Read: Luke 1:26-38
Another visitation to fulfill the prophesy of old, the One who would come into the world and redeem its people. I’m in awe of this young woman as I read through this passage over and over again. It seems the best I could hope for is one percent of the faith of Mary. Perfect timing for the beginning of a new year. May God bless you with these words from Luke this morning.
The Angel Gabriel has another message for the world, again in private, this time to a young woman who will become known as the Blessed Virgin Mary:
The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.” Luke 1:28
Luke makes note that this is in Elizabeth’s sixth month of pregnancy, one month after her seclusion. Perhaps the high-risk pregnancy has reached the point that Elizabeth is able to let people see that she is with child. Now, to this extended family, Mary is singled out as one who is worthy of carrying the Christ child to birth.
Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. Luke 1:29
Greatly troubled indeed! The appearance of an angel has to be frightening for anyone. Gabriel assures Mary that she has found favor with God, that his visit is not to be construed as anything other than something good. Ok, calm down heart, I’m not about to be erased.
Then Gabriel tells Mary something no one would have expected or even considered as a possibility. She will conceive a son, the Son, and His kingdom will have no end.
This is the moment we’ve all been waiting for, but there’s a problem: Mary is a virgin. It’s impossible for her to have a child at this time–she’s not even married yet. In my mind I see the interaction between Mary and Gabriel as one of quiet words, of off-glances, afraid to make eye contact, then staring intently trying to accept the words.
Mary hears the words clearly. I’m guessing there was a moment of silence as she listened again before she asked:
“How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?” Luke 1:34
This is a significant question. Look carefully, she doesn’t doubt Gabriel’s words one bit, she’s just looking for clarification. Zechariah’s question of Gabriel was one filled with anxiety, “How can I be sure of this” (Luke 1:18). He wanted a sign to point to as evidence. Mary simply seeks to understand, she gets that this thing is about to happen.
Gabriel explains the process and reveals to Mary that Elizabeth is already in month six of a pregnancy that few knew about (my guess).
Then he says this remarkable thing:
For no word from God will ever fail. Luke 1:37
Slow down this morning and let that sink in: no word from God will ever fail. Here we have a visit from the very throne room of God, providing a word for a private audience of one young woman who is the delight of the Father. Rest assured, what He has spoken will happen.
Mary’s response overwhelms me to consider:
“I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her. Luke 1:38
She humbly accepts the word spoken over her. No doubt. No sign required. No safety net requested. Complete faith. Amazing.
Last night, our worship pastor challenged us to step out in faith this year. She offered a personal story that changed her course dramatically, a point in time when it was clear that God required her to alter her plans in favor for God’s better direction. Since that time I think it’s fair to say that she now listens most carefully to what God is saying, to His word.
I suspect there are seminal moments in each of our lives that can do the same if we were to pause and consider Mary’s response: May your word to me be fulfilled.
William Wallace is credited with the quote:
Every man dies, but not every man really lives.
Those of us who have received the Holy Spirit by faith, not because we earned anything, listen to that voice that’s whispering inside your heart right now. Go and live out your faith. Shine bright so the world can see. Be the Lord’s servant as Mary so boldly declared.
Receive these words from Paul as he wrote to the young believers in Galatia:
I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. Galatians 2:20