26 In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, 27 to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin’s name was Mary. 28 And he came to her and said, “Greetings, O favoured one, the Lord is with you!” 29 But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be. 30 And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favour with God. 31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. 32 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 father David, 33 and he will reign over the house of Jacob for ever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”
34 And Mary said to the angel, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?”
35 And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God. 36 And behold, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. 37 For nothing will be impossible with God.” 38 And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.
The Servant of the Lord
Mary understood that her body was at God’s service and so she submitted to the prospect that God would make her pregnant. God does not overpower her like the muscle-bound gods of Greece. God overshadows her and his mere presence produces life in a fertile womb. However, the will of Mary is in line with the will of God and she willingly submits herself to his designs. She does not know what the future will bring, but she walks into the future with God.
For many of us, the future is a scary thing. We want to feel safe and so we fight for control. True faith surrenders control to God and walks by faith not by sight. This does not mean that those who do it are witless. Mary would have known what pregnancy meant. She would probably have grasped that this would be difficult to communicate with her betrothed at best. It may lead to scandal. However, putting aside guilt and shame, she enters into a posture of submission.
What future might God have for you? Do you believe that it will end well? Are you open to God using you in ways that can lead to death or suffering? John the Baptist was announced to great joy, but he was beheaded. Jesus was announced in a miraculous way that would have led to great expectations, but his mother would watch him seemingly lose his mind and claim to be God. Then she would watch him tortured and killed in hideous horror. Both the lives of John and Jesus had great purpose, but the power of their lives was in contrast to the suffering that surrounded them. Are you surrendered to a God who can give you a house, a car, a beautiful spouse and family? Are you surrendered to a God who can reach the world through your suffering? God wants to reach you and then reach the world through you. Can you say, “Behold I am the servant of the Lord?”
God I am nervous about submitting to you because the adventure of life with you can be costly. However, the great price you demand is on a level with the great reward you give. What is my life about except proximity to you? Mary was filled with your presence and it caused life to be conceived in her womb. If I am surrendered to your presence, what life might you change around me?
- Who talks with Mary?
- What does he announce?
- How does Mary respond?
- How surrendered are you?
- What is God’s vision for your life?