Mary was thoroughly shaken, wondering what was behind a greeting like that.
Mary, you have nothing to fear. God has a surprise for you. You will become pregnant and give birth to a son and call this name Jesus.
He will be great, and called ‘Son of the God Most High’ He will reign on the throne of his father forever.
But how? I’m still a virgin. The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the child you will deliver will be called Holy, Son of God.
Mary, did you know that this very moment, your cousin Elizabeth, as old as she is, she is six months pregnant! Nothing, you see, is impossible with God.”
(Luke 1:26-37, combination of NIV, MSG, and author’s paraphrase)
As I began to prepare my heart for the Christmas God directed me to two different angelic accounts thousands of years apart. One angelic account with Mary when she was told she would give birth to the Messiah. The second angelic account, I was unfamiliar with, Moses and the Israelites just prior to the Red Sea crossing.
The Scriptures is full of angelic greetings. God uses angelic greetings to prepare His people for big challenges—life altering challenges. Here is Moses’ angelic encounter recorded in Exodus 23:20-31 (NIV):
“See, I am sending an angel ahead of you to guard you along the way and to bring you to the place I have prepared.”
I love how God uses past tense grammar for a future victory. “I am sending an angel ahead of you…to the place I have prepared.” A future promise for a past tense victory. I don’t know about you, but that just resonates well within my soul.
Mary and Moses had two distinctly different angelic greetings and challenges. Yet, these greetings possessed the same purpose; to prepare the way for freedom.
Moses led a million man march, a motley crew of former slaves, out of Egypt through the Red Sea towards freedom. God in is mighty way parted the Red Sea and the people marched right through toward freedom. They marched on dry ground towards freedom.
Mary, a quiet unassuming girl, became pregnant with the Holy Spirit. (Yeah right, who’s going to believe that, others whispered behind her back). Her dreams of the picture perfect wedding were shattered, because God had other plans for her. Mary would deliver the One who would deliver freedom through salvation in Christ.
Through both these angelic encounters, God reminds us that He has already prepared the way for freedom. There is freedom in Christ, but we have to take possession of it. We have to be willing to say, “Yes Lord” even when:
- It is something we don’t want to do.
- It doesn’t make sense.
- It changes our plans.
We must be willing to:
- Seek His Face.
- Take faith steps forward, even when we don’t see the staircase.
- Grasp the promise of freedom, Christ has already delivered.
I don’t know what Red Sea challenge you are currently facing. Perhaps it’s the need for a job, your health, or a wayward child. Perhaps it is a move to Texas, New Zealand, or to become an Army Ranger. Perhaps you take care of so many loved ones that you don’t have strength for yourself. Or perhaps your Red Sea challenge is your health.
My Red Sea challenge is also my health. When I was asked months ago to share tonight, I did not know then that just two days ago, I would be diagnosed with CIDP, a rare neuromuscular disease. There is no cure. But when scientific research says ‘there is no cure’, God leans in and whispers, ‘There is HOPE!’ Because of Christ we have hope!
Friends, because of Christ, there is HOPE! But we must be willing to take possession of the hope and freedom that Christ has already delivered. I encourage you today, with the angelic greetings spoken to Moses and Mary:
“Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.
I am sending an angel ahead of you to guard you along the way and to bring you to the place I have prepared.
Nothing, you see, is impossible with God.”
Merry Christmas dear friends!