Today’s Scrip-Bit 21 December 2016 Luke 1:31.

Luke 1:31.   And behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS.

Well, a good Wednesday morning, four days before Christmas, my fellow believers in our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ! (smile) 

Let’s hope that this message reaches you all in good health and joyful spirit as we plan the celebrations for this Christmas season, where we remember and give thanks for the birth of Christ. 

And all God’s people declared a loud, proud and grateful, ‘Praise the Lord!’ 

Yes friends, that day of Christ’s birth will soon be upon us, and we all know that Jesus is the star of the show, but today I want to talk about one of the lesser, but still very important role players in the story, Christ’s mother, Mary. 

Now over the last few years, after getting more familiar with her part, I’ve come to believe that she doesn’t get the recognition she truly deserves. Remember it all begins with her. 

‘And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, To a virgin espoused (betrothed, engaged) to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary.’ (Luke 1:26-27) 

Yuh see friends, right there Mary’s importance in the proceedings is established. An angel of God, come to earth to talk to this young, engaged Jewish girl in a backwater town of Nazareth. 

Before we go further though, let’s check out a couple of the scholars’ explanations. ‘1:26. This was the sixth month of Elisabeth’s pregnancy.’ Elisabeth was Mary’s cousin, at first barren, but then pregnant with John the Baptist. 

‘1:27. Espousal (similar to our engagement period) was, under Jewish law, as binding as marriage. It lasted about a year, during which time the woman’s purity was maintained.’ So we see right there, Mary was already under heavy manners, because of her betrothal. 

‘And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail (Rejoice), thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind (considered) what manner of salutation (greeting) this should be.’ (Luke 1:28-29) 

Ah friends, can you imagine being a teenaged girl, engaged to be married in a strict Jewish community, sitting quietly in your parents house and this angel comes up to you and begins to exalt you. Obviously you’d be somewhat anxious and wonder what it was all about. 

‘And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. And behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS.’ (Luke 1:30-31) 

Ah Lord eh! Can you imagine Mary’s consternation? She’s already been betrothed, and the rules are so strict, now this angel is coming to tell her that she will get pregnant and bring forth a son, who’s name shall be Jesus! 

To make matters worse, she’s little more than a girl with no life experience in a tightly controlled Jewish society. Personally, I would not have wanted to be in her situation. But give Mary full marks for courage. She doesn’t go overboard, jump and holler, or any negative actions. She just listens quietly as the angel Gabriel continues: 

‘He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest (Most High): and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David. And he shall reign over the house of Jacob forever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.’ (Luke 1:32-33) 

Yes mih breddren, even in these enlightened times, such an outlandish approach would be a cause of consternation and anxiety in any experienced female. So can you imagine poor Mary’s thoughts? 

She was engaged, and wasn’t supposed to have sex before marriage, but to have a child one must know a man first (at least in those days). So what was this angel trying to do to her life eh? But apparently she didn’t make a fuss, throw a tantrum over Gabriel words, but simply continued with her own question 

‘Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know no man, (I am a virgin)? And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest (Most High) shall over-shadow thee: therefore also that holy thing (one) which shall be born of thee shall be called the son of God. 

And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren. For with God nothing shall be impossible.’ (Luke 1:34-37) 

Mamacita! What a situation to put a young girl in! But you know what endears Mary to me? Her calm response in the face of all that the situation would entail for her. 

‘And Mary said, Behold the handmaid (maidservant) of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.’ (Luke 1:38) 

And the scholars tell us to consider and contrast Mary’s response with that of Zechariah (v.18) who didn’t believe when he was told that his barren wife would bear a son, and was made dumb until the birth of John the Baptist. 

Yeh friends, Mary’s faith seems to have been well developed at a pretty young age. And we all know what she eventually went through, so please don’t dismiss her as just another bit player in the saga of the birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. 

Now let’s go home, suitably challenged, (smile) declaring our Wednesday Wail with sincere passion and truth. In unison now: ‘Wednesday, Wednesday, Wednesday: I’m so glad to be alive on this Wednesday! 

Wednesday, Wednesday, Wednesday: Thank God the breath of life is still flowing through me on this Wednesday! I am halfway home. My hands are fixed securely on the plough, and I’m not turning back. 

I’m not looking back at the past, not focusing on what has gone before. But my eyes are fixed straight ahead; straight ahead to a glorious future with Jesus. Glory Hallelujah!’ 

Oh friends, it’s so wonderful to be associated with Jesus Christ, that words can’t describe it! Much LOVE!

…to know, know, know Him…is to LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Him…

 

 

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