“Saying Yes” Luke 1:26-38

December 7, 2014

Luke 1:26-38

“Saying Yes”


Children’s Sermon. Ask kids to do a series of simple tasks to which they are willing to say yes.  Then ask them to

Reading of The Word



Luke gives us so much detail in this story of the annunciation.  We know the exact time it comes – the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy.  We know that the name of the angel that came to bring the message was Gabriel.  We know where they met, in Galilee, which was in Nazareth.  We know that Mary was a virgin who was pledged to a man named Joseph.  We know that Joseph was of the lineage of David.  And we know all the words the angel spoke to her and we have recorded here her response.  Wow!


As I spent time in the gospel story this week, I began to ask some questions:

Who did Mary have to be for God to choose her for this mission?

What did she have to believe?

How had she come to this so that she could accept her role?


Along with those questions of the text I was also thinking about the coming new year and meeting with the leadership of the church and asking them to think about, “What specific mission is God calling you to in the coming year?”  So as we look at these three questions in light of this passage, my question for each one of us is – As we wait for Christ to return, what are you going to be busy doing?  What mission has God called you to accept?  How has God prepared you to do what he’s called you to do?


Who did Mary have to be for God to choose her for this mission?

Tradition tells us that Mary was very young, a teenager.  Women didn’t wait long to be married in these times.  They were prepared for marriage and childbearing from a very young age and husbands were secured early!  So her upbringing prepared her to be wed and to be a mother at a young age.  It was part of the culture.  God uses our natural culture to shape us for what eh calls us to do.


We can also draw the conclusion that Mary grew up in a very devout Jewish home.  Where the prophets and the law and the psalms were a daily part of their custom not just to read but to live out.  She was part of a family/community that was devoted to God and to the words of God.  As such, she would be actively anticipating the coming of the Messiah.  And she would have never anticipated that the Messiah would come through her womb. 


When we are attentive to our spiritual lives through regular worship, prayer, time in Scripture and consistently living in obedience to God’s word, we are being prepared for our mission.


Mary was prepared for her mission by believing God – what he had done in history and what he promised to do in the future.  Do you believe God?  When was the last time you thought about God’s activity in your history?  Take a moment and think about the times and places God has met you and guided you and provided for you and answered prayers.  You have a history with God. And doesn’t it make sense that if God was faithful in your past he will be faithful in your future too?


Being prepared for what God has in store requires that we are faithful in the “grunt work” of our spiritual lives.  God speaks to us while we worship, pray and read His Word.  How is your preparation going?


What did she have to believe?

Mary had to believe that what God had promised – the Messiah – God would do.  She had to believe that God would always remain faithful to His people.  Mary had to believe that God could come and speak through angels.  Mary had to believe that God could use a common girl like her to bring about the most significant event in the history of the world.


What do you believe?  Do you believe that God is faithful to fulfill all of his promises?  Do you believe that Christ will return?  Do you believe that God desires to use even you to accomplish his plan at this time, in this place?


How had she come to this so that she could accept her role?

We know that Mary had a few questions because Luke records that she was troubled at the words of the angel.  Her response wasn’t “Okay, whatevs!”  There were some logistics she couldn’t quite grasp.  Primarily the fact that she was a virgin.  So the angel explains.  And when he answers her with a fairly supernatural answer she then gladly accepts her role.  And you know, she probably didn’t fully understand the answer, but she trusted it.  Her words are recorded in verse 38 as, “I am the Lord’s servant.  May it be to me as you have said.”


Do you ever feel like God has promised you something or called you to do something that you believe is impossible?  Logistically you have no idea how it could ever work out?  A word of advice, say yes anyway.  God doesn’t operate on our level.  He uses all the powers of heaven to accomplish his will.  He happens to use us as well – so when we’re invited to participate, do we really want to say “no thanks”?!


Mary trusted God.  She didn’t worry at that moment about all the negative things that may occur as a result of her pregnancy out of wedlock.  She didn’t go through a process of, “Well if I say yes to God, Joseph may divorce me or have me stoned to death.  My parents are not going to understand.  I will become the laughing stock of the village.  I will be alone in this.”  Mary trusted God in what he had called her to do so that she didn’t reason all the “what ifs” out.  She just said, “Yes” and obeyed.


There are other people who said “yes” to God in this same type of faith and obedience.  Hebrews 11 gives us a great list including:

Noah – built an ark in the middle of the desert

Abraham – left everything and followed God, not knowing where he’d end up; had a child at 100 that God had promised years before; was willing to sacrifice that child; constantly believed and said yes to God.

Joshua – On God’s orders, marched and hollered around the walls of Jericho, until they fell down.

And if we’re talking obedience, we talk about Jesus who in obedience to His Father’s plan, left all that he was in heaven and willingly surrendered himself to become one of us.  He became God incarnate.  He came down to us.  His purpose?  To redeem us, to make us right with God.  He did all the things we’ve talked about in order to be prepared for God’s mission.  He worshipped regularly, he spent time in prayer and he studied Scripture.  He put himself in positions to hear God speak and he sought out God and God’s will.  Jesus knew that God’s will for him would require much.


As we gather at this table this morning we are reminded of the cost of Christ’s obedience.  His complete obedience led to complete sacrifice so that you and I could receive complete redemption for our sins.  The good news is, Christ’s obedience didn’t stop at this sacrifice, it was followed by the resurrection which gives us new life.


As you take the bread this morning, as you hold it – the symbol of Christ’s body sacrificed for you – ask what God is calling you to do.  Maybe it is to let go of something or to take on something.  Maybe it is to change an attitude or ask forgiveness or give it.  Be in communion with God. 


As you hold the cup – the reminder of Christ’s blood shed for you – until we drink it together, surrender yourself to God.  Yield yourself to his will and purpose in your life and be prepared as you depart this place this morning to go and live out God’s calling in your life.