Good News of Great Joy: Luke 1:26-38

Advent Week 1

When I think about the Advent season, the word that resonates with me is anticipation. Can you imagine a people longing and waiting for God to send the Messiah — the anointed one, Jesus? The Gospel of Luke captures this anticipation in a truly unprecedented way. Roughly 400 years passed between the close of the Old Testament and the coming of the Lord Jesus. God sent the Angel Gabriel to announce to Mary that she was favored by God and would indeed bear the Lord Jesus (Luke 1:28, 30-31).

Gabriel tells Mary that a virgin will conceive and give birth to Jesus, the son of the Most High (vv. 31-32). Gabriel continues to proclaim that Jesus will reign on the throne of David and that his kingdom will have no end (vv. 32-33). Gabriel’s proclamation should have clued Mary into the promises of 2 Samuel 7 and the messianic prophecy of Isaiah 7:14, but Mary’s response demonstrates her humanity and even her doubt at the moment.

Could it be that God’s people had forgotten his promises that he would indeed send the Messiah to redeem and restore?

Gabriel answers Mary’s troubled and questioning heart by explaining that she would conceive by the power of the Holy Spirit and that the son she would bear is holy (vv. 35-36). Mary’s cousin Elizabeth had also recently experience God’s power to bring about divine birth when she conceived in her barrenness. Gabriel reminds Mary, “Nothing is impossible with God” (v. 37).

In Mary’s final declaration, she recognizes God’s sovereignty and her servitude, declaring, “Let it be to me according to your word” (v. 38). Mary might not have fully understood that she would soon be carrying Jesus, the son of the Most High, but she would quickly have this reality confirmed.

God’s people live between the time of Jesus’s advent and his second coming. Each year, we celebrate Christmas, remembering that God took on flesh in the person of Jesus Christ so that he might live a perfectly sinless life and bear the weight of the wrath of God on sin that is due us all. We now, like Mary, live in great anticipation of the second coming when Jesus will once again be with his people face to face.

We now, like Mary, live in great anticipation of the second coming when Jesus will once again be with his people face to face.

This Christmas season, I encourage you to look back and rejoice that God would send his Son incarnate. Then, once again, look forward to the reality that Christ will return and bring forth the hope of redemption and restoration that is both promised and fulfilled in Jesus.

Prayer from Dawn Satterwhite

Heavenly Father, as we enter this advent season, renew our awe and wonder at the incarnate Son of God in the manger — the greatest gift ever given. Draw our hearts ever closer to you that we may ponder anew how and why you — our Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace — would choose to come and dwell with us. Through our study, teach us to humbly submit to you, and may you deepen our faith to declare, “Nothing is impossible with God.” Amen!


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