26 In the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, 27 to a virgin engaged to a man named Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 And the angel came to her and said, “Greetings, favored woman! The Lord is with you.” 29 But she was deeply troubled by this statement, wondering what kind of greeting this could be. 30 Then the angel told her: “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 Now listen: You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give him the throne of his father David. 33 He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and his kingdom will have no end.”
What does a life of surrender mean to you? Would you be surprised to learn that Christians are called to live a life surrendered to Jesus Christ in both the good times and the bad? Living for Jesus can be great when we are in the good times, but living a surrendered life can be sometimes be difficult. Let’s look at an incredible story of surrendered obedience when God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth to deliver some shocking news to “a virgin engaged to man named Joseph.”
The very first time we meet Mary, we are witnesses to one of the most extraordinary events in human history. An angelic being named Gabriel suddenly appeared to her. He was unexpected, uninvited and terrifying. Luke tells us that Mary was “deeply troubled” by Gabriel’s presence. And if the sudden appearance of an angelic being was not troubling enough, consider the message he brought to the virgin Mary. Essentially, Gabriel informed Mary that the Almighty God had chosen her to conceive and give birth to the Son of the Most High who would reign forever over the house of Jacob.
Wow. Let us take a step back and reflect on what just happened. Mary’s world, in a matter of a few short moments, was turned completely upside down. Think about it. She was approached by an extraterrestrial angelic being who told her she would become pregnant while being a virgin and not yet married. Moreover, she realized her future husband, and indeed the entire community, would be shocked to learn of her pregnancy and would assume some impropriety had taken place.
Incredibly, Mary never wavered. Regardless of what people would think or say behind her back, she obediently surrendered herself to God’s will. What about you? Have you encountered a situation where it was difficult to live a surrendered life? Did you care if you were judged? Did you care if people gossiped about you or ridiculed you for the Christian stand you took?
God never promised that living a surrendered life would be easy, but we are nonetheless called to live our lives in obedience to Jesus Christ. He is an Almighty God, and we are His creation. We can take great comfort in knowing that many men and women in the Bible took a bold stand and successfully lived a life surrendered to Jesus Christ. We too are called to live our lives surrendered to Him.
Questions to Ask Yourself
- What does living a surrendered life mean to you?
- If you were in Mary’s or Joseph’s position, could you live a surrendered life?
- As we enter a new year, what changes will you make to live a life surrendered to King Jesus?
Pray for churches in the Middle East today. Pray for steadfastness, courage, dependence on God, and a burden for lost friends and neighbors for all believers in the Middle East.