30 Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name JESUS. 32 He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. 33 And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.” (Luke 1:30-33)
God made it known far in advance that he would come to earth in the form a child. Isaiah prophesied “Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.” (Isaiah 7:14) Isaiah made this proclamation about 700 years in advance of the birth of Christ.
The name of the child to be born is not insignificant here. The name Immanuel means “God is with us” as recorded in Mathew 1:23. In the Hebrew language, the word also indicates mighty things in nature, strength, and power. God certainly is all of these things; and so much more.
As the angel Gabriel appeared to Mary and made known to her the role that she would fulfill in God’s plan; I can imagine that she experienced a mix of emotions that included fear, excitement, and lack of worthiness. She would experience fear of the unknown. This is uncharted territory to carry and deliver the Son of God into the world. She would experience excitement to have a part in the plans of God as He carried out His mission to save lost men and women from their sins. She would also experience unworthiness. As sinners, none of us are worthy to experience God’s blessings and favor.
It is out of a pure love for His children that God chose to take on human flesh, in the form of Jesus the Son, and be born into the world as a child. It is out of pure love that Jesus would carry out His ministry of teaching and disciplining mankind. It is out of a pure love that God chose to be nailed to the cross and serve as the sacrificial lamb; submitting Himself to the wrath and punishment that we deserved so that we may be redeemed and live in peace with Him. This same love will bring Jesus back to earth to establish His kingdom at the appointed time.
Jesus taught much about His return. The disciples had many questions about the establishment of His kingdom on earth and His eternal reign; just as we still have many questions today regarding these same topics. The question was in the disciples hearts at their final meeting on earth.
Therefore, when they had come together, they asked Him, saying, “Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” And He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority. But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth. Now when He had spoken these things, while they watched, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel, who also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven.”” (Acts 1:6-11)
God was faithful to fulfill His prophecies of sending a Savior in the form of a baby born to a virgin at the appointed time. Likewise, God will be faithful to send Jesus (God the Son) back to earth to establish His kingdom… at the appointed time known only to God the Father. In the meantime, we have been told that we are to be witnesses to Jesus, from our immediate family to locations around the world. In support of this mission, God has sent the Holy Spirit as a Helper to lead and guide us in wisdom and truth.
Like Mary, we may feel a mix of emotions that include fear, excitement, and lack of worthiness as we consider the task that we have been assigned. Representing Jesus to the world is a daunting task when we consider our own limited power and shortcomings. But with the Holy Spirit as our Helper, we are able to fulfill this mission in the power of God. God has a track record of success and victory. The same Holy Spirit that lead the disciples as they spread the gospel as recorded in the book of Acts is yearning to lead you as spread the love and peace of Christ today.
We are not to be standing around idly gazing up into heaven simply waiting for Him to return. We are to be busy representing Christ to the world. Just as Jesus told Mary and Joseph… “Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?” (Luke 2:49); so should we be busy carrying out our Father’s business.
“For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6)
This Christmas, I pray that you experience a renewed hope and confidence in your calling to be a witness of Jesus to your family, your neighborhood, your country and the world. May you go out of your way to spread the love of Christ that others may experience the peace of God.
God bless you and your families,