Summary: What makes your heart sing? God’s method of making music in us includes more than meets the eye. Learn the lessons Mary and Elizabeth teach us and join in the heavenly song.
It was a Saturday in mid December of 1977. Joey Cannon and I were having breakfast at the Pancake House in Memphis, TN. We used to meet on Saturday mornings at a prayer breakfast. As we enjoyed our blueberry pancakes with bacon and eggs we noticed something at the same time. The music was different. They were playing songs about Jesus coming to earth to be our Savior and King! Why on earth would they be doing that?
It all goes back to an event that occurred 2000 years ago, that is still impacting planet earth today. This is an event worth singing about!
Luke is the first musician in the New Testament. In Luke, everyone is singing when Jesus is born. Matthew focuses on Christ the King of the kingdom of heaven. Mark focuses on Jesus the teacher. John focuses on the divinity of Christ and the blessings of believing on him. But Luke, who is the Gentile writer of the Bible, shows us Jesus, the model of humanity. And Luke’s contribution to the gospel collection includes poetic prose that has been commonly received as songs, like the Psalms of Old.
The first song about Jesus’ birth in the New Testament was given to us by his mother, Mary. As we look at this section of scripture today, let’s let Luke set the stage for us and enter into this moment of music from a mother’s heart with our eyes and ears open to what God is calling us to see and hear. Remember, Mary is a very young woman with an enormous enterprise placed in her womb. Her very body became the temple of God’s Son. By the power of God she conceives and carries the creator of the universe within her. Her reaction to the news is fear, curiosity, faith, and submission. Then she takes a trip to visit Elizabeth, who also is pregnant by God’s power.
You know, this story is astounding. In so many ways we are challenged to believe what is beyond the scope of science and logic and natural laws. Were it not true, it would be a superb piece of fiction. But it is true! Truth is stranger than fiction sometimes. Listen to the text and read it with me… First, Mary meets a Messenger from the Almighty.
26 Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city in Galilee, called Nazareth,
27 to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the descendants of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary.
28 And coming in, he said to her, "Hail, favored one! The Lord is with you."
29 But she was greatly troubled at this statement, and kept pondering what kind of salutation this might be.
30 And 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 bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus.
32 "He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High; 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 His kingdom will have no end."
34 And Mary said to the angel, "How can this be, since I am a virgin?"
35 And the angel answered and said to her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy offspring shall be called the Son of God.
36 "And behold, even your relative Elizabeth has also conceived a son in her old age; and she who was called barren is now in her sixth month.
37 "For nothing will be impossible with God."
38 And Mary said, "Behold, the bondslave of the Lord; be it done to me according to your word." And the angel departed from her.
Notice how Mary moves from fear to faith, from curiosity to submission. She receives the message of Gabriel and believes it with courage. What a great example to all our youth! Mary must be less than 18 years old, but listen to her! What kind of heart does she reveal to us? Where is her agenda? Her life was not so cluttered with interests and distractions that she could not hear and accept the Word of God. Just imagine questions of today: What about my education, sports activities, social life, or career plans? What will I tell the cheerleading squad? How about my college plans? We live in a world where, “I did it My Way!” is valued very highly. News of this sort would be quite a challenge to face in any time. Yet, think about it. Mary has plans too. She’s engaged to be married. It is beyond inconvenient that she became pregnant before her marriage to Joseph. How’s she going to break the news to him? What will everyone else think? Who’s going to believe “the angel told me this would happen” story? By the way, not even Joseph believed her story. He was even ready to break up the betrothal. This was a bigger thing than an engagement. It required a bill of divorce to end it. God had to reveal the truth of Mary’s words to him. But Mary’s heart was steadfast. She believed and received this message and submitted to whatever repercussions it would bring. She said it well. I am the Lord’s bondslave. This word meant that she was completely under the authority of the Lord. She accepted this position and all that went with it.