Read Luke 1:26-38
“Do you think we’ll see Messiah in our life, Abba?” The voice came from Mary’s little brother, but the words came from her heart.
“It could happen, Sol. There are rumors of an angel sighting in Jerusalem, but it’s been more than four centuries since Yahweh has spoken to us, His people. The last time I was in Jerusalem I over-heard Ole Simeon tell some men he wouldn’t die before he saw the Lord’s anointed. As old as he is I would say it should happen any day now.” The father gave a boisterous laugh.
The voices and laughter from outside caught Sol’s attention. “May I go play now, Abba?”
“Yes, my son. Today’s lesson is complete. You may go.” He patted the boy on the head before Sol ran out.
Mary stared at her father, so he asked. “What is it, Mary? I know you have something on your heart. You always do.”
“Do you think Messiah will see us? Will He talk to us?”
“Oh, Mary, you have so much to learn. Messiah will be very busy defeating the Romans, then setting up His kingdom. The bulk of His time will be spent in Jerusalem. I very much doubt He’ll have any business in Nazareth.”
Mary stared out the window. “I think Messiah will be a much better king if He loves His people enough to want to know them; and want them to know Him.”
“That sounds so like my Mary, always the dreamer. Don’t you have some place to be today?”
She looked at her father. “Yes, Jacobed promised me one of her fine blankets if I clean her house while she’s gone to buy more wool. I should be going.”
Mary gathered a few things before she left.
After Mary finished cleaning the kitchen she paused for a drink. She sat and envisioned the Messiah. She could see His strong hands picking children up to share a moment with them. Perhaps she would get a hug across her shoulders. She quickly realized the man in her mind was none other than her Joseph. Oh, the future that would soon be theirs.
She sent up a prayer. “Could You speed up the time, please?”
The sudden shadow on her made her jerk. She kept looking up until she found the eyes of the one who would give her the news that would change the course of history.
Her mind was racing. I’m a poor girl who grew up in a one room house. I know it takes the act of a man to begin a pregnancy. “How can this be?”
“The Spirit of God will overshadow you…”
I’ve heard of the Spirit filling others in the past. I never imagined it could happen to me.
Her mouth spoke her heart. “Let it be done to me as you have said.”
When Gabriel left she knew she had to quickly finish her task and make plans to visit Elizabeth as soon as possible.
Mary, too much is made of her by some, not enough by others; this simple peasant girl from the out-of-the-way town of Nazareth; the person chosen by God to be the one whose egg would begin the incarnation of the Savior of the world. That egg would be the human side of this unique God-man.
This was the second time in half a year that Gabriel was sent to announce an unexpected birth. Both recipients of the news had a question for the angel. Both questions began with the same word: “How…?” After that the questions headed in opposite directions.
Zacharias came into the encounter with a lifetime of disillusions and despair. He looked for some assurance he wasn’t being the butt of some celestial prank.
The angel gave him a sign, alright. I think Gabriel must have thought: Just shut up and do as I say. You want a sign? I have your sign. “You shall not speak until the child is born.”
I’m pretty sure that wasn’t the sign Zac was looking for.
Mary’s question came from the hope-filled, unscarred dreams of a teenager. She’d seen her parents have intercourse in the dark across the one room house they lived in. Her question was of a totally practical nature. She hadn’t been with a man in that way. She wasn’t reprimanded for her honest question.
Zacharias had to merely believe the miraculous. Mary had to believe the impossible.
Gabriel quickly assured her that the word ‘impossible’ is not in God’s vocabulary.
Chosen by God to carry out a special purpose, Mary must have been blessed with only good things after that. Right? Not by a long shot!
The journey to Elizabeth’s would take several days and separate her from her family, the trip back would be just as difficult. She probably didn’t tell Joseph about the angelic news until after she returned home. Then she risked being stoned to death. Even after Joseph did take her as his wife she spent the remainder of her days ostracized by the community because of the questionable circumstances surrounding this pregnancy.
We can only imagine the thoughts that went through this young couple’s minds as the first breaths the Savior of the world took were mingled with the acrid odor of animal urine and feces.
Their only brush with wealth came when the wisemen left them some gifts, but they had to quickly use those to fund a hasty trip to Egypt to avoid the prophetic cataclysm that awaited the children of Bethlehem.
If the Christian life was a promise of prosperity the bandwagon would be overflowing. Reading the book of 1 Peter shows the opposite to be the reality. We should expect the same suffering as our Savior. Reading the gospels will show you how much He suffered.
So, who would want to be on that team? Only the chosen are tough enough for that assignment. He’ll give the necessary strength to endure.
I hope you’re included among us.
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