By this time, Elizabeth is six months into her pregnancy. The woman who was unable to have children had conceived a child and the story of Zechariah’s muteness no doubt accompanying the story. For all that seemed to be a miracle, this was only the beginning. John would serve as a herald for the coming Savior. The Savior remains the focus. For that, an Angel visited Mary calling upon her faith.
God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.” – Luke 1:26-27, NIV
In that moment, the life of a young girl changed radically. She would conceive a child by the Holy Spirit who would be the Savior. From all accounts, Mary was in her mid to late teens and was being told she would bear the Savior of all mankind. Her response to being told that she would bare the Christ is astounding.
“I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her. – Luke 1:38, NIV
In that moment, faced with an impossible pronouncement, Mary exhibited a faith that saw and a faith was blind. There was no argument, no disbelief, but a relenting to the will of God. When God gives an impossible situation, we must likewise have an impossible faith.
A Faith That Sees
When Gabriel appeared to Mary, she inquired how she could become pregnant. After all, she was still a virgin. She was not doubting but merely seeking understanding. The Angel Gabriel recounted to her the story of Elizabeth’s own impossible pregnancy. The one who could not conceive was six months pregnant and undoubtedly showing. Yet, Mary hadn’t seen anything yet. God could work miracles through Elizabeth. Now an even greater display would occur.
The stories of God previous work embolden Mary’s faith. God hand fully displayed His power and the impossible became possible. Where God had worked a great miracle, we can have faith for the impossible miracles that God calls us to. The display of God throughout the ages emboldens our faith, with all the uncertainty accompanying it. God calls us to the impossible. Yet, we know God can provide because we have seen Him do so in the past. The past declares the impossible acts accomplished by the hand of God and exhorts our faith for the future. Nothing can limit Him!
A Faith That Is Blind
Yet, for all the evidence in the past, Mary’s pregnancy would be beyond explanation. She understood everything behind what was being said. She understood that she would in some circles be seen as a harlot. She understood that Joseph, her fiancé would view her as having committed adultery. She understood that others would not believe her. A story of conceiving by God is frankly, to some, inconceivable.
Mary, despite the impossible, showed a blind faith. For all the doubts, cautions, and challenges that she would face, she submitted to God. I’m sure she understood that challenges that laid before her, but she probably had no idea how she would get through them. All she knew was that the Lord was guiding her and the Lord would provide. Faith, while seeing the work done in the past, is largely blind, not seeing what lies ahead. It removes the false certainty we pretend to carry and forces us to close our eyes and allow ourselves to be carried. Our call to follow God at heart lies in trusting Him through uncertainty because He is God and He is good.
The stage for the change of the world is being set. The angels proclaimed the coming of a new era and the coming of the Savior. Clearly, God is hard at work and is moving through the world preparing the way for the greatest rescue story ever told. Luke begins his Gospel with a presentation of faith in the coming of our Great High Priest who would shake up the foundations of the world.