Importance of Encouragement

Published December 17, 2012

The appearance of the angel Gabriel to Mary the mother of Jesus is very similar to the appearance to Zechariah the High Priest. Both Zechariah and Mary were consumed with fear and the angel encouraged both by telling them not be afraid. The angel also encouraged both with a similar message describing the uniqueness and mission of each child. Mary also was encouraged by the statement from Gabriel that she was highly favored and the Lord would be with her. However I believe the greatest encouragement for Mary was when Gabriel told Elizabeth, too old to bear children, was already six months pregnant. And Gabriel’s last statement that God’s word will never fail had to be very encouraging.

The Birth of Jesus Foretold

26 In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, 27 to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”

29 Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 30 But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”

34 “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”

35 The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called[a] the Son of God. 36 Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. 37 For no word from God will ever fail.”

38 “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her.

Isn’t it wonderful how God chose to encourage and comfort Mary by directing the angel to tell Mary that Elizabeth was pregnant? Mary knew that Elizabeth desperately wanted a child but thought it was impossible because of her age. Mary also thought it was impossible for her to become pregnant since she was a virgin. She even questioned Gabriel about it. Words of encouragement were effective to take her fears away. And words of encouragement gave her the confidence to state, 38 “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.”

I encourage all those that have a Bible to read about the birth of John the Baptist and the birth of Jesus. Read both the Gospel of Matthew and the Gospel of Luke.  I am confident you will see more examples of encouragement than I shared. See if you can discover encouragement given to Joseph. You might be surprised to see even the nation of Israel being encouraged.

I absolutely love the stories on the birth of John the Baptist and the birth of Jesus. Two families that were challenged with the impossible and both were encouraged and comforted by God’s special messenger.

Let me close this series on the importance of encouragement with these suggestions. I am confident you will not only be greatly encouraged but you also will become a greater encourager.

When faced with the impossible in your life seek encouragement. First turn to God’s word. If you have never read the Bible I challenge you to do so. There you will discover Jesus Christ, the greatest encourager of all. You will read story after story of people facing the impossible, yet God always provided the necessary encouragement to strengthen, comfort, and build confidence to face the impossible. Second, surround your self with family and friends. More than likely they have faced the same fears, challenges and impossibilities of life that you may face. They can encourage you with the same or perhaps even better encouragement than was given to them.

Be encouraged in the name of Jesus!


(Rev. David Larsen – Chaplain Compassion Nevada)

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