Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Mary in Expectation

https://www.flickr.com/photos/peperdoo/3725681035/
Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word. (Luke 1:38)
The angel Gabriel spoke the promise to Mary, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And 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 1:30-33).

Mary did not doubt, but she did not understand. “How can this be, since I do not know a man?” she asked (v. 34). So the angel told her. Now, the promise was amazing enough, but the explanation was even more astonishing: “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God. Now indeed, Elizabeth your relative has also conceived a son in her old age; and this is now the sixth month for her who was called barren. For with God nothing will be impossible.”” (vv. 35-37).

The favor of God had indeed come upon Mary. Her response was simple and direct: “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.” The word of the Lord had come; she presented herself to God and laid hold of His promise. Her expectation was now set: Whatever the angel of God had spoken, that is what would come to pass. The Holy Spirit would come upon her, she would bear the Son of God, who would assume the throne of David and bring His eternal kingdom into the world.

As the Child began to grow inside her, so did her expectation of what God’s word to her meant. Pregnant and pondering, Mary visited her cousin Elizabeth, who was beyond childbearing years but also miraculously with child. When Mary entered the house, Elizabeth’s babe quickened inside her and she immediately recognized the significance, for the angel Gabriel had also come to her husband Zachariah, with the promise of a child who would “turn the children of Israel to the Lord their God” (Luke 1:16). “He will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb,” the angel said (v. 15).

So, Elizabeth, too, was living in divine expectation, and now the child in her womb was alerting her that the Lord had come to her home. Filled with the Holy Spirit, she said, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! But why is this granted to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For indeed, as soon as the voice of your greeting sounded in my ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy. Blessed is she who believed, for there will be a fulfillment of those things which were told her from the Lord” (Luke vv. 42-45). Elizabeth’s expectation had increased and now included expectation for the promise that had been given to Mary. At this, Mary poured out her all her ponderings in a song of praise.
My soul magnifies the Lord,
    and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.
For He has regarded the lowly state of His maidservant;
For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed.
    For He who is mighty has done great things for me,
    and holy is His name.
And His mercy is on those who fear Him
    from generation to generation.
He has shown strength with His arm;
    He has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.
He has put down the mighty from their thrones,
    and exalted the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things,
    and the rich He has sent away empty.
He has helped His servant Israel,
    in remembrance of His mercy,
As He spoke to our fathers,
    to Abraham and to his seed forever.”
(Luke 1:46-55)
See how big her expectation. It was not just about what God was doing for her but what He was doing for Israel and, more than that, how He was fulfilling the word He spoke to Abraham. This was the promise that He would bless all the families of the world through the seed of Abraham. Mary’s expectation was as big as the world. Even though she had not yet given birth to Jesus, she counted God’s promise to Abraham as fulfilled. For whatever God has begun, He will bring to completion.

Advent is a season of great expectation. A season for believing the fulfillment of all that God has promised. A season for presenting ourselves to the Lord and saying, “Behold the servant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.”



Let Earth Receive Her King
Let Earth Receive Her King
Advent, Christmas and the Kingdom of God
by Jeff Doles

Preview with Amazon’s “Look Inside.”

Available in paperback and Kindle (Amazon), epub (Google and iTunes) and PDF.