The Final Countdown Begins
Living God, we marvel that in your plans you invite us, like Mary to play an active role. Enable us to make such a gracious response. Amen
Read Luke 1:26-38
26One month later God sent the angel Gabriel to the town of Nazareth in Galilee 27 with a message for a virgin named Mary. She was engaged to Joseph from the family of King David. 28The angel greeted Mary and said, “You are truly blessed! The Lord is with you.”
29Mary was confused by the angel’s words and wondered what they meant. 30Then the angel told Mary, “Don’t be afraid! God is pleased with you, 31 and you will have a son. His name will be Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of God Most High. The Lord God will make him king, as his ancestor David was. 33He will rule the people of Israel forever, and his kingdom will never end.”
34Mary asked the angel, “How can this happen? I am not even married!”
35The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come down to you, and God’s power will come over you. So your child will be called the holy Son of God. 36Your relative Elizabeth is also going to have a son, even though she is old. No one thought she could ever have a baby, but in three months she will have a son. 37 Nothing is impossible for God!”
38Mary said, “I am the Lord’s servant! Let it happen as you have said.” And the angel left her.
New International Version (NIV)
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MeditationHow does Mary respond?
How appropriate that the most intimate details regarding conception and birth are given by Mary to Dr. Luke. How shattering the news of a pregnancy outside marriage and through another agency must have been, and was, to both Mary and later Joseph. We can now tick three boxes- a seed of Adam; of the tribe of Judah and of the line of David. The location is wrong, but God can and did sort that out easily enough.
The sight of the angel as Mary worked around the home must have been overwhelming, No wonder she was greatly troubled. Even the words of the angel provided little comfort. (1) The history of her people suggested that being noticed and picked out by the Almighty was never the easy option! Ask Abraham, Moses, Joshua, Gideon, David, Esther and so many more.
“Where’s the catch”, may not be the appropriate or devout response, but you can sense she is waiting for what lies ahead, and well she might! God’s “favor” means an unplanned pregnancy, no choice in the name and a future that pushed her way beyond her comfort zone of anything she could ever have imagined.
Struggling to take it in, she enquires as to the mechanics of how this will happen. The answer is given, and while she understands the words, the total picture is beyond her. What is remarkable is her poise and clarity in what was an unprecedented encounter. Having asked the key question and received the answer, she submits to the mystery of God’s providence, trusting in his goodness and grace.
Her simple uncomplicated submission remains a pattern that all Christians could well emulate when facing situations beyond their understanding. She has trusted God throughout her life and now, when that trust is put under a severe test, she rises to the challenge and responds magnificently.
God in his mercy gives one token of hope. The angel shares news of Elizabeth’s unexpected pregnancy in her old age. By so doing he is offering a place Mary can go to and a person to turn to, in order to try to come to terms with this extraordinary turn of events. The three months with Elizabeth gave her time to get ready for all that lay ahead.
The clock is now ticking and final countdown has begun. There still remains the question of Joseph and his reaction and no doubt that of the whole village. Not much joy for Mary yet. However, she, like every generation, had lived with the expectation that one day the Messiah would come. She no doubt had hoped she would live to see that day. She had not imagined, however that she would be so directly involved!
- Luke 1:28
Thank you, God, that we can live in expectant hope of your coming again.