Saturday, December 28, 2013

The Unwanted Gift

The Young Maiden
Read: Luke 1:26 – 38
“Don’t be afraid, Mary,” the angel told her, “for you have found favor with God!” You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus.”  (Luke 1:30-31 NLT)
            The first promise of a redeemer took place when God passed judgment on
the serpent (Satan) in Genesis 3:15.  God said to the serpent,
“Because you’ve done this, you’re cursed, cursed beyond all cattle and wild animals, cursed to slink on your belly and eat dirt all your life.  I’m declaring war between you and the woman, between your offspring and hers.  He’ll wound your head, you’ll wound his heel.”  (The Message)
The fall of man caused a separation between God and man.  Isaiah says, “It’s your sins that have cut you off from God.  Because of your sins, he has turned away and will not listen anymore.”  (Isa. 59:2 NLT)  The only way to repair the damage done by the disobedience of Adam and Eve was for God himself to come down from heaven in the person of his Son, Jesus Christ and offer himself as a blood sacrifice for the sins of mankind. 
To fulfill the plan of redemption, God sent the angel Gabriel to the town of Nazareth in search of a young maiden by the name of Mary. 
The first question that comes to mind is:  Why Nazareth?   Nazareth was located between the Mediterranean Sea and the Sea of Galilee.  It was not known as having any Jewish spiritual significance.  If the Messiah was to be from the tribe of Judah and lineage of David, why not have him born in Judea?  Why would God bypass Jerusalem, the place of the Temple, ignoring the seat of worship?  Nazareth was not on any major highway and was so unpopular that Nathaniel said in his response to Philip, “can anything good come out of Nazareth.”  (John 1:46)
By bypassing royalty, splendor, religiosity, and choosing a common, run-of-the mill town, God was showing that Jesus came for the ordinary – common people. 
The second question is: Why Mary?  Mary was already betrothed to Joseph, a local carpenter.  She was not a person of position, wealth, or culture.  The situation was further complicated by the fact that she was a virgin. 
Luke 1:26-27 says, “Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the descendants of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary.”  (NASB)
A betrothal was not something to be taken lightly.  Most Jewish girls were married by the time they were 15.  Mary was likely 14 or 15 when the angel Gabriel appeared to her.  Can you imagine God placing his divine son in the hands of an inexperienced mother? 
Think of the humiliation and shame if Joseph chose to publicly divorce the young maiden.  It was vital that the marriage be consummated in order to legitimize the child’s birth and inheritance. 
Mary’s response to Gabriel revealed her faith, humility, character, and courage.  Her youth and inexperience did not get in the way of God’s plan.  I’m sure Mary must have wondered – how can I become pregnant not knowing a man!  In order to ease Mary’s doubts and fears the angel said to her, “Nothing shall be impossible with God.”  (Luke 1:37)

This is a statement that calls for faith in action.  How many times have you faced obstacles that seemed impossible to overcome, but through faith and perseverance victory came?  God’s timing is always perfect – we need patience to wait for it.  

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