God never operates in a hurry. He has a plan, and follows it in a deliberate manner. As He works through His plan, He also has a plan for each of us. While we can’t even begin to know how or when He is working through His plan, we can be certain that He is preparing us throughout the entire process. God created us for the purpose of glorifying God in carrying out His will and purpose through each and every one of us.
How has God prepared you to be used by Him? He has a purpose for you and desires to work His will through your life.
God had a plan as to how Jesus Christ would be introduced to the world.
“Therefore, the Lord Himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive, have a son, and name him Immanuel” (Isaiah 7:14).
Mary had no idea that she would be the virgin mother of Jesus. While it was never a consideration to her, it was God’s plan for her life. At that time, Joseph was preparing to get married to Mary, but also did not know that he would soon be the earthly father of Jesus.
Why did God select Mary and Joseph to bring forth and raise His child, Jesus Christ? We will see that as individual as we are, God communicates his will and purpose to us in different ways. Mary received her information from the angel, Gabriel.
“In the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man named Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. And the angel came to her and said, ‘Rejoice, favored woman! The Lord is with you‘” (Luke 1:26-28).
Note that the word “favored” is used here, which is also used in Ephesians 1:6–“…to the praise of His glorious grace that He favored us with in the Beloved.” God knew that He was going to use Mary in this way, for He knew of Mary’s nature and her desire to be used of God. She already had a heart for God in place. He gives us this grace and ability even before we are born, and He develops us throughout our lifetime in order that we can be of use by Him even when we are unaware of it. While it was difficult, at the time, for Mary to understand how she would be conceived by the Holy Spirit, she did understand how God used Elizabeth to show that even being in an advanced age and previously barren, that she was pregnant, “For nothing will be impossible with God” (Luke 1:37).
Elizabeth was also prepared by God for the moment when Mary would visit her as there is a declaration that the participants were willing to be used by God. “In those days Mary set out and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judah where she entered Zechariah’s house and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped inside her, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. Then she exclaimed with a loud cry: ‘You are the most blessed of women, and your child will be blessed! How could this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For you see, when the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby leaped for joy inside me! She who has believed is blessed because what was spoken to her by the Lord will be fulfilled!‘” (Luke 1:39-45).
The lesson in this is that Mary had to still endure the difficulty of being pregnant, especially during a time when it was frowned upon for women to be pregnant outside of marriage, yet, she was ready and willing to be obedient to the Lord and His will. At times, being obedient to the Lord will not always leave you in a position of popularity with your family, friends, or acquaintances. Our obedience to the Lord, nonetheless, solidifies our relationship with Him and reinforces us as His children in Christ.
Joseph realized that Mary was pregnant, and that he had not had any relations with her. He had to have been devastated, yet, what occurred next showed that Joseph was a man of character in how he responded to this matter. He was moving to a place where he would divorce her quietly until he received word of what was actually happening. Joseph was a man who knew God’s Word, and he believed the verses from Scripture that confirmed what was happening at that time with his future wife being a virgin who would be conceived by the Holy Spirit. The fulfillment of Scripture from the Old Testament prophets foretold that this would take place (Isaiah 7:14). “The birth of Jesus Christ came about this way: After His mother Mary had been engaged to Joseph, it was discovered before they came together that she was pregnant by the Holy Spirit. So her husband Joseph, being a righteous man, and not wanting to disgrace her publicly, decided to divorce her secretly. But after he had considered these things, an angel of the Lord suddenly appeared to him in a dream, saying, ‘Joseph, son of David, don’t be afraid to take Mary as your wife, because what has been conceived in her is by the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to name Him Jesus, because He will save His people from their sins.’ Now all this took place to fulfill what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet: See, the virgin will become pregnant and give birth to a son, and they will name Him Immanuel, which is translated ‘God is with us.’ When Joseph got up from sleeping, he did as the Lord’s angel had commanded him. He married her but did not know her intimately until she gave birth to a son. And he named Him Jesus” (Matthew 1:18-25). Note that Joseph, in respect and reverence of God’s plan, went as far as to avoid intimacy with Mary until after she gave birth to Jesus, because there was to be no question of Jesus’ virgin birth.
In Mary and Joseph, there was a willingness to be used by God. How willing are you to see how God can use you? Mary saw God’s plan through evidence of what was happening in Elizabeth’s life, and Joseph accepted God’s plan through evidence of His Word. Both Mary and Joseph were declared righteous by God, and were both obedient to God when called upon. Both were prepared for the moment to bring forth Jesus Christ in His appointed time (John 1:13-14).
Jesus was to be the Savior (Matthew 1:23). He was prophesied throughout the Old Testament that He would be the Messiah. Only God Himself could deal with sin and save His people. Jesus declared that He and the Father are one. The gift of salvation comes from believing in Jesus Christ as your personal Savior. Salvation is His gift, but there is a divine purpose behind it…He wants to use you for His glory and for His purpose.