Join me as I take a walk through the pages of Matthew, Mark, Luke, & John, (aka the “Gospels”) in a Chronological Order and try to grow closer to, and learn more about Jesus. Feel free to go back and read the INTRO ABOUT THIS SERIES to understand where all this came from for me.
Today I’m checking out a couple passages that have a lot of elements in common, Angels making visits, babies to be born, future impact these children will make, people who are found to be favored by God, and the list goes on. Join me as I check out Luke 1:5-38
The first section found in Vs. 5-25 is about the telling of the birth of John the Baptist (not the denomination, but the fact that he came to proclaim a message of repentance and to baptize people for forgiveness of sins). An angel, named Gabriel, comes to visit Zechariah, who was a priest and performing his duties in the temple. Gabriel tells Zechariah that he and his wife Elizabeth are going to have a child – she had been barren to this point and they had great desires for a child. Zechariah was overwhelmed by what he was hearing. The angle went on to tell him that they would name the baby John and that he would go on to do great things.
It is at this point that I sort of draw a lesson to learn from – you see early in the passage this is what is said of Zechariah & Elizabeth:
6Both of them were upright in the sight of God, observing all the Lord’s commandments and regulations blamelessly.
Yet even though they were so faithful, we still see a moment of Zechariah’s humanity and doubt – in vs. 18 he asks the angel how he can be sure that this will happen since both he and Elizabeth are old (actually he said “I am and old man and my wife is well along in years” ha ha – so even back in the day the men knew better than to call their wives old – he was very careful with his words – so this is a side lesson in all of this ha ha – DON’T CALL YOUR WIFE AN OLD WOMAN even when talking to an angel of the Lord!)
Then the angel responds – it is interesting there were consequences of Zechariah’s lack of belief, but the angel did not berate or belittle him, but he did help him learn a lesson. Zechariah became silent and would not be able to speak till the child was born. Then Zechariah came out of the temple and people knew something had gone on since Zechariah could not speak, but he got a tablet and wrote it all down.
We see this section closed out with Elizabeth rejoicing in the Lord and giving Him the credit for allowing her to become pregnant and bear a child, and removing her disgrace among the people. So a pretty cool lesson to see how God rewarded these faithful servants, even in their older age, and even when they tended to still doubt at times.
The second part of the section is much like the first in the fact that there was another visit from the angel Gabriel (lends me to wonder if these guys got “frequent flier” miles back then!) This time Gabriel goes to visit a virgin named Mary – very interesting to me is that the first story is about a married woman who is way advanced in years but has always been barren and thus VASTLY unlikely to be able to have a child. This time around it is a young girl who is a virgin and thus IMPOSSIBLE to have a child.
Again we see here that the angel tells of the favor this person has found in God’s eyes. God has chosen her to be a part of something UNBELIEVABLY HUGE – something that she would not even begin to be able to fathom. I find it interesting that she didn’t completely freak out and fall apart (or at least we don’t have any of that recorded) in fact let’s check out her response and what took place from that.
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.
I really like that she simply said – “hold up jack, I may be young, but I know how babies are made and I hate to tell ya but I am a virgin – so what’s the deal?” So once again – just like in the previous section – someone that is so highly favored by God, someone that is faithful, still isn’t sure of what they are being told and wants to know how it is going to happen. I consider this a lil less doubt than what Zechariah previously had, because Mary knew that what was being told to her was physically IMPOSSIBLE, so to some extent she had a right to wonder.
I like how Gabriel sort of brushed it aside and took a moment to explain what was going to happen, then gave some extra proof by saying that Elizabeth (who was Mary’s cousin) was pregnant even in her old age – and then reminded Mary that with God, nothing is impossible.
Then probably my FAVORITE part of this entire passage is the very end – it was like Mary was done with the concern and was now like “Okay – that makes sense – let’s roll with it” – her powerful words so simple yet completely at the heart of what God desires from us “I am the Lord’s servant, may it be to me as you have said” = “I’m your’s Lord, willing to do whatever you ask” – man what a humble & willing HEART!
So what do I learn from this:
1) Be faithful & obedient to God, and allow yourself to be found in God’s favor
2) Be ready for God to ask you to do incredible things – even if that means you then face a hint of doubt or uncertainty in the things He asks of you
3) Be ready to then DO & be a PART of what God is calling you to do EVEN when you aren’t totally certain
4) To say as Mary said “I am your SERVANT – do with me as you please”
Man this is some GREAT STUFF – wouldn’t you like to sing “Angels We Have Heard on High”