Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Day 3: When The Good News Gets Even Better

Read and compare the two encounters with Gabriel and the difference between Zacharia's and Mary's response.

Zacharia responded with fear, Mary was shaken but not afraid. Zacharia responded with disbelief, Mary responded by promising she would do as it was said.

There is a sidebar about the prophesies about the Messiah's birth. Then there is a question:
What would have been the one prophecy about the Messiah that would probably have caused Mary to think she would not be the one? (see Mic. 5:2) This one talks about how the birth would come from Bethlehem, but that was not where she lived.

Take a guess from the following options at what age a young man and a young woman would be considered ready for marriage.
A Jewish girl: 12, 12 yrs. + 1 day, 13, 14 1/2
A Jewish boy: 13, 14, 16, 18

The correct answer would be girl: 12 years + 1 day and boy: 18 yrs.

An interesting tidbit on the sidebar: The angel Gabriel is highly regarded in Jewish theology in Jewish theology as a messenger from God. He is pictured in rabbinic writings as standing before the throne of God. For Gabriel to be send specifically to Zacharias implies that he was a major topic of discussion in the "board room" in heaven, an incredible honor for him.

In the next section, we're asked to stand in Mary's sandals.

*You will have to entrust yourself to God for your relationship with your fiance. Describe your emotions after you begin to process what you have been told.

Wow. As a mom I know what emotions I went through each time I discovered I was expecting, and once even as I found out that I'd been given a blessed surprise kind of like Mary. But to know how I would be scrutinized, how hard life would be for me the next several months?? I would have been scared and apprehensive, and feel as though I had nowhere to turn. Being as that she didn't explain things to her family, there had to be times when they chastised her. She was experiencing new emotions and physical sensations and wasn't able to fully share and embrace them because she could not share from which they came. She had to feel frustrated at times over this, I would think!

You will have to trust God to protect you from slander within your community. How will your child be viewed as He grows up?

I would think that knowing that He was going to be the Messiah brought her comfort and hope that He would be accepted and loved by all. I would think she would feel that her current frustrations and pains would be worth it once everyone knew that she had been chosen to carry the Messiah!

You will have to trust God for your personal safety. The penalty for a betrothed virgin found with child was
......death! (Lev. 20:10)

Something to consider: Often God does things that may seem illogical to us at the time because He thinks so differently than we do.

Can you think of a way God has does this sort of thing in your life or in the lives of others?

We were just talking about this last night at United Methodist Women..a friend of ours had recently quit her job due to lots of problems coming up there, and it was very difficult and painful for her. She recently found out that her mother may have cancer. We agreed that maybe God had helped relieve her of her job so she could be free to care for her mother.