Friday, December 2, 2016

An international Sunday school lesson commentary
For Sunday December 4, 2016

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(GOD fulfills HIS promises)
(Luke 1:26-38)

   In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, the archangel, Gabriel returns to earth to deliver another message from GOD. This time he visits the tiny town of Nazareth in Galilee, the home of a young teenaged virgin named Mary. Mary was engaged to marry a man named Joseph, who was a descendant of King David. Gabriel’s charge, on this visit, was to give young Mary shocking news of GOD’s plan to bless the world through her, with the “Immaculate Conception” of our LORD and SAVIOR, JESUS CHRIST, WHOM HIMSELF would be, the ultimate MESSENGER (Luke 1:26-28).
    The long-awaited MESSIAH, WHO had been forecasted by ancient prophets such as Isaiah, Jeremiah, Daniel and the likes, would be sent by GOD to usher in a “New Covenant” that would liberate all mankind, from under the dominion of sin. It would be a covenant that would allow anyone, who believes in the MESSIAH, to receive the gift of eternal life, through that “saving faith”. It would then become the duty of HIS followers to build their spiritual foundations on that “most high faith”. As Christians, they would learn to pray and communicate to GOD in the power of the, soon to come, HOLY SPIRIT, and, through regular “Holy Communion Services”, were to always remember the conditions of this covenant, under which, the love of CHRIST has called us, and then signed in HIS OWN blood.
    When Gabriel appeared to Mary he greeted her as “favored woman” (“charitoo” – khar-ee-to-o) (v.28), starling her, out of whatever it was that she was doing. Gabriel then tells her that GOD had decided to bless her with a unique pregnancy. He told her that she was chosen to give birth to the SON of the Most High GOD. Gabriel told her, in essence, that the CHILD would not be conceived as a result of the sexual passions of men, but rather, the HOLY SPIRIT would come upon her and the power of GOD would “overshadow” her.
    In the biblical Greek, the word used here for “overshadow” is, “episkiazo” (ep-ee-skee-ad-zo), and it means “to “envelope” (completely cover) in a haze of brilliancy”, and, “to invest with “preternatural” (beyond the normal course of nature) influence”. In other words, GOD would cover Mary with “an invisible haze of protection” that would allow her to fulfill her term of pregnancy without outside influence from the forces of satan, here on earth. GOD would make her “insignificant”, taking personal control of her existence throughout the duration of her pregnancy with the SON that she was instructed by Gabriel to name “JESUS”.   
    Confused and disturbed, young Mary struggled to try and phantom, just what the message of the angel meant. She wondered aloud, asking the angel how a woman could become pregnant without having sexual intercourse with a man. Gabriel explains to her that, through the power of GOD, she would conceive, by way of the HOLY SPIRIT, and that the child she would birth, would be the Holy SON of GOD (Luke 1:34-35). Suddenly, the young girl’s “confusion and fear” turned to “joy and appreciation”. She responded, “I am the LORD’s servant, and I am willing to accept whatever HE wants. May everything you said come true” (Luke 1:38) (NLT).
    When we believe in GOD, in all of HIS fullness, holiness, and eternal righteousness, it becomes easy to accept whatever HE sends our way. We then understand that HIS tests are not meant to make us fail, but rather, are sent to make us strong, so that we may become better warriors in the army of CHRIST. We can then serve HIS purpose more completely, as we, at one and the same time, try to survive in a world under siege by the forces of satan.
    GOD, is the writer, producer, director, and star, of the movie of our lives. HE already knows the outcome of HIS OWN divine production. We, on the other hand, are “that which was created”. Therefore, we are the benefactors of the brilliance and largess of the CREATOR HIMSELF. We are mere human players, who only get to see and live in one scene at a time, and so, it becomes only fitting that we place our trust in the omniscience, of the ONLY WISE CREATOR, GOD.
    Mary accepted the message that GOD sent her that day through HIS angel Gabriel, and as a result, every generation since, can’t help but acknowledge the “favor” that GOD showed her, by way of HIS bestowing on her, such a divine role, in the “Covenant Blessing Story”.
    Mary was extremely honored to have any role in GOD’s great and divine work. And, even though it was something unexpected, because it came from GOD, she had faith that it would be for the greater good. And on that day, in the tiny, inconspicuous setting of Nazareth, Mary became the first person on earth to hear the sweet name of “JESUS”, our LORD and SAVIOR (Luke 1:31). And because of this upcoming miraculous event, the world would never, ever, be the same again.
    GOD loves us so much, that HE gave to us as a sacrifice, HIS only begotten SON. And if we will but only believe in HIM, we will not ever perish, and, we can have eternal life in the glorious presence of GOD. That adds the perfect ending to the story of “the human experience” that has been marred by “the destructive fallout of sin”, since the onset of our existence. And I am once again reminded of a favorite quote that seems to sum up the “special effects” of our choice between “Salvation” and “Damnation”:

“The enigmas of life, become, at least, less baffling, when we come to rest in the thought, that this life, is not the final act of the human drama”.

    If we truly believe that GOD is in control, then it shouldn’t be hard to accept whatever HE sends our way in this life. As Christians, we hold dear, the “Divine Promise” of “the ultimate happy ending”, that has been written for us by GOD, since the foundation of this world. 

A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander

LARRY D. ALEXANDER- Official Website

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