Christmas Joy: Week One "She Believed"

Mary Believed that She Could Trust in God, So She Did! 

Focus Verses

Luke 1:26-38 (NKJV) 

Christ’s Birth Announced to Mary

26 Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, 27 to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 And having come in, the angel said to her, “Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!” 
29 But when she saw Him, she was troubled at his saying, and considered what manner of greeting this was. 30 Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus.32 He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. 33 And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.” 
34 Then Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I do not know a man?” 
35 And the angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God. 36 Now indeed, Elizabeth your relative has also conceived a son in her old age; and this is now the sixth month for her who was called barren. 37 For with God nothing will be impossible.” 
38 Then Mary said, “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her. 

Thoughts from Leslie
Let’s read these verses and try to place ourselves back in the life and times of Mary. To do this should attempt to understand and reflect upon Jewish life during this time in history.  It is important for us to remember that Mary and Joseph, Jesus’ earthly parents, were both Jewish.  Their Jewish beliefs and family customs are important factors to consider when we read these verses.  Besides the many customs, we should also consider the many Jewish laws and punishments of this time. Understanding both the beliefs and laws of this time will help us appreciate the HUGE amount of faith required by Mary! 
Jewish girls at this time were brought up learning about Jewish laws and customs.  Mary would no doubt have been raised in the same way. She would have much knowledge about the history of her people. She would know how God had rescued His children from bad situations in the past. She would have been taught that God LOVES her and the Jewish people very much.  Her and her family would participate in various Hebrew festivals throughout the year as a way to remember God’s Love, protection and provision. Remembering how God had rescued His children in the past would give her and her people hope for their future. She would be waiting in faith for her God to deliver her people from the harsh Roman rule they were under at the present time. 
Mary would also have been raised knowing the various laws of her day. She would have seen what happens to people who choose to disobey these laws.  Because she was being raised by strong Jewish parents she would be held to a very high standard not only in her community but in her family’s household as well.  She would have no doubt witnessed what happens to young girls like herself who are found to be with child without first being married.  Mary would have seen many of these girls commonly stoned to death or even sent away as slaves.  Being chosen to be the holy “virgin” mother to Jesus was a GREAT honor.  It was an honor that carried with it GREAT RISK! Mary must BELIEVE that She could TOTALLY trust in her Heavenly Father to protect her through her pregnancy, AND HE DID! 
When Mary was visited by the angel Gabriel, getting messages from God Himself  was very special and definitely out of the ordinary.  People were not visited by angels on a regular basis.  In fact, up until about six months before Mary’s heavenly visit, the Jewish people had not had ANY sign or word from God in over 400 years.  God had been totally silent for four centuries. Earlier in the book of Luke God sends a wonderful message to Mary’s relative, Zechariah. Zechariah and his wife Elizabeth were going to have a baby. Their baby was to be named John.  They were told that their future son, John, would prepare the way for the coming Messiah. Then, according to Luke 1:26, six months
after the visit to Zechariah the angel Gabriel was sent to deliver an even greater message to Mary.  Gabriel was sent by God to tell Mary THE GREATEST NEWS OF ALL: the time had come that God was to send a Messiah to rescue her and her people. On top of that SHE had been chosen by God Himself to be the mother to their Messiah. 
This was no doubt going to be the GREATEST possible news for all Jewish people, but receiving this news required GREAT faith on Mary’s part. Mary could have been stoned to death or sold into slavery the minute that someone discovered her pregnancy.  She had been chosen by God Himself to be a HOLY “vessel”, but agreeing to be this “vessel” could have easily cost her her own life. It took GREAT faith for her to see God’s plan and protection upon her. 
Everything was going to work out just as God had intended that it would.  Mary would not be harmed in any way. Joseph would still marry her and together he and Mary would raise God’s one and only begotten son. 
Mary BELIEVED that she could TOTALLY trust in God and HIS protection, and so SHE DID!!! 

Connection to Us
Mary BELIEVED in God’s Words and LOVE for her. 

Because of this, she would forever be a key part in the most AMAZING STORY EVER TOLD. 

This is extraordinary faith for such a young girl to possess! 

Because of her trust and faithfulness, God blessed Mary and allowed her to be a part of His master plan. 

God is still interested in “partnering” with people.  He wants us to be His hands and feet throughout the world today. 

Let’s not miss out on our God-inspired opportunities. 

Let’s be willing and available to also be used as HOLY VESSELS for GOD’S GLORY. 

Let’s pray to have a “Mary” type of faith from this day forward!