Summary: A look at Mary's faith, belief and strength.
December 24, 2017
Sometimes it’s not easy to have faith. Have you ever been there? You wonder where God is in the midst of your pain. It can be a job loss, a death, a relationship ends, a bad grade on a final exam, sickness . . . we could go on and on with reasons to struggle with faith. We all go through this to one extent or another.
Yet, one of the great aspects which I think we often miss at Christmas time is the fact that God cares about the world. In fact, more than caring, God loves you and I. That’s the only reason He sent His Son into the world. It’s all because of love. Jesus came into the world to save us from our sinfulness and to have a relationship with us.
We are just a few hours away until Jesus arrives. Our time of preparing, our time of being expectant is upon us. We wait for Him, not so that we can open presents, that’s a side benefit, but we wait for Jesus to arrive so we can experience His presence. He can bless us with salvation, with the gift of the Holy Spirit, with a renewed sense of purpose and passion.
There are so many people, Christians, in fact, who need the power of Jesus in their lives. We need Him to help us heal those fractured relationships. We need His help to break down those walls we’ve built. We need Him to bring us peace in the midst of our fear and anxiety. We need Jesus to restore our hearts, to give us hope, to give us strength and courage to face whatever comes our way.
Christmas reminds us that the God we serve is the God who does these very things. An angel of the Lord appeared before Joseph and said ~
20 “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.
21 She will bear a son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”
22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet:
23 “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel” (which means, God with us). – Matthew 1:20-22
God with us. That's who Jesus is. He is not some distant, foreign god. He has promised us over and over again - - to be with us, never to abandon us. So, you are not alone this Christmas. Christmas means we are never alone. No matter how things may appear in your life, you are not alone.
This morning I want to look at some of the story of Mary, as she exemplifies what it means to live a life of faith.
Mary was that young girl, a teenager, maybe 16, engaged to be married to a man named Joseph, when an angel of the Lord appeared appeared to her and said ~
28 “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!”
The Bible tells us that Mary was troubled at his words, and wondered what they meant. The angel continued and told her ~
31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call His name Jesus.
32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High.
34 And Mary said to the angel, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?”
35 And the angel answered her, “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.
36 And behold, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is the 6th month with her who was called barren.
37 For nothing will be impossible with God.” – Luke 1:31-37
How overwhelming is that to hear? Yet, in a few moments Mary would make an amazing statement back to the angel ~
38 “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” – Luke 1:38
Elizabeth was Mary's cousin, and the child she was expecting was John the Baptist – – the same John the Baptist we looked at the past 2 weeks. At this point, all Mary knew was that her older and childless cousin — was now having an experience similar to hers. Let’s look at what happened next ~
39 Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a town in Judah,
40 and she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth.