In the sixth month, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.” Luke 1:26-28
Four hundred years God has been silent……no new prophets echoing through the Temple Courts…..no help for Israel, only continual oppression from powerful nations around them. It must have seemed like the silence was mocking all their hopes for the future. How many years they had prayed, and waited for God to answer. A sign, any little flicker of hope, anything to grasp on to. And still, they heard nothing. But they read the words, they clung to belief. They held out. They held on. A whisper of hope was all they had, and yet it was enough.
Then one day things started to happen…….Zechariah going into the temple one way, and coming out unable to speak, stunned at what he heard, saw. “Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing at the right side of the altar of incense. When Zechariah saw him, he was startled and was gripped with fear. But the angel said to him: “Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to give him the name John. He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth,” Luke 1:11-14
He came out of the temple not able to speak, since he doubted what the Angel had said…….I wonder, in our modern reality-TV laden, overstimulated society……if Gabriel appeared would anyone notice? Would we even be able to hear him?
When you consider all these miraculous events………A virgin bearing God’s Son, a baby born filled with the Holy Spirit at birth (John), Zechariah struck dumb and they able to speak on the day of John’s birth…..is it any less of a miracle that we believe all these things and others don’t? That is what I pondered and it greatly humbled me this morning.
Mary said yes……and it cost her, Elizabeth and Zechariah said yes and it cost them, Jesus said yes and it cost Him. John the Baptist said yes, and it cost him.Yet they were also greatly rewarded. What an unspeakable gift……to be entrusted with this most precious gift, this knowledge, this truth. God’s own Spirit! The message to Mary from Gabriel is to us too, if we believe what Jesus said and have accepted Him into our lives. “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”
He is with us!……..We have this hope……the wait is over. He has come! Whatever you are going through, I pray that today you find strength and hope in this gift that God has so freely given us. Rejoice with me today in this good news which shall be for all people! Pray, and be ready to give an answer for the hope that is in you…..so many need Him today.