The Gospel of Luke

This devotional is written by Matthew Windsor-Richards. A dad, devoted to his boys (on a good day) and his wife (on all days!) and his job as an actor when anyone will employ him.

Luke 1:26-45

The Birth of Jesus Foretold

26 In the sixth month of Elizabeth's pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, 27 to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin's name was Mary. 28 The angel went to her and said, "Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you."

29 Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 30 But the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call 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 his father David, 33 and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end."

34 "How will this be," Mary asked the angel, "since I am a virgin?"

35 The angel answered, "The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. 36 Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. 37 For no word from God will ever fail."

38 "I am the Lord’s servant," Mary answered. "May your word to me be fulfilled." Then the angel left her.

Mary Visits Elizabeth

39 At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, 40 where she entered Zechariah's home and greeted Elizabeth. 41 When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. 42 In a loud voice she exclaimed: "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! 43 But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44 As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. 45 Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!"

Reflection

I love Luke. My firstborn is named after this compassionate doctor and gospel writer that championed women, accurately revealing events of the early church and the significant power of the Holy Spirit.
 
Mary's submission was part of God's plan to bring about our salvation. She sets out an example that we can follow - surrender to God (and by recognising Christ's sacrifice), we allow the Holy Spirit to minister salvation to our souls. We are a part of this supernatural phenomenon!
 
v41-42 is so wonderful! Can you imagine the awe that Luke felt as Mary first described to him this moment of meeting with her relative Elizabeth, who was six months pregnant. The baby, whose future as John The Baptist was destined to prepare people's hearts and minds for the Messiah, leaps for joy as he comes close to Mary and her unborn baby!
 
I want to be around these moments of undeniable interaction between us and God. Can you think of interventions in your life, from your personal journey? Hearing first hand of miracles, healings, angels, crazy answers to prayer from others that you are close to and trust, are almost just as exciting don't you think? These moments cement our faith but go unseen by so many others close to us. The virgin birth account follows not far behind the resurrection in terms of a non-believers sticking point or ridicule. However when we see God miraculously intervening in our lives, passages of scripture like this are not only believable, they make obvious sense. Jesus had to be born miraculously so that He could arrive holy without the sin that entered through Adam, thus allowing Him to redeem mankind by taking on sin's consequences in our place and defeating them through his death and resurrection.
 
Let's seek more of the phenomenon in our lives and surrender to God's plans for us.

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