Summary: The establishment of God's will takes both the Spirit's power and our faithful obedience
Luke 1:26-38 “Partnership”
Most of us are content simply being a part of the crowd; we don’t want to be singled out. When a teacher asks his or her class a question, immediately all eyes are cast down and everyone hopes that they will not be the one on whom the teacher calls. We don’t want our driving to stand out to the Highway Patrol when we are cruising down I-10, and we certainly don’t want our tax return to stand out to the IRS and be audited.
Our desire to remain anonymous carries over to our relationship with God. We are content simply being counted as one of God’s people. That was certainly the case with the young girl Mary.
Mary was a twelve or thirteen year old girl living in the backwater town of Nazareth. We imagine that she was content with her life. She probably couldn’t imagine ever leaving Nazareth and her family. Her dreams probably consisted of marrying a good man and raising a family.
Suddenly everything changed for Mary. An angel of the Lord appeared to her, greeted her, and addressed her as “O Favored One.” Mary was no longer just part of the crowd. Luke records that Mary was “perplexed.” She didn’t know what to make of being designated as God’s favored one.
A man who came from a large family once told me that he always felt his mother and he had a special relationship. Whenever they were together, his mother would lean over and whisper, “You’re my favorite. I love you the most.” It was only after his mother’s death, when he and his siblings got together that he learned that his mother has said the same thing to every one of her children. Being God’s favored one is different than being the apple of one’s father or mother’s eye.
Being favored by God is being called for a specific mission or ministry. It is God saying to us, “You’re the one to whom I gave the specific talents and abilities to carry out the mission that now needs to be accomplished. Abraham the father of Israelites was favored, as was Moses and David. The disciples were favored by Jesus. These lights of faith were followed by countless millions, in the centuries that followed, who were favored and called to ministry.
NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE
Mary learns from the angel that she is to be the mother of God. She will bear a son and she will name him Jesus. There was just one small obstacle—she was a virgin. She pointed this out to the angel, but he was undeterred. “Nothing is impossible for God,” he assured her.
It seems that God’s favored people are often called to accomplish the impossible. (If it were humanly possible God wouldn’t get the credit.) Moses was called to lead an unruly mass of people from Egypt to the Promised Land. David was called to unify twelve bickering tribes into one nation. Daniel was called to be a witness to the rulers of the Babylonian empire.
God has gathered us together to begin a new congregation in Surprise in order to impact the people around us with the gospel of Jesus Christ. It may not be impossible, but it is difficult. Now, God has called us build a worship/community center—something that has never been done before to the degree that we are doing it. I have no doubt that we will continue to be favored in God’s sight and called to do the impossible in the years ahead.
We can’t do it, but God can.
SERVANT OF GOD
At the end of her experience with the angel, May puts away her objections, humbles herself, and affirms that she is God’s servant and she will be a part of establishing God’s kingdom.
Mary doesn’t appear to look at the cost of her saying, “Yes.” As an unmarried, pregnant woman, she will bear the scorn of her family, friends and towns people. She will be marginalized from society. She will stand at the foot of the cross and watch her son die.
Mary focuses on two truths: She is favored by God, and nothing is impossible for God. Embracing these two facts Mary knows that she will succeed in what God has called her to do.
The story of Mary is replayed in our lives. God has come to us and has told us that we are his favored people. Hear what God is saying to us today as we prepare for his coming.
P: "Greetings, favored ones. The Lord is with you and intends to do great things through you.
C: "How can this be? We are ordinary, everyday people."
P: "Yet you have found favor through God, and the Holy Spirit will come upon you, guide you, and work through you to care for this world and people God loves so much. For nothing is impossible with God.
C: "Here am I, a servant of the Lord. Let it be with me according to your word."