God enters the world in the most unexpected places
The story of God that draws us all in, is that God doesn’t use might or force to change the world, but uses the least and unexpected to transform the world.
A Retelling of Luke 1:26-45
In a no name town, a town with no significance at all, the town of Nazareth, an Angel of the Lord Gabriel appears to a young a woman, Mary a bride-to-be, with nothing significant to offer either. There was absolutely nothing significant or special about the people that God was going to use for the in breaking of Jesus into this world. Joseph was just another member in the family line of David, Mary was just a small-town girl, and Nazareth? Well it wasn’t a stretch to ask, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?”
But it’s the place God used to start the story of Jesus in the world. Gabriel would come to Mary and tell her that she would conceive and give birth to a son named Jesus. That he would be called the Son of the most high. That God would give him the throne of his father King David. Gabriel was telling Mary that she would give birth to the Messiah. And it all came as a shock to Mary. It all seemed impossible. How could it possibly be? After all, she was a virgin.
It would be a miracle. And in Gabriel’s words to Mary, The Holy Spirit would come upon her. The power of the Most High would overshadow her. She would give a virgin birth to Jesus. Impossible by all standards. But with God, all things are possible. But the real miracle of this story, isn’t a virgin birth. The real miracle of this story is in what Mary said next.
She knew full well the shame it would bring on her. The shame it would bring on Joseph. The shame it would bring on her family. She was fully aware of the pain and ridicule it would bring her as she carried an illegitimate child into this world by the worlds standards and despite all of this, the biggest miracle in the story was Mary saying yes to all of it when she declares to Gabriel, I am the Lord’s servant.
Every story can be broken down into a few parts. The setting, where the story takes place and why it might be important. The characters and their emotions and thoughts invested in the story. A tension that needs resolved. A resolution that brings us through the tension, and a through line (aka main idea) that carries the story through from beginning to end.
The Setting Nazareth, an insignificant, no name town by all standards. In John 1:46, Nathanael tells Philip, “Can anything good come from Nazareth?”
- Gabriel – Angel that appeared to Mary to announce Jesus’ coming birth
- Mary – A servant of the Lord willing to accept the heavy task of being the mother of the Christ.
- Joseph – a man of the house of David
- Elizabeth – the baby leaped inside her when Elizabeth heard Mary’s voice
- The Holy Spirit – who fills Elizabeth. She feels incredibly blessed to know the mother of her Lord.
The Tension Accepting what God has called Mary to do, knowing the emotional and relational struggle it’s going to bring.
The Resolution Mary acknowledges to Gabriel that she is the Lord’s servant.
The Through Line God is about to establish his son Jesus on the throne of David and Mary accepting her role as God’s servant is going to be a part of that story.
Why has this story endured? This story is the beginning of God beginning to enter the world in the most unexpected places using the most unexpected of people, the commoner. The story of God that draws us all in, is that God doesn’t use might or force to change the world, but uses the least and unexpected to transform the world.
What is true for them then that is still true for us today? God still uses people for the inbreaking of Jesus into the world.
How does this story help us love God? God makes us a part of his story of moving from creation to new creation by allowing us to be a part of his love for us. God doesn’t just love us, God invites us into the story to be a part of that love.
How does this story help us love others? Things aren’t always what they seem. When Mary truly committed herself as a servant of God, she knew the ridicule that it would bring her. We should never doubt what God has the ability to do in others.