7a. What five things did Gabriel say about Mary's son?
1. He will be great. 2. He will be called the Son of the Most High. 3. The Lord God will give Him the throne of His father, David. 4. He will reign over the house of Jacob forever. 5. His kingdom will never end.
7b. (Challenge) Of whom do both Matthew and Luke state that Jesus was born besides Mary? How do you connect this truth with Genesis 1:2, Job 33:4 and John 3:6?
Both Matthew and Luke point to the Holy Spirit being intimately involved in the conception of Jesus. Connecting these verses with the other three struck me in a powerful way. I see the Holy Spirit hovering over the water at Creation, empowering the words of the Father, and bringing the world into being. All life is God breathed, and it was His Spirit that brought my spirit to life at the moment of my salvation. I, too, have experienced what Mary experienced! The Holy Spirit came upon ME, and the power of the Most High overpowered ME, and I was born into God's family! What an incredible truth!!!
7c. How do these truths about Jesus' identity help or encourage you?
There is so much encouragement in the truth that forever Jesus reigns. That reality brings a supernatural infusion of strength and courage. Whatever darkness falls on the face of this earth, whatever shadows fall across my own life and heart, even if the very foundations of this world are shaken, no matter what trouble comes, Jesus is still enthroned! My hope is in Him and His Kingdom that will never end! In every circumstance, every rise and every fall, my Jesus reigns, and nothing and no one can dethrone Him!
8a. How did Mary's words show her faith?
"I am the Lord's servant. May it be to me as you have said." She believed that He was and is capable of doing the impossible! She believed that the word of the Lord does not return void; it accomplishes the purpose for which it is sent. Mary showed her faith through her submission (her "yes"). God's ways are higher than our ways. His thoughts are higher than our own. Mary knew this, and it motivated her surrender. Knowing the greatness of Yahweh, she could say, "Lord, have Your way in me!"
8b. What lesson do you learn from Mary's response and how can you apply this lesson to your life this week?
Is God less involved in the circumstances of my life because I am not the mother of the Messiah? No! My body is the very temple of the Most High God. I, too, house His Son. I am no more or less important to Him than Mary was. His eyes are on me just as they were on her. Therefore, my circumstances are no less God-ordained or God-orchestrated. Every single thing that comes my way has first been sifted through His hands of love. So because of my confidence in God and His Sovereignty, I can say, "yes." I can practice surrender and submission. All the days of my life were written in His book before one of them came to be. Because of this rock-solid assurance in the character and absolute authority of my God, I can say like Mary, "I am Your servant, Lord. May it be unto me as You have written, as You have ordained." My faith grows as I choose to trust that the universe and my life have not spun out of control, but are unfolding according to plan, for my Jesus still reigns and my God is still on the throne! Though I haven't seen His blueprints and I rarely understand His ways, I trust my Papa. I know Abba's plans are beyond anything I could possibly ask, dream or imagine! When all is said and done, I know I will never regret surrendering my will to His!