ANCHORED DAILY: Peace - Luke 1:26-38

posted by Bethel Communications | Dec 7, 2021


Transcript

Do you like surprises?  Things that pop up out of the blue, completely unexpected?  I discovered a few years ago that I don’t.  Sure, I enjoy flexibility, I love trying new things, but after my fabulous husband, Andy, surprised me at a moment’s notice that I’d be leaving my two small children going to an undisclosed location for a weekend away, we both discovered, that I decidedly did not like surprises.

My Anchored Daily friends, it’s so good to be here with you today as we explore Peace this Advent season leading up to the celebration of our Savior’s birth.  This is Sarah Landon, I’m one of the Richland campus Bible study leaders for women’s groups.  Today we’re sitting with a passage in Luke 1, verses 26-38.  If you haven’t read it yet, it’s just a few verses.  Go ahead and hit pause here and join us after you’ve read the text.

We find ourselves in a passage that might sound more like the contents of a fairy tale than a true account of real events.  It may also be a piece of scripture that you’ve heard so many times, it’s well worn in your mind.  Let’s try to look at it with fresh eyes today, placing ourselves in Mary’s position, not knowing the outcome of the story, just living in this moment.

I’m guessing Mary was a good Jewish girl.  Was raised to take care of her family, was on her way to step into that future, having been betrothed to a carpenter, but still living in her father’s house.  I’m not sure what she was up to when the angel Gabriel arrived, but I’m CERTAIN she wasn’t expecting an encounter with an angel when she woke up that morning.

“Greetings, favored one, the Lord is with you.”

Mary’s response was one of great agitation, being troubled and perplexed.  I think it’s kind of like being unexpectedly taken to the principal’s office.  Even if they say you’re there for something good, it’s still unsettling.

Gabriel continues, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”

There’s something unique about the way Gabriel expresses the conception that is a little different.  Mary could have thought, oh cool, after Joseph and I actually get married, our son will be a big deal for God.  Instead, she presses in a little.  “I’m not sure how that’s going to work, since I haven’t known a man.”  In the Biblical sense.

And it’s here that Gabriel explains how something that’s literally never been done in the history of the universe is going to take place through God’s power. “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God. And behold, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. For nothing will be impossible with God.”

In other words, God will envelop you and create His own son in your womb.  And just as a confirmation, your old cousin Elizabeth, who couldn’t have kids, she’s having a son.  Nothing is impossible with God.  Nothing.

I imagine after a statement like that, there was a very, ahem, pregnant pause as it all sunk in.  Mary finds the words to respond, “I am the Lord’s servant.  May it be done to me according to your word.”  

No part of that interaction is what I would characterize as peaceful.  Shocking, awe-inspiring, surprising, humbling, perplexing.  Those are all words I might use.  In this moment, Mary’s world, and honestly the world as they know it, was turned upside down.  All for the sake of a final outcome of peace.  The situation itself was all but peaceful.  It was intense.  And the connection between God’s plan and the unfolding of that plan are the words, “I am the Lord’s servant.  May it be done to me according to your word.”  Mary believed.  I don’t know if she believed with her heart and her mind.  But what I do know is she believed with her obedience.  

Today’s world desperately needs the peace that only Jesus can give.  Our hearts and lives need the peace that only Jesus can give.  Maybe his call on your life right now feels surprising, perplexing, or unexpected.  Will you respond, despite those feelings, so that God can do the impossible that he’s calling you to today?  Will you, like Mary, believe and step out in obedience to bring the peace that only Jesus gives?

Let’s pray: You are the Most High, the God of the impossible, and we are humbled to come into the work that you began centuries ago.  Lord, forgive us our unbelief, our distraction, and help us to obey, despite how it feels right now.  Thank you for sending your Son, so that we may experience peace with you and share that life-giving peace with the world.

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