Monday, December 20, 2004

Beholding the Favor of God

Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call his name JESUS. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the LORD God will give Him the throne of His father David. And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end. (Luke 1:31-33)
Having greeted Mary as the “highly favored” of God, the angel Gabriel begins to describe, in wondrous terms, what that favor was about to mean in her life.

“Behold!” the angel said. The word means “to see.” But in the Bible it is generally used to mean more than merely seeing with the natural eye. What the angel was telling Mary to behold had not yet happened and could not yet be seen in the natural.

No, the angel was drawing Mary’s attention to the spiritual. This is not less real than the natural, but more real, because the natural comes forth from the spiritual by the Word of God. To behold means to carefully consider, to focus on and give attention to. To behold in the spirit means to let the Word of God become more real to you than what you can see with your physical eyes. It is believing what God says more than what your senses say.

“You will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son.” Gabriel was using the language of the prophet Isaiah, “Therefore the LORD Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son” (Isaiah 7:14). The messianic significance of this was not lost on Mary.

“And shall call His name JESUS.” His name literally means, “Salvation,” certainly a most appropriate name for God’s burden-lifting, yoke-destroying Anointed One.

“He shall be great and will be called the Son of the Highest.” An exalted Name used of an exalted Person, and in context is indicative of His divinity. Mary was called to envision the greatness of this Child.

“And the LORD God will give Him the throne of His father David.” This is a reference to His humanity — for Jesus is fully human as well as fully divine. There is a throne and an inheritance which rightfully and legally passes to Him in the lineage of David. Again, it is of great messianic significance.

“And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.” This speak of His dominion and of His eternity. As we see later in the New Testament, there is a broadening of this house which is called the Israel of God (Galatians 6:16).

The angel was calling Mary to see in the spirit that which had not yet manifested in the flesh. Nor would it manifest in the flesh until she could see it in the spirit. The Word of God was being spoken to her, and that is what she was called to see. For that is how God works. The Bible says, “By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the Word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible” (Hebrews 11:3). God speaks in the Spirit and then it is seen in the natural.

It takes spiritual vision to see the great things God desires to bring forth in the natural. If you will learn to see in the spirit that Word of God by which all things are made, then you will be able to see the world change before your natural eyes. How is your vision?