the very first time. Talk about how Mary must have felt when she held Jesus in her arms for the very first time. Pray with your child that God will continue to help them develop into a person of love and good character.

Live Adventure (ages 4–11)
What is one of your favorite family traditions around Christmastime? Find out if it’s an old tradition or a new one. Ask your parents what the word “heritage” means and spend some time talking about your family's heritage.

Live Purpose (ages 12–16) 
It’s important to know where you came from and where you’re going. On a piece of paper or on your phone, write down one key memory from every year you have been alive. How have those memories shaped you? Now, in once sentence, write down where you want to be in five years. Pray that God directs you every day and reminds you that his purpose for you is to grow in Jesus.

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