the same story.
The prophet Isaiah wrote, “Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall
conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” Isaiah 7:14
About 700 years later, the angel Gabriel visited a young virgin in Nazareth named Mary and told her
“for you have found favor with God! You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him
Jesus. He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the
throne of his ancestor David. And he will reign over Israel forever; his Kingdom will never end!”
After the initial shock and confusion, Mary said, “I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said
about me come true.” Her amazing faith looked past something that first appeared impossible!
When Mary’s fiancée Joseph learned of this unexpected turn of events, he decided to put Mary away
privately to avoid the shame of the pregnancy. But Joseph also received a visit from an angel who said,
“Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her
is of the Holy Spirit. And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save
His people from their sins. So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord
through the prophet, saying: ‘Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call
His name Immanuel’ which is translated, ‘God with us’.” Matthew 1:20-23
Joseph’s faith in God’s message was also amazing… and fearless!
A few days after Gabriel visited Mary, she visited her cousin Elizabeth who was pregnant with John the
Baptist and told her the news. Elizabeth could have scoffed at Mary’s story, but we read, “Elizabeth’s
child leaped within her, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. Elizabeth gave a glad cry and
exclaimed to Mary, “God has blessed you above all women, and your child is blessed. Why am I so
honored, that the mother of my Lord should visit me? When I heard your greeting, the baby in my
womb jumped for joy. You are blessed because you believed that the Lord would do what he said.”
The Holy Spirit gave Elizabeth incredible faith to believe such an incredible story, and she encouraged
Mary responded to Elizabeth with a song of praise which began with, “Oh, how my soul praises the
Lord.How my spirit rejoices in God my Savior! For he took notice of his lowly servant girl, and from now
on all generations will call me blessed. For the Mighty One is holy, and he has done great things for
me.” Luke 1:46-49
Put yourself in the place of Mary, Joseph or Elizabeth, and be honest about what your reaction would
have been. These were people like us who overcame unbelief, peer pressure and inadequacy, and
pledged obedience to the Lord! Common people, young and old, who believe God’s promises can
change the world, and when the Holy Spirit fills you, you can do things the world says are impossible.
Through His Word, God is telling us that the gift of Salvation is in this same Jesus Christ, and that
through Him we can do all things! Follow the lead of Mary, Joseph and Elizabeth… believe your Lord’s
promises in spite of the circumstances!