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Fifteen and Willing to Serve
by John Nadasi
based on Luke 1: 26-38

Do you remember being fifteen years old? Can you remember back that far? For some of us, the journey is longer than for others.

Some of you here today may have children about that age. This morning, try and remember what it was like to be fifteen.

Fifteen. Its an awkward time. Your body is somewhere between childhood and adulthood, Hormones are doing all sorts of weird things to your Body and to your voice. And there is this great race to grow up.

Still, at Fifteen you are not old enough to drive a car, vote, stay out late, or live on your own.

At fifteen, There are a lot of things that you are not allowed to do.

Now, close your eyes for a moment. Remember yourself at fifteen years old. You are in Junior High, Interested in things fifteen year olds are interested in. You are still a child living in your parents home.

Then, one night, there is a disturbance in another room of your house. You get up to investigate and there, In the middle of your living room stands this beautiful, Supernatural, and absolutely terrifying angelic presence that Speaks these words to you…

"Greetings Favored One, The Lord is With You."

What would you do? What would be going through your mind? Would you also be wondering how fast you could get out the back door and down the street?

Scholars tell us that Mary was about fifteen years old when the angel Gabriel gave her this message.

Gabriel continued to speak…

"Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus.

He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David. He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end."

Is there any question why the angel told Mary not to be afraid?

She had plenty of reason's to be absolutely terrified. For one thing, how many of you here have ever seen an angel of the Lord? If you have, then you will understand why they almost always In Scripture begin with "Be not afraid."

God's angels are nothing like what is portrayed by Hollywood. They are a presence that commands extraordinary power and authority. When you have been in the presence of an angel, There is no question what you have just witnessed.

This alone is enough to be a terrifying experience for a fifteen year old girl. Equally terrifying is the promise that she is about to become Pregnant out of wedlock.

You see, Mary was betrothed to Joseph. A betrothal in that day and age was much more than a engagement. It indicated a contract between families for a future marriage.

The bride and groom often didn't have much say in the matter. The betrothal might be sealed by the exchange of lavish gifts or a feast. All the family was involved. It was all nice and legal.

Mary breaking this contract by becoming pregnant with another man's child Was grounds for her to be stoned on the spot. Joseph could have killed her for what this angel was proposing to her.

She had every reason to be terrified by this news. Who on earth was going to believe such an incredible story?

Folks, even in this day and age there continues to be volatile disagreement Over the literal account of the virgin birth of Christ. There are all sorts of scholarly reasons not to believe it. Many believe this is an error that was created between The Hebrew prophesy and the Greek interpretation.

The Virgin Birth is a mystery that even two thousand years later, People of faith still have trouble accepting as reality. It seems just too extraordinary.

I am not going to try and solve the academics of the Virgin Birth For you this morning.

Quite frankly, it comes down to a question of faith, A question of faith first answered by a scared fifteen year old girl.

Could you imagine having this put on your shoulders?

Mary had every reason to be terrified. She was the first person asked to share Christ with the world.

Here was the greatest of God's angels standing before her telling her. She was told that she was to become pregnant with God's Son the hope of Israel and the hope of the world.

How would you answer?

Would you find yourself questioning if this was possible? Would you find yourself asking why God would choose you to be The instrument of salvation for the world?

If God were to tell you that the eternity of others hung in the balance Of your willingness to carry Jesus Christ, the Son of God, And share him with others, how would you answer?

Folks, this is the question that God is asking you. It was just asked of a fifteen year old Hebrew girl first, And her task was much more difficult than any of us are likely to Experience.

But the question remains the same. The hope of our world rests today on us - will we be like her? will we give birth to God in our actions and thoughts, and deeds? Will we obey the Lord, and walk in his ways?

Will we share the Christ with the world?

Mary's response was very predictable, I would imagine it would be very similar to our own.


How indeed can God work through us? - We are nothing - We are inadequate - God is spirit, but we are flesh - We are not important people, - God would not use us, - God could not use us.

Surely there is some reason that I am not adequate to the task. Surely there is someone else who is more qualified. Surely there is another person that has better experience with this sort of thing.

What makes people hesitate to share their faith? Here are some of the popular fears:

- "I am afraid I might do more harm than good." - "I don't know what to say." - "I may not be able to give snappy answers to tricky questions."

- "I may seem bigoted." - "I may invade someone's privacy." - "I am afraid I might fail." - "I am afraid I might be a hypocrite."

Perhaps the most common fear, however, is that of being rejected.

A survey was given to those attending training sessions for the Billy Graham crusade in Detroit.

One question asked, "What is your greatest hindrance to witnessing?"

Nine percent said they were too busy to remember. Twenty-eight percent felt the lack of real information to share.

Twelve percent said their own lives were not speaking as they should. However, no one said they didn't really care.

The largest group were the 51 percent whose biggest problem was the fear of how others would react!

None of us likes to be rejected, ridiculed, or regarded as an oddball.

But, it is clear that the stakes we gamble in sharing our faith, our hope, our salvation through Jesus Christ with others is nothing compared to that of what God asked of Mary.

In sharing Christ, We risk upsetting someone, getting our toes stepped on, being embarrassed.

In sharing Christ, Mary risked being shunned, beaten, and a public stoning.

In Mary's time, Her very world could come to an end for what she was being asked to do. She will be pregnant out of wedlock. Her plans for her normal life and marriage are ruined.

Yet the promise of God That she accepts is so wonderful, So utterly consuming That she completely abandons all her hopes, aspirations And dreams on nothing but a promise.

"Here I am, The servant of the Lord; Let it be with me according to your word."

Could you do as much? Will you do as much? Will you put aside your own self interests for the sake of sharing the Christ this Christmas?

Mary, A fifteen year old, Accepted this call. She fell on it with complete abandon.

Can you and I vow to do the same thing during these Holy days? Can we abandon our own self interests and share Christ With someone else this week?

If you are willing to put aside your own self interests And if you are willing to be used by God, To be a faithful witness to Christ our Lord, Then I want you to join with me now in the words Christ's mother. Repeat after me.

"Here I am, The servant of the Lord; Let it be with me according to your word."