15. Next

Short Meds in Getting Ready in Covid-Advent: 15. Next

Lk 1:26 God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth.”

Advent is the period of waiting. Nativity refers to the birth of Christ. I always feel there are three parts to the story leading up to the Nativity. There is the part we have been considering so far, which is all to do with the birth of John the Baptist. Strictly speaking you could omit it and still hold on to the second two parts (Mary’s part and Joseph’s part) but the truth is that the canon of scripture includes such a big chunk of narrative about Zechariah in chapter 1 of Luke, that it would be remiss of us to omit it and it does say so much of value.  There is still more about the actual birth of John and the prophecies that go before and after it, but for the sake of timing we are going to move on.

So we jump to Mary’s part of the story which picks up six months into Elizabeth’s pregnancy (Lk 1:26a) and before we focus on Mary I want us to focus on this second part of verse 26

Very simply we find, “God sent”.  I pause there and focus our attention here because it strikes me that there is a sense of divine purpose here. We may have taken it for granted before but this is the divine plan being worked out. It could have happened without angelic warning but God wants Mary involved and wants her to make the declaration she does later – for our benefit!

Throughout every aspect of these accounts is this sense of divine purpose. As part of the canon of inspired scripture we need to hold on to this truth: it is the inspired word of God for our benefit (see 2 Tim 3:16,17). It is all there to teach us, challenge us, correct us and so on, as well as encourage us, and it is this sense of divine purpose that we pause to note here.

It is a purpose that was revealed through the prophets of old. Isaiah declared, The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son and will call him Immanuel.” (Isa 7:14) Matthew, who is particularly sensitive to the prophetic forewarnings about the Messiah, quoted this in his Joseph account (Mt 1:22,23). It is all about the divine purpose.

Was that only true of back then, or can we have the same awareness of the sense of divine purpose in this year? While many have just got caught up in all the confusions of the Pandemic, the Lord is challenging His people (still) to listen, to be aware of His purposes that lie behind the façade of this time. Have we got this far through this year without sensing it? Where have we been? It’s been here, it’s been all over the Internet, God’s latest loudspeaker. We are living through holy times!  Ask Him for the sense of it. Don’t miss out! 

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