In Luke 1:34, 35, we read that when Gabriel came to Mary, she quite naturally asked him, “How can this be? I am a virgin. How can a virgin have a baby?” The angel replied, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.” The Holy Spirit always brings the power of God to us (See Acts 1:8 and 10:38). As the Spirit of God came on Mary to produce Jesus in her, so the Spirit comes upon us primarily to produce Christ in us. That is the clearest guideline you can have to understand the ministry of the Holy Spirit in our life and in our service for the Lord. As it took time for that body to grow inside Mary’s womb, it will take time for Christ to become manifest in our lives too.
In Luke 1:37, we see a lovely promise, “Nothing will be impossible with God.” (“No word that God speaks will be without power.”) If God has spoken a word, you can be sure that there is power in it. When God said, “Let there be light”, something happened. We see that throughout Genesis 1. No word from God is powerless. This is why it is important that we study God’s Word and claim its promises. Here is a powerful promise: “Sin shall not rule over you” (Romans 6:14). That will become true in your life, if you believe it, for no word from God can be powerless.
God wants us to believe that everything is possible for Him. That was why He stated this at the beginning of both the Old and New Testaments (See Genesis 18:14 and Luke 1:37). When we begin our Christian life our faith in the Bible as God’s Word may be blind faith. But it should not remain as blind faith. If we claim the promises of Scripture, we can prove in our life that nothing is impossible with God. Then our faith that the Bible is God’s Word will become a proven faith, for we would have tasted and experienced that no word of God is powerless. Jesus never questioned the Old Testament. He was not bothered by what all the critics and theologians said. He believed it and He experienced its power. Today, the devil is leading so many people astray from such simple faith. Instead of believing God’s Word and thus experiencing power, they go use their cleverness, and try to analyse Scripture and waste their entire lives without once experiencing the power of God. How do you want to live? Do you want to live analysing Scripture or experiencing the power of God through it? The choice is yours.
Mary submitted to God’s Word and said, “Let it be done to me according to Your word.” (Luke 1:38). I am a great admirer of Mary (even though I am not a Roman Catholic) because she was such a godly young woman. God looked all over Israel to find one young woman who was really godly; and He found Mary, who was probably only about 18 years old at that time. Read Luke 1:46–55 and see how mature she is and how steeped in Scripture her song is. It is amazing how mature one can become even by the age of 18, if a person is God-fearing. God doesn’t make any mistakes in the persons He chooses. Mary knew that everyone in Nazareth would spread scandalous stories about her when they knew she was pregnant. No-one would believe that this was the work of the Holy Spirit. And she was willing to suffer that reproach – to bring forth the body of Jesus from her body. Now apply that to your life. Do you want to build the body of Christ in your town? Do you want honour for that or are you willing to suffer “the reproach of Christ”? God does not support those who seek for honour in His work. Such people will only build a congregation, not the body of Christ. Building the body of Christ will always bring reproach, misunderstanding, wagging tongues and gossip – as Mary faced in Nazareth. But all that didn’t bother her. She still brought forth the body of Christ. And so it is even today. The body of Christ will come forth where people are willing to “go outside the religious camp of denominational Christendom and bear His reproach” (Hebrews 13:13).
SI Moderator - Greg Gordon