Luke 1:37

 Luke 1:37 - For nothing is impossible with God.

Luke 1:37 | NIV (1984) | Other Versions | Context

Brief

The omnipotence of God is clearly exalted through this verse, and omnipotence as a theme is certainly not rare in the Bible. However, since today is Christmas Eve, it would make much sense to look at the omnipotence of God in respect to the very well-known story of the unusual circumstances that surrounds the coming of Christ. Amongst the four Gospel books, the circumstances leading to the birth of Christ is only mentioned in the books of Matthew and Luke; and between the books of Matthew and Luke, more was recorded on the events after the birth of Christ in Matthew; where more was recorded on the events before the birth of Christ in Luke. In Luke Chapter 1; the births of John and Baptist, cousin of Jesus, and Jesus were foretold, and much was said regarding the situation that Zechariah and Elizabeth were in. For all the importance and significance that the role of John the Baptist held in paving the way for the ministry of Jesus later on in their adulthood, the fact that Elizabeth, who was said to be barren, conceived him served as personal evidence of the God’s power and trustworthiness to Mary.

Analysis

For – When the angel Gabriel appeared before Mary, she was troubled – unsurprisingly so, for how often it is that an angel appears to you? Even Zechariah the priest was gripped with fear [Luke 1:12] when Gabriel appeared to him. There are several similarities between the angelic encounter of Zechariah and that of Mary. In both instances, the angel was Gabriel. In both instances, Zechariah and Mary were afraid. In both instances, the angel declared some unbelievable words – in Zechariah’s case, it was that his barren wife Elizabeth would bear a son; in Mary’s case, it was that she would bear a son as a virgin. In both instances, the immediate reaction to the angel’s message was doubt or disbelief – Zechariah seeking assurance [Luke 1:18] and Mary in confusion [Luke 1:34]. Well, there were differences as well – Zechariah for some reason came out of that angelic encounter unable to speak, but Mary came out of it fine.

I paralleled the two instances for a reason – Elizabeth and Mary were relatives, or sisters, and when such a thing happened to Zechariah and Elizabeth; Mary would have heard about it – and it would be far more personal to her as an illustration of God’s power and reliability. Gabriel could have cited the examples of Abraham and Sarah – a miracle which was very similar to that of Elizabeth’s; Gabriel could have cited a hundred of examples from the history of the Israelites which Mary would certainly have been familiar with – but he didn’t. Instead, the recent example of Elizabeth, a sister to Mary, was cited. For nothing is impossible with God – look at Elizabeth [Luke 1:36] – she who was said to be barren is in her sixth month. Nothing is impossible with God – the word ‘for’ tells us that this statement was a response and a justification for Mary’s doubts in verse 34. Gabriel didn’t need to cite major examples to assure Mary – her familiarity with the case of Elizabeth all but strengthened her faith already.

Nothing – If we analyse the English word ‘nothing’, it obviously means what it is – no thing. Not a single thing. In the subject of the Omnipotence of God many have picked at this word and argued that this is a fallacy as there are obviously some things that God cannot do – for example, God cannot make a square circle; God cannot deny himself etc etc – these are however examples that imply contradiction. Some miracles may seem illogical to us – like the gravity-defying splitting of the Red Sea or Joshua 10:13, where the sun stood still and the moon stopped, defying the laws of the solar system. The examples of Sarah and Elizabeth, who conceived at an advanced age after years of being barren, also defies Biology. It is important to remember that these are certainly illogical, but the logic that we speak of is defined by Men. The systems in which we derive our logic from were created by God. God does not defy logic, but he is not retrained by logic. God is beyond the depths of human logic. And in that sense, nothing is impossible with God – as long as it is not a contradiction – nothing is impossible with God, even if it appears to defy our logic.

impossible – Similar sentiments have been made in the Bible – in Genesis, in the case of Sarah, it was said, is anything too hard for the LORD [Gen 18:14]? Jeremiah also proclaims, nothing is too hard for you [Jer 32:17, Jer 32:27]. Job said, I know that you can do all things; no plan of yours can be thwarted [Job 42:2]. In the New Testament, Jesus himself preached, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” [Matthew 19:26, Mark 10:27, Luke 18:27]. Things that would usually seem impossible to us are possible in God. This is consistent with his promises, his nature, his personality, his qualities. He remembers every single covenant and every single prophecy, he makes good his word.

Mary was an outstanding woman. Having been pointed to the case of Elizabeth as evidence and having been reminded that nothing is impossible with God; “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May it be to me as you have said.” [Luke 1:38] God’s omnipotence is eternal. He isn’t omnipotent only in good times. He isn’t only omnipotent in the lives of others.

Conclusion

Nothing is impossible with God. Without God, many things are. I’d like to think that God works in ways we cannot expect, and often, things that we don’t even dream of because they seem so far away, in the realm of the unattainable, in the zone of the impossible – things like that happen, often because God intervenes. If God never intervened, Elizabeth would most likely stay barren for the rest of her life. If God never intervened, a virgin conceiving a baby would have been nothing more than a scandalous lie. But because God is omnipotent, we can draw our strength in him. Because God is omnipotent, we can put our faith in him. The nativity is significant for a million reasons. In the advent, however, we see God’s power clearly. The coming of the Messiah was a prophecy made again and again throughout the history of Israel. And in a manger some 2000 odd years ago, that prophecy was fulfilled.

For nothing is impossible with God.

God bless,
Z.

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