God’s plan coming to fulfillment
Blessed Father, as we marvel at your great plan for our salvation, give us Your vision to be light in the darkness of this world.
Read Luke 1:26-38
26 In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, 27 to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”
29 Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 30 But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”
34 “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”
35 The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called[a] the Son of God. 36 Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. 37 For no word from God will ever fail.”
38 “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her.
MeditationWhen it’s very dark, one small candle sheds a lot of light! If you feel inadequate being light in your world, let this thought encourage you to shine this season.
God sent the angel Gabriel to Mary in the town in Nazareth. Gabriel was not unfamiliar; described as the guardian angel of Israel; he appeared in ancient Hebrew writings and in the Old Testament when he gave insight to the prophet Daniel concerning his visions. We know Gabriel as a messenger – an awe-striking messenger. He terrified Daniel, caused Zechariah to be gripped with fear, and greatly troubled Mary.
Nazareth, before its recording here, was not mentioned in the Old or New Testament – or in rabbinical writings or works of the historian Josephus. It was an insignificant village, miles away from the Sea of Galilee, with no major roads, and with water supplied by a single underground spring. Consisting of a population of about 500, the conservative town that clung to traditional Jewish culture was held in contempt by some in first century Palestine.
The angel Gabriel came to a virgin pledged to be married to Joseph. Her name was Mary. It is not incidental that Mary’s name was the third thing listed in her introduction in scripture. First, she was a virgin, a fact indisputably necessary for the mother of the Messiah. Second, she and Joseph had a formal prenuptial contract, a 12-month agreement that could only be broken by a divorce decree. Gabriel’s news would definitely challenge the man. Mary’s future depended on how Joseph responded.
Third, her name was Mary. While she had been simply a young girl in an unremarkable town, Gabriel told her that she was highly favored, that the Lord was with her, and that she had found favor with God. While scripture confirms her priestly lineage stemmed from Abraham, another requirement for the mother of the Messiah, she nevertheless fell short of the glory of God and needed a redeemer. Like so many parts of His story, Mary was the perfect unlikely choice for God’s remarkable plan.
When we look at Mary, there is a great deal to challenge and inspire us in our own walks of faith. Found in a humble village by Gabriel, the farthest distance she would ever travel was from Palestine to Egypt. Yet, her part in God’s plan was important and her story is known throughout the world. Although she questioned the angel, as a child of faith, she humbly submitted to and trusted in God’s plan for her. It is well worth considering Mary, the only person present both at the birth and also the death of Jesus; she witnessed His first and final breath. She courageously endured hardship and grief, faithful to her son and Savior. May we, like Mary, live humbly, step out boldly, and be faithful. May we have God’s vision for our own walks of faith to be part of His great plan and be used to bring the Light of the World into the darkness of those who need him – wherever they are.
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