“For nothing will be impossible with God.” (Luke 1:37)
You are probably familiar with the spy thriller film series, Mission: Impossible. To date, there have been six films in which Ethan Hunt, the main character, goes on a different mission. Take a moment to ponder that. Mission: Impossible. Six different missions. The missions don’t seem to be impossible after all!
The way God entered the world and prepared the way for his arrival, on the other hand, was impossible. At least it seemed to be. God promised he would send one final messenger, before Messiah. The fact that there would be a messenger wasn’t impossible. Just the way he would come. A woman named Elizabeth conceived in her old age—much older than the prime childbearing years. Her child? John, the final messenger. God overcame the laws of nature and did the impossible.
With Messiah, however, God upped the ante. This time, he would use a virgin, a woman who had never been with a man. That woman was a poor, unwed teenager named Mary. When Mary questioned the angel who foretold Jesus’ birth, “How can these things be?” The angel replied, “Nothing will be impossible with God.” Nothing.
Later in life, Jesus had a discussion with his disciples about how hard it was for rich people to be saved. Some thought, “If rich people—the most important and successful people in our society—can’t be saved, then how can anyone be saved?!” Jesus’ response harkened back to that simple yet wonderful news the angel declared to his mother all those years ago: “With God all things are possible.” In other words, if salvation is up to people, no one will be saved. Thankfully, it’s not up to people. It’s up to God.
That’s the whole point of the virgin birth. Salvation would not—could not—be a human work. It would be a total, complete work of God for us, from start to finish. From conception to cross. Does it seem too good to be true? Impossible even? With God, it’s not impossible after all.
Scripture and Reflection Questions
Read Luke 1:26-38
- How do you think you would have felt or responded had you been in Elizabeth’s shoes? In Mary’s?
- Do you see your salvation as God overcoming the impossible? Why or why not?
- What is something hard going on in your life right now that is simply too much for you to handle How can you trust God today in the midst of this seeming impossibility?