|Photo of a painting I purchased from a Christian artist during my trip to the
Democratic Republic of Congo entitled “Nativity” © May 2015
As I was reading Luke 1 during our family “7 Day Countdown to Christmas,” I was just struck by the future tense verbs in the angel Gabriel’s announcement to Mary:
- And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come (ἐπελεύσεται) upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow (ἐπισκιάσει) you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God… For no word from God will ever fail (οὐκ ἀδυνατήσει).”
- “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her. (Luke 1:35-38)
The same Spirit which by God’s word that created the cosmos in Genesis 1 was about to overshadow the virgin Mary and by God’s word, the Word would conceive and be born as the Son of the Most High.
All of world history hinged on Mary’s obedience. The Holy Spirit will come, and the power of the Most High will overshadow, but the Lord wanted Mary to respond to this grand invitation to partake in His divine plan for humanity. God’s word did not require, but the Lord nevertheless sought, Mary’s faith so His word can do its work in her and through her.
She was at most a teenager from a politically insignificant village of Nazareth in Galilee, a blip to people like Caesar Augustus, or governor Quirinius, and the powers at Rome (2:1-2). Yet without her faith, would Christ have come? It’s a mystery we need not ponder because she did obey. She did surrender herself to God’s word and will. And God’s word was fulfilled by the Word made flesh who dwelt among us, gave death’s its death blow, and rose as the Son of God.
May we all be humbled by Mary’s example and seek to have the same obedience of faith as Mary’s (Rom 1:5). May the Lord bless you with His presence this Christmas and may His word to you be fulfilled to the fullest. Amen!