A Faith Like Mary's
God entered human history through Mary because she was open to his will and obedient.
It may very well be the story in the Bible. The account was read to you this morning of the angel Gabriel's appearance before a young, Jewish peasant girl no more than 16 years of age. He announced to this girl that she was going to be the mother of the Son of God.
She blushed and wondered aloud how such a thing could be possible, since she was still a virgin and engaged to be married to a man named Joseph. The angel told her that she would be made pregnant by the Holy Spirit. He said, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. . . . For nothing is impossible with God."
Nothing impossible, indeed! Not only would a pregnancy have to be effected, but they were going to have to deal with the grave problem of how Joseph was going to react to the announcement that his fiance was pregnant. Their explanation is that it's because of the Holy Spirit.
According to the law of Moses, adultery was punishable by stoning to death. Even though few adulteresses were actually stoned, all were shamed, as were their children, for the rest of their lives.
But that was God's problem, as far as this exemplary young woman was concerned. All she had to worry about was just doing what God told her to do. So she said to Gabriel, "I'm the Lord's servant. Let it be to me as you have said." That was that.
From one generation to another this little girl has been known as the mother of God, the one who gave birth to Jesus Christ — the one who was fully human and yet fully divine, God's own Son.
I want to ask two questions of this story this morning: What was God doing here, and why did he choose Mary to do it? I'll just spend a few moments on the first question, ...
This sermon is available to purchase a la carte or
for PreachingToday.com subscribers at no additional cost.
To continue reading:
Ben Patterson is campus pastor at Westmont College in Santa Barbara, California, and author of God's Prayer Book: Praying the Psalms (Tyndale House).