We are in the season of Christmas. I would like to tell the story of the impending birth of Jesus from the perspective of His parents. Today, we begin with His mother, Mary.
You can read about the story in Luke 1:26-38.
The scene of this story – Nazareth is not mentioned in the Old Testament. The town is located in the hills. During biblical days, the town possessed about 15,000 to 20,000 souls. It’s name springs from the Greek form of the Hebrew word:
Netser: a “shoot” or a “sprout”
Nazareth was a despised place by the Jews. It was part of Galilee where many Gentiles lived among the Jews. Maybe it was the presence of the Gentiles that brought this contempt. Or as Jews from other areas reported the “rude, less cultivated” character of the people who lived there could have contributed to its negative reputation.
It was to this place that a being from the presence of God with a special message was dispatched. He appeared to a young woman named Miriam or Mary.
It is believed that Mary was a teenager at the time of Gabriel’s visitation. To this teen was given a message that would change the world and she was going to play a role in that plan.
The angel told Mary she was highly favored by God and blessed by Him. How may of you would love to hear that?
Then the angel told her that she would be the mother of the promised Messiah from the household of David – the Son of God whose name would be Jesus.
Mary was officially married to a descendant of David named Joseph. In traditional Jewish fashion, their marriage was official but the joining together as husband and wife had not yet occurred.
How would this word from God that Mary would be Jesus’ mother come to pass? Mary was not yet intimate with Joseph.
It would be a miraculous conception with the Holy Spirit as the agent of pregnancy.
Have you ever had God give you a word about your life whose fulfillment will require scandal?
Every fulfillment of God’s plan includes an element of scandal.
In other words, there will be people who will not understand. There will be some loss of esteem in the eyes of others to see the plan come to pass.
This will not go over well in Nazareth. Mary’s husband will not understand and she will probably go through a divorce. Her reputation will be up for scrutiny. Her story of God’s word and intervention will cause many to scoff at her.
The very extension of God’s grace toward Mary has created a pathway of scandal before her.
This is the moment many say “no thanks” to the word from God or this is the moment many argue with God for their own plan which includes nothing but praise from people.
“I am the Lord’s servant! Let it be to me according to your word.” Luke 1:38
Mary gave the Lord “fiat”.
fiat: a legally binding command or decision entered on the court record (as if issued by a court or judge)
Mary’s agreement with God was logged into the courts of heaven as binding with all the power and resources of the heavenly court supporting its origination and its existence.
Will you give the Lord similar sanction in your life? Are you prepared for the “scandal” God’s word will bring to your life? Is being used by God more important than your reputation? Will you say “yes” to God?