Knysna Methodist Church

19 December 2021

KMC Scripture notes – 19.12.2021

Advent 4: Luke 1:26-38

In this passage, Gabriel returned to earth again having already spoken with Zacharias about his son John’s birth. Now Gabriel came to visit Mary in the insignificant little town of Nazareth. At this time, Nazareth was about 60 acres in size and had a population of about 500 people. It was 25 kilometres from the Sea of Galilee and 10 kilometers from the nearest trade route. It had one well which produced a weak supply of water for the inhabitants. Not surprising then when Nathaniel retorted to Philip when he was told Philip had met Jesus of Nazareth: ‘Nazareth? Can anything good come from there?’ Yet it was from this place that God chose to move in power and change the world.

Mary and Joseph were betrothed. There were three stages to a Jewish wedding: the engagement, when the fathers of the couple made a formal agreement; the betrothal ceremony when the couple made promises to one another that could only be annulled by divorce; and finally, the wedding itself when the bridegroom would come for his bride.

Mary and Joseph were not yet married – merely betrothed.

Gabriel told Mary she was highly favoured, the Lord was with her and she was blessed. Such statements can be used of every Christ-follower today, but Mary was a Jew and such words surprised and troubled her.
Gabriel went on to say Mary would have a son whom she would call Jesus. This was a common name at the time. But this Child, Gabriel said, would be great and would be known as the Son of God which would put Him on an equal footing with God Himself. Mary understood what Gabriel was talking about because she had been brought up in the Jewish faith and would have recognised the references to the coming Messiah.

She responded by asking a logical question. Zacharias had also questioned, but he was sceptical about what he was hearing; Mary, however, was full of wonder. Gabriel explained. God would cover her with His Holy Spirit like the Shekinah cloud of glory that was the visible evidence of His presence. (Exodus 16:10; Matthew 17:5)

Gabriel informed Mary that Elizabeth was expecting a child of her own. Elizabeth was not a young woman and if God could give her a son, so He could do what He was promising Mary, for nothing is impossible for Him. Mary did not argue or object. She merely accepted what she was told. Her faith and trust is astounding, especially when one considers the consequences of giving birth to a child out of marriage at that time; for the punishment for adultery was death.

Advent meditations
Day 1
What are your feelings and beliefs about the Virgin birth? Tell God about any struggles you may have and listen for His reply.
Day 2
What is your reaction when you think God is asking you to do something that goes against the accepted ways of society? How do you respond?
Day 3
How do you respond when someone tells you God has performed some mighty act or miracle? Do you reject the idea, or accept it? Why?
Day 4
Who do you know whom you would describe as a person with strong faith? How can you encourage them today in the way Gabriel encouraged Mary?
Day 5
How strong is your faith? Ask God to show you where you may have weak faith and to strengthen you faith in all regards that you never doubt His word to you.


Luke Chapter 1

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