Today we start our journey through the book of Luke. I hope you are walking this journey with me. Today we'll start by reading Luke 1. Remember, if you don't have a Bible or are away from your Bible, you can always read the chapter online.
I love that Luke, the doctor, who is precise and tells us in the opening paragraph that he has “carefully investigated everything from the beginning,” starts his account of the life of Jesus with two miracles! First we have Gabriel meeting with Zechariah to tell Zechariah that he and Elizabeth will have a child in their old age! This child will be John the Baptist! How exciting for Zechariah and Elizabeth!
How long to you think Elizabeth had been praying for a child? How long had Zechariah been asking for a son? Do you think they had given up hope? As you read Zechariah's reaction to Gabriel, do you think you would have reacted the same way? Would you have wanted proof? How would you have reacted?
In chapter one we find out that not only are Zechariah and Elizabeth going to have a son, but Elizabeth's cousin Mary is also going to have a son. Now Mary is engaged, but not married and still a virgin. She asks the logical question of Gabriel (when Gabriel tells her that she is going to have a son), “How will this be since I am still a virgin?” Good question, Mary. We find out here that the Holy Spirit will come upon her and she will become pregnant. And the “holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.” (v35)
Two miraculous pregnancies in one chapter. What a way to start a book! After Gabriel meets with Mary, Mary goes to visit Elizabeth. Zechariah must have loved that…two pregnant women living under one roof! What a man!
Anyway, just before we read about the birth of John the Baptist, we read “Mary's Song.” Read it with me here.
46 And Mary said:
“My soul glorifies the Lord
47 and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
48 for he has been mindful
of the humble state of his servant.
From now on all generations will call me blessed,
49 for the Mighty One has done great things for me—
holy is his name.
50 His mercy extends to those who fear him,
from generation to generation.
51 He has performed mighty deeds with his arm;
he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.
52 He has brought down rulers from their thrones
but has lifted up the humble.
53 He has filled the hungry with good things
but has sent the rich away empty.
54 He has helped his servant Israel,
remembering to be merciful
55 to Abraham and his descendants forever,
even as he said to our fathers.”
The Holy Bible : New International Version. electronic ed. Grand Rapids : Zondervan, 1996, c1984, S. Lk 1:46-55
As I read these words I was amazed at Mary's humility. She does not boast about the greatest honor any woman could hope for, but rather she humbles herself before God and praises Him for what He is doing. She takes no credit. This is an amazing lesson for me. I know I can often try to take the credit for the things God has done in my life, but am reminded here, that EVERYTHING comes from my God. I am His humble servant.
The other thing that encouraged me about this chapter was the way God showed up in both of these women's lives. First, it was unexpected; and secondly, it was in a miraculous way. Do you need to see God show up in your life in either or both of these ways this Christmas season?
I want to encourage you this season to be reminded that the God we serve loves to show off. He loves to find the humble and raise them up. He loves to answer prayer. And He is able to go above and beyond all we ask or imagine! So don't stop praying that prayer that you know only God can answer. Don't give up hope, not yet! Keep praying that God will answer your prayer in a way that brings Him all the glory.
It can be tempting to give up hope after we've been praying for days, weeks, months, even years. But sweet friend, as you read through Luke 1 be reminded that we serve a God who can do miracles beyond our wildest imagination. We might not understand His timing, but don't lose hope. Take courage today and be renewed in your hope that God will answer your prayer for a miracle.
I can't wait to hear how God shows off in your life!