Thursday, 18 December 2014

Rejoice, Highly Favoured One. Advent day 18.

Scripture:

26 Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, 27 to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 And having come in, the angel said to her, “Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!”

29 But when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and considered what manner of greeting this was. 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.”

34 Then Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I do not know a man?”

35 And the angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God. 36 Now indeed, Elizabeth your relative has also conceived a son in her old age; and this is now the sixth month for her who was called barren. 37 For with God nothing will be impossible.”

38 Then Mary said, “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her. Luke 1

Name of Jesus: Lily of the Valley (Song of Solomon 2:1)
Symbol: White Lily (symbolising new life and resurrection)

Devotional:

This incidence between the angel Gabriel and Mary is a beautiful picture of the promise of Jesus and the new life and resurrection.

Firstly, as Matthew Henry writes, "She was a daughter of the royal family, lineally descended from David, and she herself and all her friends knew it, for she went under the title and character of the house of David, though she was poor and low in the world;"  We too are now part of that royal family through Jesus Christ!  Though we may be poor and low in this world, we are royalty and no-one can take that away from us.

"Rejoice" - the angel comes to Mary with joyful news.  We too share in this news.  Jesus has come and is coming again!  The Gospel is the most amazing news!  What joy. 

"Highly favoured one" - the word translated 'favoured' is χαριτόω charitoo - the same word used in Ephesians 1:6 - 'to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.'  Like Mary, we are accepted in the Beloved - Jesus.  By His free gift of grace we are accepted - what joy!  New life in Jesus. Resurrection life.

"The Lord is with you" - The presence of God is with Mary.  Jesus is our Immanuel, God is with us in Christ.  Like Mary was filled with the Son of God, so we now, the church, are filled with the Son of God.  That beautiful, pure life of Christ - the Lily of the Valley - within us!  How often I forget!

This week of Advent is about joy.  Joy because, like Mary, we are highly favoured and the Lord, Jesus, is with us. 

"Rejoice, highly favoured one.  The Lord is with you!"

Come Lord Jesus!

Happy Advent!

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