“Confused and disturbed, Mary tried to think what the angel could mean. “Don’t be afraid, Mary,” the angel 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!” – Luke 1:29-33
What do you picture when you think of Mary and Joseph? One of the first things that would come to mind is the Nativity scene looking lovingly over their newborn baby, Jesus. Though Joseph and Mary would’ve certainly been filled with joy at Jesus’ birth—particularly with their knowledge that He would save His people, the nativity scene does not tell the whole story.
The gospel of Luke tells the story of Mary. In Luke 1:28-34, we learn that the angel Gabriel appeared to Mary, and she was “confused and disturbed.” The ESV says “greatly troubled.” The angel reassures her by saying, “Don’t be afraid, Mary,” After listening to Gabriel’s words and absorbing their meaning, Mary surrendered to the will of God completely.
Likewise, Joseph was troubled about the situation with Mary. Can you imagine the conversation between Mary and Joseph? Mary probably told Joseph to sit down, and then blurted it out: “Joseph, I am going to tell you something and I don’t want you to go off the deep end, okay… I’m pregnant…by the Holy Spirit.” Joseph is calm on the outside, but his mind is racing on the inside. Either Mary was not pregnant, but crazy; or she is pregnant and she’s lying. Joseph must have anguished over the best lawful way to respond and decided to divorce Mary quietly unwilling to expose her to shame. But an angel of the Lord spoke to Joseph and again we heard, “Do not be afraid.” Joseph, too, surrendered to the will of God and immediately did as the angel commanded. (Matthew 1:24)
No one had ever faced this kind of dilemma before. There was fear and doubt. But their faith and trust in God quickly overcame their fear and doubts. With each new encounter with fear, God is teaching us more faith and more trust. Jesus wants us to turn our fear over to Him. Replace that fear with the love, power and promises of God. His presence is the answer to our fear. Fight fear with a faithful God.
Fear is a feeling, and it will pass if we address it for what it is. The reality is that Christ is with us and He is at work in and through us. He is on our side, protecting us always just as He did with Joseph and Mary.
- When worry, fears, and concerns try to overwhelm you, what do you do in response?
- Can you recall times in your life when you gave an all-consuming worry to the Lord? What happened?