Read Luke 1:26-38 and 2:1-7
26In the sixth month, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, 27to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin's name was Mary. 28The angel went to her and said, "Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you."
29Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 30But the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. 31You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. 32He 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, 33and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end."
34"How will this be," Mary asked the angel, "since I am a virgin?" 35The angel answered, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. 36Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be barren is in her sixth month. 37For nothing is impossible with God."
38"I am the Lord's servant," Mary answered. "May it be to me as you have said." Then the angel left her.
2:1In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. 2(This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 3And everyone went to his own town to register.
4So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 5He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. (NIV)
Mary is the third character we will look at. The question is often asked, “what can we learn from Mary in this passage?”
We begin with looking at what God was asking Mary to endure. He was asking her to be seen as an unwed mother which in her times, could be grounds for being stoned to death. At the very least, there would be the whispers behind the back. The town Mary was from, Nazareth, was a very small town. So every knew everyone’s business.
But we see that Mary was not fazed by this. Her only question was about how this would physically happen. She did not question it happening. So in Mary, we see great faith. A faith that will cause her to worry more about obedience to God than what others might think of her.
And so, we see three things that made Mary’s faith great. We see first that she heard God’s promise to her. There are many voices calling us in many directions these days. Mary heard God’s voice and listened. We need to hear God’s voice too. And while it will typically not involve an angel, God’s voice is clear if we will listen to it. God sends his promises in many different ways besides Scripture. We need to learn to listen to it.
But we also see that Mary did not just hear, she obeyed. She told the angel without hesitation, Here I am. We need to be ready to be used by the Lord and ready to follow his calling. We never know when he will tell us to do this or do that. But we need to be ready.
And we see that Mary’s faith was great because she believed and trusted God. It is interesting that the Greek word for faith is “pistis” which is literally translated “Believing obedience.” That is what true trust looks like.
Have you heard God’s call for your life? Have you ever hesitated to respond to a nudging to help or to go because it was inconvenient? This was the temptation that Mary faced. Have you ever trusted and gone and been surprised at the blessing that came from going and doing? I know I have so many times dreaded doing something only to find it was something I did not want to have missed.
Blessings and Peace