Where can we find peace? Is there really such a place where perfect peace exists? When we feel anxiety and worry coming on, where is there hope for peace?
The E in peace stands for the empowerment of God brings peace
E empowerment or the encouragement of God: when you have God’s call on your life and you feel anxiety or uncertainty that you can pull of what God has called you to do… that is the peace of God that rules your heart and life choices.
God calls us all to live a life of perfect obedience to His Law. None of us can do it. That creates stress and disturbing feelings. Guilt is felt and real for we have broken His law.
Mary was recruited to bring God’s gift of peace to our world. Read Luke 1:26-37
The angel Gabriel visited the young woman Mary in Nazareth. His presence strikes her with terror and concern. The power and majesty of heaven entered the room. Bright light and eerie sensations of divine power filled the scene with dread. Mary is a simple village maid. She is not prepared for this visit. It was unexpected, out of nowhere, and overwhelming.
Gabriel speaks to help her digest this surprise, saying, “Hello favored one, the Lord is with you.” She was in no way ready for these words. She was not praying or worshipping God. She was not doing some type of work that God asked her do, feeding the poor, giving help at the local synagogue, etc. she was just an ordinary maid busy with ordinary duties on an ordinary day. Suddenly this angel is bursting into her world telling her God is with her. Most likely her head was spinning in confusion. She might have asked herself, “Who is this? Who is he talking to and about? Why is he here? Why is he talking to me? I am nobody. How did he find me? What is going on?” Questions and confusion whirl in her mind.
Confusion turns into fear. Time was standing still. “She was very perplexed and kept pondering” what the angel said. She was not receiving this message with any sense of peace. We cannot say she was receiving this greeting calmly. On the contrary she was “perplexed” which means to agitate greatly, or trouble greatly, it is the intense form of being agitated and troubled. She was deeply anxious and emotionally rattled. Inwardly reflecting and discussing with herself in an intense self-aware moment.
Then Gabriel tried to settle her thoughts and calm her fears. ”Do not be afraid, you have found favor with God.” What a relief! The angel assures her she is not in trouble. No! not even remotely but rather she was treasured and esteemed by God. This message greatly calms the human heart.
“Do not be afraid” is the number one command in the Bible. 365 times we are encouraged to not fear. We are encouraged that God is with us. God’s messenger is bringing news of peace not judgment. Remember if God wanted to judge us it would already be over. God sends His message of peace because He loves us.
Gabriel continued, “You will conceive in your womb and bear a son and you will call him Jesus.” This was as shocking as the visit of Gabriel.
Mary must have thought, “I am having a baby? I am having a son? I am going to name him Jesus? What are you talking about? I am having a baby?”
Gabriel revealed that this baby was the long awaited Messiah. This baby was to fulfill the many prophecies of the OT over 300.
· He will be great
· He will be called the Son of the Most High
· The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David.
· He will rule over the house of Jacob forever.
· His kingdom will have no end!
Mary now is in even greater consternation. “This baby is destined for greatness? He is going to be the lofty King of the Jews, the Messiah, the ruler of the whole world, He will be the exalted God in my belly?
She blurts out, “HOW CAN THIS BE?” here is anxiety and concern of the deepest level. We might say it this way, “Are you out of your mind?” no way is this possible. This sounds preposterous!
Why would she say that? “I am a virgin.” That would be a deal breaker in any other story. She has no possibility of having a baby since she is a virgin, right? To make this happen would take a miracle.
Gabriel brings news that greatly reduces the pressure for Mary.
· “The Holy Spirit will come upon you…
· The power of the Most High will overshadow you
· For that reason the child shall be called the Son of God”
Gabriel corroborated his message with additional proof.
“even now your relative Elizabeth has conceived in her old age and is pregnant for 6 months…”
This added encouragement to Mary’s worries. This was a word to fill her with peace.
Gabriel then concluded, “For nothing will be impossible with God”
Peace, heavenly peace sweeps into her heart. It is the peace of God! God will do in me what I could never do on my own. I am empowered by God, His promises, His Presence, His Spirit, and His Plan all combine to accomplish the impossible.
“Behold your servant, Let it be done to me according to your word.”
Her resolve and commitment is the expression of her peace-filled mind. Isaiah 26:3 “The steadfast in mind you will keep with your perfect peace.” Those who fix their mind on God’s power, purpose, promise and presence are filled and sustained with Perfect Peace. Mary was filled with that divine peace.
How can we have the same peace Mary received?
God promised Mary she would have a child, who would be the King of all the earth. Do you believe that promise? Is Jesus that King? He fulfilled over 300 prophecies proving His claim. Will you believe Jesus is the King and surrender your life to Him like Mary did?
Pray what Mary prayed, “Behold I am your servant, let your will be done in my life. Be my King”.
A. I Admit I have not served you as King.
B. I Believe you are the King to whom I come.
C. I commit my life to following you today.