Presence – The Lord is with you.
Luke 1:26 – 38
Being fully present even when the call on your life is a big one.
George Methodist Church 9th December 2018 With Peter Veysie
- Who is Mary ?
I really believe that many of us may not know who Mary really was and so I want to give you her historical and biblical story. Her name is Mary and her parents were Joachim and Anna. Her birthplace was in Nazareth a remote corner of the country without having any reputation for religion or learning and the area where she lived was known as Galilee of the gentiles.It is deeply profound to me that God would begin his plan of redemption in the backstreets of Israel.
She was the daughter of the royal family, a descendant of David and though she was very poor she was from the line of priests and kings and therefore rich in her spiritual quotient.
Her name means exalted and is the same name as Miriam. She was a virgin between the ages of 12 and 14.
She was pledged to be married to Joseph who was also of the royal line of David.
2. The address of the angel to her. Vs 26 – 28
Luke is quite clear and significantly shares that at the time when the Angel Gabriel comes to Mary, her cousin Elizabeth who is older that her and is in her 6 month of pregnancy.
He surprises her with a greeting – Shalom(Hebrew: ׁשָלֹום ) which means peace, harmony, wholeness, completeness, prosperity, welfare and tranquility and can be used idiomatically to mean both hello and goodbye.
“You who are highly favoured, the Lord is with you”
While the angel gives Mary a number of high compliments, nothing indicates that she is worthy of worship, let alone being an intercessor between Jesus and His followers, a Co-Redemptrix, sinless for her entire life, or given any other honour aside from being God’s chosen vessel for the purpose of the Son of God being made flesh and blood. This is not to denigrate that role in the least, because truly it is a great honour, but God has throughout the ages chosen various people to fill different roles according to His will and purpose—and none of them are shown to be worthy of worship.
In verse 28, Gabriel tells Mary in his greeting that she is “highly favoured,” and in verse 30, that she “has found favour with God.” The Greek word translated
highly favoured means “to grace,” “to endue with special honour,” or “to be accepted.”
The only other place it is used is Ephesians 1:6, where Paul says to the church at Ephesus and to the body of Christ generally, “. . . to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.” From this example, we can see that being “highly favoured” is not synonymous with being worthy of worship. Everyone in the body of Christ is highly favoured because God has accepted us through the justification brought about by Christ’s sacrifice.
In verse 30, Gabriel tells Mary that she has found favour with God. “Favour” is the Greek word charis, which means “graciousness of manner or action.” It indicates favour on the part of the giver and thankfulness on the part of the receiver. It is most often translated “grace” in the New Testament. Gabriel tells Mary that she is the recipient of charis, of grace and favour by God—the emphasis is on what God is doing. The type of grace bestowed on Mary is implied to be sweetness, charm, loveliness, joy and delight. Again, we see nothing in this verse to give any indication that Mary should be worshipped.
She simply received God’s favour by being chosen to fulfil this role.
What is significant for me in all of this is God’s presence – The Lord is with you. Know right out at the start of this huge thing that you are going to do that you are empowered by the presence of the Lord. Unless God’s presence is with us we will not move/go. So many people have not learned the powerful art of practising the presence of God. Don’t think that she just woke up and got it !!! She practised it.
I want to share a line from the book Practising the presence of God by Brother Lawrence:
The most holy and necessary practice in our spiritual life is the presence of God. That means finding constant pleasure in His divine company, speaking humbly and lovingly with him in all seasons, at every moment, without limiting the conversation in any way.
- Mary’s concerns
Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be ? This really shows me her humility and honesty in that she is testing the greeter to see what he really is on about? It’s interesting that examples of questioning in the bible often come up as we saw with Zechariah last week and yes sometimes it’s good just to accept and be quiet but there is room for conversation and questioning. Our young people need to have this freedom more but within the boundaries of a walking daily loving relationship with God.
4. The message delivered from the angel and the impact it had on her and us.
Fear not Mary even though the world will frown of you because you seem to having a baby outside of marriage God gots this. (Hope saying)
He repeats the word that she has found favour with God.
She will conceive and give birth to a son whose name will be Jesus – Great
Son of the Most High
He will have the throne of his father David.
He will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever. His kingdom will have no end.
5. HOW WILL THIS BE ?
Again this is so profound that she is not a pushover but asked a genuine question of the absolute impossibility of this other than a miracle !!!! She then confirms the fact that she is a virgin but she requires deeper understanding and instruction. How is this gonna work ????
The angel Gabriel then describes the miracle. In the book of Genesis 1: 2 The Spirit of God hovered over the waters.
The Spirit of God will come upon you and will overshadow you – these two pictures speak of what we call sanctification in theological terms but is very importantly in Methodist terms – to being made Holy.
The divine power of God will come upon you and he will undertake this. Not only that but just as the cloud covered the tabernacle in the book of
Deuteronomy she would be overshadowed by the power of the Holy Spirit. Her womb would become the Holy Tabernacle of God as she holds the baby Jesus who would be the King of Kings and the Lord of Lord’s, the Lion of Judah, the Lamb that takes a way the sin of the world, the Light, bread, water, living Hope, the one who rules on David throne forever’.THE SON OF GOD LUKE 1:35
– IMAGINE HOLDING ALL OF THIS IN HER WOMB – THE BLESSING OF THE THREE IN ONE
LASTLY AND THIS IS SO PROFOUND FOR ME THAT SHE RESPONDS IN THE AFFIRMATIVE AS A SERVANT – I AM THE LORD’S SERVANT. MAY YOUR WORD TO ME BE FULFILLED.
Now what about us as we are called by the Holy Spirit to be and do the will of God. To find ourselves in right relationship with him so that we can say – I am your servant.