Summary: 3rd in series of 4. God called Mary and Joseph to serve him… And Mary and Joseph began a journey of faith that began in a valley of fear.
God called Mary and Joseph to serve him… And Mary and Joseph began a journey of faith that began in a valley of fear.
Their fears were not the normal fears of a young couple about to have their first child. No, they had fears that are beyond the scope of our comprehension. Mary was to give birth to God and Joseph was to accept and raise the baby as he would his own son.
No wonder the first words out of the mouth of the angel messengers to both Mary and Joseph were “Don’t be afraid”. They needed to hear these words desperately! They were both filled with fear. There was the fear that comes from seeing an angel. There was the fear that comes from the message itself and there was the fear of rejection and ridicule from others when they heard the message and saw the results.
Think about it… You are supposed to tell people that you are having a child by the hand of the almighty God? That’s a hard sell! Mary and Joseph had to be a little worried about getting locked up somewhere as nuts.
But both Mary and Joseph came to a place of faith
In fact, they became people of great faith. That faith was so much more than simple belief. Theirs was a faith that trusted God in spite of fear. Faith is not seen in words describing what we think about God, his nature, and His character.
Their Faith is seen in their response to his call to obey... God helped them gain that faith. Let’s see how this morning…
It began with a message from God recorded for us by Luke in chapter 1:26-33
Luke 1:26-33 (NCV)
26 During Elizabeth’s sixth month of pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, 27 to a virgin. She was engaged to marry a man named Joseph from the family of David. Her name was Mary. 28 The angel came to her and said, “Greetings! The Lord has blessed you and is with you.”
29 But Mary was very startled by what the angel said and wondered what this greeting might mean.
30 The angel said to her, “Don’t be afraid, Mary; God has shown you his grace. 31 Listen! You will become pregnant and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of King David, his ancestor. 33 He will rule over the people of Jacob forever, and his kingdom will never end.”
The first part of the message was: You are called to serve my will.
Just as the President calls up the military reserves there are times that God calls up his troops for action. God called Mary’s name and said I need you to do my will.
There are many reasons to NOT choose this young woman. What did she know about life? What did she know about God? What experience and wisdom could she possibly bring to the table???
Yet we have seen this many times in the Bible. God called Moses to lead his people in spite of his being a poor communicator. David was called out of the fields – a young man of some 16 years – to fight Goliath. And now a young girl named Mary with no background, training, skill or experience.
The only thing she had was God.
That was the second part of the message: “Don’t be afraid, Mary, God has shown you his grace”
Mary was not exceptional because she was more Godly than others. Mary was exceptional because God was in her. It was not something that she did – it was something that God did in her. God chose her and then said “Don’t be afraid because I’m here in you. I have given you - me!”
Her response is seen in her song – it’s recorded in Luke 1:46-49
Luke 1:46-55 (NCV)
Then Mary said, “My soul praises the Lord; my heart rejoices in God my Savior, because he has shown his concern for his humble servant girl. From now on, all people will say that I am blessed, because the Powerful One has done great things for me. Now let’s look at Joseph.
It began the same way – a message from God recorded for us in Matthew 1:18-25 (NCV)
The Birth of Jesus Christ
18 This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about. His mother Mary was engaged b to marry Joseph, but before they married, she learned she was pregnant by the power of the Holy Spirit. 19 Because Mary’s husband, Joseph, was a good man, he did not want to disgrace her in public, so he planned to divorce her secretly.