Obeying God’s Call

Key Verse: “Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.”
—Luke 1:38

Selected Scripture:
Luke 1:26-38

THE TIME HAD COME FOR the fulfillment of prophecy regarding the coming of Messiah. Isaiah 7:14 reads, “Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.”

The background for our lesson is found in Luke, chapter one. Verse 5 says that in the days of Herod King of Judea, Zacharias was priest. His wife Elisabeth was one of the daughters of Aaron and was barren and well along in age. Both were righteous in the sight of the Lord.

Being unable to bear children in those days was a sign of disfavor with God, and Zacharias, in the course of performing his duties in the Temple, took the matter to the Lord in prayer. The town people as well, had been praying about this matter. It was then that God sent his angel Gabriel to tell Zacharias that Elisabeth would bear a child and his name would be John. Zacharias was stunned at this message and did not believe it. Because of his unbelief he was to remain speechless until the child was born and circumcised.

Does prayer have its due effect? The answer is definitely yes! “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” (James 5:16) Elisabeth did conceive, but Elisabeth hid the pregnancy for five months.—Luke 1:24

The angel Gabriel then came to Mary who was espoused to Joseph of the “house … of David,” she also being of the house of David. Prophecies regarding Messiah said that Messiah was to come from Judah, King David’s line.—Genesis 49:10

Mary had not been told that Elisabeth was going to have a child and was shocked and fearful at hearing the angel tell her that she had found favor with God and would bring forth a son. The angel went further to tell her she should call his name Jesus (Hebrew Joshua, a Savior), that he would reign over Israel and of his kingdom there would be no end.

When Mary asked, “How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?” The angel replied, “The Holy Spirit shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.” (vss. 34,35) Further Mary was informed that her kinswoman Elisabeth was going to have a child in her old age and that it was already the sixth month with her. Mary may have known that Elisabeth was beyond the years of childbearing. This may have convinced her, as the angel said, “Nothing shall be impossible.”—vs.37

Mary began to understand and exclaimed to the angel, “Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word.” (vs. 38) In obeying the call to become the mother of our Lord she proved herself of the highest esteem with God. Faith and obedience are truly the marks of a true believer in God.

Meanwhile, Joseph who was espoused to Mary learned of her pregnancy and wanted to put her away. An angel appeared to him in a dream and told him to take Mary as his wife because the prophecy of Isaiah 7:14 was being fulfilled through her. Joseph obeyed.—Matt. 1:18-25

Dawn Bible Students Association
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