2 Samuel 7:1-16
I John 4:7-21
This week, in Luke, we go back to the announcement by the angel to Mary, announcing her pregnancy. This passage is commonly call the Annunciation. Context for this is very important, it sets us up for a proper understanding, not only of the birth narrative, but also for the full human life of Jesus.
Mary is a virgin but going to be pregnant while still a virgin – immaculate conception. She asks the logical question, “How?’ Even though she proclaims that ‘with God nothing is impossible’ she still had a huge question, ‘How?’. This is the first moment when reality and eternity collide in this story, ‘but HOW?’ This is all going to happen in the reality that Mary lives in, it is the reality everyone on earth lives in, it is that reality that we live in – it a reality that demands we say ‘HOW?’
Mary lives in the agrarian town of Nazareth, population 50-75 families. The community survives by living off the land, the earth. Farming and fishing are their resources of survival. There were three essential elements of survival that must take place in each community. First, there had to be procreation/reproduction, this was the job of the women. Second, they had to have protection/defense, generally this job was expected of the men. Third, was subsistence/food to eat and sale – this was the job of everyone. Existence was a very physical endeavor in communities such as Nazareth, everyone was called in to prepare the fish as well as to plant and harvest the fields. It would be laborious to the most healthy person, but to a pregnant woman, there was no maternity leave so it was going to be brutal. Another important fact about Mary was that she was engaged to a young man named Joseph.
This was the path that Mary was on. Get married, have children, do the work of subsistence. Wake up the next day and do it again. Now, on top of this she was about to have the universal painful and uncomfortable nine months of pregnancy. In this time pregnancy was the most fatal thing a woman could go through. Mary was not going to be living in a sterilized environment where she would be pampered and fussed over, this was going to be hard, really hard.
Much like we have seen with the apostle Paul, Mary, also, is about to have her life, and her path turned upside down. She is still on the path of marriage, and she thinks she is still on the path of helping her community, only now there is a whole new destination, it was unexpected and is very unknown.
We know one other context fact about Mary however. This was a young lady that had already taken the faith step onto God’s path, long before the angel appeared. She had already said ‘yes’ to God.
II Samuel 7:1-11
The palace built for King David has been completed and now David is settling in. As he gets comfortable, he takes a look outside and remembers that God is still living in the tent, the tent where he has always lived. David makes plans to build God a house, a glorious temple. God’s response to David is the pronouncement of the Davidic Covenant in which God promises to ‘build David a house (a dynasty) and that there will alway be a descendant on the throne of Israel. Eventually, this promise is fulfilled in Jesus Christ.
Our section of this Psalm is a Hymn of Praise for the Davidic Covenant, the promise to David for the Israelites. If you go past verse 4, however, you find that it is then a lament for the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple – they will wait for over 500 years until there is a return of a descendant of David to take the throne – Jesus Christ.
This is the doxology, the closing, of Paul’s letter to the Romans. It is a reminder of the revelation they have received about Jesus, it is an expansion to the gentiles of the message of grace, it is exhortation to the believers to keep following Jesus, and it is a proclamation of the everlasting glory of God.
I John 4:7-21
I John is a warning to the believers about the dangers of false teachers and of power of fellowship with each other. This particular passage centers on the love of Jesus and the power that brings in life and in their testimony. In this time of year, and on this week of Advent, it reminds us of God’s motivation in giving his son.