Luke 1: 26-38
We expect everything to occur according to the natural order. There is usually astonishment when things happen in an extraordinary manner. For example, if a sports’ team has experienced a bad season, and just before the season ends their coach announces that they plan to make the playoffs, one might ask the question, “How can this be?” Perhaps a student has failed to do assignments, failed to pay attention in class, and has received below average test scores. If that student announces to the teacher that he/she plans to receive a final course grade of an A, the teacher might ask the question, “How can this be?”
Today’s scripture text deals with a young woman named Mary, who found herself in a situation where she heard news that caused her to ask the question, “How can this be?’ The angel announced to Mary that she would give birth to a child who would be the Son of the Most High. This was definitely no ordinary news to process!
There are three aspects of this passage that can be applied to our lives as we wonder how the extraordinary things promised by God can be accomplished.
- HIGHLY FAVORED, (verse 28) The Lord was with Mary because she was highly favored. What put her in that space? She was pure. The Lord can also use us in unimaginable ways when we keep ourselves from being tainted by the world’s popular ways that do not honor God and His Word. Mary was pledged to marry Joseph. She had plans and direction for her life. There is a lesson here for us all. Although God may change our planned course in life, it is admirable and it pleases God when we work towards great goals in life.
- HAUNTING FACT (verse 34) Mary was ready to be and do whatever God wanted. The angel’s visitation was certainly an honor. Giving birth, however, when she was a virgin puzzled her mind. In fact, it had to be a haunting fact, because in the natural order of things, it was humanly impossible. We can certainly relate to the fact that our minds will not wrap around a promise from God’s Word, when it goes against the ordinary flow of life. Have circumstances ever flowed for you negatively, to the point that the facts haunted you, in spite of what God’s Word promised? Did you also wonder like Mary, “How can this be?”
- HISTORICAL FEAT (verses 35-36) Mary certainly received the answer to her question. The Holy Spirit would perform the work! The angel pointed out the historical feat already accomplished, which was that her cousin Elizabeth had conceived in her old age. And to top it off, Elizabeth had been diagnosed as barren! Make it personal now and think of those feats that seem impossible for you to accomplish…those things that have pointed you in the right direction of serving in God’s Kingdom, but you cannot fathom how to accomplish them. The question remains, “How can this be?” The answer remains, “The Holy Spirit will do the work!”
Conclusion: Verse 38 reveals Mary’s obedience and faith. She tells the angel that she fully embraces God’s plan for her life. She says it with confidence because she has truly received and believed the message in verse 37.
Dear Child of God, remember that whatever seemingly unsurmountable obstacles are facing you, that you are not left alone to struggle and experience failure. Pray earnestly, without anxiety, with a grateful heart, and expect God to answer in the way which best suits HIS plan for your life. He is able.
“For with God nothing shall be impossible.”