Thursday, 22 October 2015

Daily Reading: Luke 1v26-38

"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 favoured! 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 favour 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 for ever; 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 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."
There is a gritty realism to the events Luke records which we see in the details: it's the sixth month, Mary is pledged to be married not actually married.  She is greatly troubled, then later on she is shocked (v34) before we see her great faith in her acceptance of God's will(38).  This is a story about real people with real reactions and real events as miraculous as they are.

God is at work and Mary is the one through whom the Saviour will come, the Son of God putting on human form.  It is worth taking time to reflect on the wonder of the angels words.  "you have found favour with God..."  God is blessing Mary, she is favoured by God.  Mary is the favoured one through whom God the Son comes to show God's favour to the world.

What evidence is there that she might conceive, after all she is virgin.  The angels announce,went of another miraculous pregnancy is enough to convince Mary.  God's word doesn't fail, you can trust it.

Mary is humble and godly.  She is not perfect but she is God's servant.  She humbly accepts God's will and will play her part in God's plan even though it will not be easy for her.  Mary did not live in a time where single parenthood was accepted or thought normal.  There might well be more than eyebrows raised when the bump begins to grow, and what about Joseph, what would this mean for her betrothal and upcoming marriage to a righteous man?

Mary is not naive she knows that this will not be easy, she is no doubt aware of the looks she will receive and the hostility she may face.  And yet God's will be done, "May your word to me be fulfilled."

Mary is a great example to us of what real faith looks like, taking God at his word and living dependent on the promises of God.

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