She is Chosen
Jesus the Christ told us that He is the Light of the world. Light is often a metaphor for salvation. And in
“Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali, the Way of the Sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles— the people living in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.”
The world was in the darkness, but salvation has dawned. And this Light, this salvation as we saw last week is none other than Jesus the Messiah, the Word of God who is God - and so the Light is the very essence of God come in the flesh. It is this God, the Creator, the One who lives in unapproachable light who came near and made Himself approachable through His Son, Jesus.
Jesus, Yeshua in Hebrew means God is Savior. He is also Immanuel - God with us - and He is the Light of the world.
Ever since the beginning, the Light of God has pushed back the darkness. He said, “Let there be light,” and there was light - and the darkness no longer ruled. But darkness found its way into the human heart and once again ruled the world. But here in Christ, the True Light, we see God conquering the darkness and putting an end to the reign and fear of death. In Christ is life and Light, and those in Him no longer need fear the darkness - they don’t need to fear death.
But what did it take to orchestrate the Light coming into the world?
Roman 5:6 says that Jesus died at just the right time. For that to happen, God had to know all time - past and future. For Jesus to die at the right time, He had to come into the world at the right time, and in the right place, and through the right people. So, the birth of Christ was not an event that just happened by chance. No - the birth of Christ, the Light coming into the world happened precisely when it was intended to - and when it needed to.
Let’s look at just a few of the events and see how precisely God orchestrated the birth of His Son.
1. God Orchestrated the Universe
At the conception of Jesus and at His birth, there were Magi in the east watching the heavens, observing stars and constellations, looking for out of the ordinary. We’re told that the Magi saw a new star. And what they saw was this -
A great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head.
What they saw was God using constellations, and stars and planets to announce the birth of His Son.
Think about it - in the beginning, when God created the Heavens, He put the stars and planets and galaxies into motion. Now the universe moves with absolute precision (something that random evolution could not have done). Because of that precision, we have observed laws of planetary motion. And because of those laws, we now have technology and computer programs that can trace the movement of the stars - both forward and backward - with precision. We know where the stars were 100 years ago, 500 years ago, 2000 years ago - which means we can see with almost certainty when the Magi saw the signs in the stars. Now it is believed that Jesus was conceived in September of 3 BC, was born in June of 2 BC, and the Magi, the wise men brought their gifts on December 25 of the same year.
But it’s even a little bigger than that. At the very moment when God created the stars (trillions of stars), He had to place each one exactly where it needed to be, so that by the time of 3 and 2 BC, all the stars would be in the exact place they needed to be to reveal His birth.
The birth of Christ was not in alignment with the universe - the universe was in alignment with the birth of Christ!
2. God Orchestrated People (genealogy) and Place (geography)
We’re not going to get into all the details - but genealogy and geography play a significant role in the birth of Christ.
Around 2,000 years before Christ, in Gen. 18, God told Abraham that all nations on earth would be blessed through him. Both Mary and the priest Zechariah acknowledged that Jesus was the fulfilment of that promise - and that promise worked its way through about 45 generations. And there are multiple prophecies in the Old Testament that the Messiah would come through Abraham, and through the tribe of Judah and through the line of David - which were all fulfilled in Jesus.
That’s genealogy - what about the place? The prophet Micah tells us,
“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.”
In summary: Mary conceived in Nazareth; Joseph and Mary traveled to Bethlehem, where she gave birth to Jesus. No unborn person can choose their lineage and place of birth, yet here we see Jesus was born at the right time, at the right place with the right people.
So, to bring the Light into the world, God orchestrated the universe, a genealogy and geography - but He also orchestrated the lives of two ordinary people in an ordinary little town.
In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, 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.
One would think that after aligning the universe to the birth of His Son, God would continue to keep things somewhat grandiose. In some ways He did - a virgin birth is quite extraordinary, but from a human perspective, God kept the arrival of His Son simple and quiet.
For starters, He sent an angel to Nazareth. Nothing happened in Nazareth. Nazareth had an estimated population between 200-500 people. It was a small, one donkey town. It’s not even mentioned in the OT - that’s how insignificant was Nazareth. And from Philip, we’re told that nothing good comes from Nazareth. Significant people don’t come from Nazareth!
But God doesn’t seem to be concerned with such things. More often than not, what I see in Scripture is this incredibly holy all-powerful loving gracious
God consistently invites the lowly, the overlooked and “insignificant” into His plan of redemption.
And here we see God invited Mary and Joseph into the plan. But why them? There had to be something special about them, right? As far as we can tell, they were nobody special living in a not-so-special town. Just two ordinary people doing what ordinary people - just trying to make it.
What does this tell us about God?
Insignificant places and insignificant people become significant when God shows up.
Doesn’t matter who you are or where you’re from - when God shows up and says, “You’ve been chosen,” you’ve been made significant. And you can sing along with Mary - “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant.”
Mary and Joseph were ordinary people - insignificant in the world’s eyes - but God was mindful of them as they served Him faithfully.
God is always mindful of His humble servants.
Ever wonder if God has forgotten you? Keep serving faithfully - He sees, He knows, He’s mindful.
For Mary and Joseph, life was normal, uneventful, just “two less lonely people in the world” trying to live, getting ready for the big day … when suddenly ….
The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.” Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God.
How did Mary, an ordinary young lady find favor with God? Besides being prophetically in the right place in the right time, and putting God’s sovereign choice aside for a moment - what did God see in this young girl that made Him say, “She’s the one.”
Again, I think it’s safe to say she was an ordinary person - just like me and you. Like many of you, she wasn’t perfect (only God is). So what made her highly favored?
This isn’t specifically in Scripture, but when you look at her response to Gabriel and her song later in the chapter, it’s clear that she knew Scripture and she had a genuine relationship with God.
She was a humble servant prior to the God’s invitation.
It’s interesting that God didn’t send His Son to be born among the Jewish leaders - the Pharisees and Sadducees. After all, they lived a religious life, so why not them? That was the problem - they led a religious life, not necessarily a pleasing to God.
Mary, didn’t live a religious life, but a pleasing life.
While many religious leaders would have looked upon this peasant girl and thought, “Mother of the Messiah? Never!”, God was looking at her heart and saying, “Oh yeah!”
Remember the words of God in 1 Sam. 16:7 when looking at young David to be anointed as king -
But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
God was looking at this ordinary young girl whose heart, and motives, and attitudes were pure. So God took this ordinary young girl - insignificant in the eyes of man but significant in His eyes, and invited her to be a part of the most significant even in all history - the redemption of humanity.
So how are our hearts this Christmas? Religious? Or pleasing? Prideful? Stuck in our ways? Or Humble and servant-like?
You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”
Right here, Gabriel makes it very clear that her son was the promised Messiah. All the way from Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, David, the prophets - they were all waiting for this Savior - and she is the one to carry Him into the world. No one knew exactly when He would arrive. Mary didn’t have a clue that this was coming. But God knew she was the one! Now, she may have felt unqualified, but God said, “Don’t worry - I’m with you on this.” And as the cliché goes -
God doesn’t call the qualified - He qualifies the called.
You never know when God will show up and ask you to carry His Son into the world
- no matter how insignificant or unqualified you may feel.
“How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?” The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. For no word from God will ever fail.”
What does this tell us about God? All things are possible with God.
When God’s in it, you can win it!
You can accomplish anything - if God is directing your steps. If God says carry a child, then you can carry a child. If God says be a missionary, then you can be a missionary.
If God says _______, then I can ________.
For nothing, when God is in it, is impossible.
Now, when God calls, our response is crucial.
“I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her.
Even though she was going to be the mother of the Messiah, she found herself in a precarious situation. On one hand she was elated! But on the other, she was scared. She had never been a mother before. Remember, she wasn’t married yet, and it would be impossible to keep this pregnancy a secret in a small town (Did you hear about Mary? Look at her belly. She said she’s innocent but…). She would face intense disgrace, the loss of her reputation, and the curse of being a sinful woman. She had no idea what Joseph would do - would he cancel the engagement - and she would be alone and poor for the rest of her life - or, by law, would he have her executed.
But the unknown, the certain shame, and the possibility of death did not deter her.
Her response was one of faith and courage as she submitted to the Master’s will.
“Let it be to me according to your word. I will obey, for I am your servant, and I will help carry the Light into the darkness - no matter the cost.”
God is still looking for people to carry His Son into the world - no matter the cost.
God orchestrated the universe, people and places to bring the Savior into the world. God invited ordinary people from ordinary places to bring the Light of salvation into the darkness.
He’s still inviting.
How will we respond?