The angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John. And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, for he will be great before the Lord.” (Luke 1:13-15)
The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call His name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to Him the throne of His father David, and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.” (Luke 1:30-33)
When Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, and she exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! And why is this granted to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For behold, when the sound of your greeting came to my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.” (Luke 1:41-45)
Have you ever asked a question of a Magic 8 Ball?
If you’re unfamiliar, a Magic 8 Ball is a toy you can ask a question and shake. Then, if you look through the viewfinder, you’ll see a random response. It’s sometimes tempting to see God as like a Magic 8 Ball: You come to him looking to answer your questions and expect a simple yes, no or “not now.”
But God’s answers to Mary and Elizabeth’s prayers were not predictable, and they were not boring. Mary and Elizabeth were stunned by God’s response to their prayers to Him.
Elizabeth was barren — then she was pregnant! Similarly, God blessed Mary with her son while she was still a virgin. God was gracious to Mary and Elizabeth and, out of His sovereignty, they gave birth to John the Baptist and Jesus. These two lives were pure grace, undeserved gifts from God.
Jesus didn’t have to enter the world as a vulnerable baby. He didn’t have to allow anyone to play a vital role in His story, but He did. Jesus doesn’t need you, but He graciously invites you into His redemptive plan. This chapter ends with Mary praising God: “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for He has looked on the humble estate of His servant. For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for He who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is His name” (Luke 1:46-49).
We too can rejoice.
We don’t always know how God will answer our prayers, but we can trust they are always for our good and His glory.
Pray and Reflect
Jesus humbled himself by coming to earth as a child so He could ultimately grow up and save the world.
What is one practical way you can humble yourself and serve another person this week?
Perhaps God can use you to surprise them with goodness. (written by Sarah Winebrenner)