| John and Linda Knape read Luke 1:34-38 (well... Linda read it. But John held her microphone!) | Benjamin J Nichols sings I Surrender All | Ben shares a meditation on the uncommon wisdom of Mary |
Mary asked the angel, “But how can this happen? I am a virgin.”
The angel replied, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the baby to be born will be holy, and he will be called the Son of God.
What’s more, your relative Elizabeth has become pregnant in her old age! People used to say she was barren, but she has conceived a son and is now in her sixth month.
Mary responded, “I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.” And then the angel left her. [Luke 1:34-38]
You will be hard pressed to find a simpler, nobler and clearer example of the appropriate response to God's will and assignments. Here we have a teenage girl who's entire world has been changed within a few short sentences.
What would this look like in our American culture today?
It would be very reasonable to expect any teenage girl we know to react with fear, uncertainty, doubt, maybe even frustration or anger at the dismissal of any expectations she had of her future. We wouldn't be surprised if she posted a selfie on Instagram #virginbirth, or started a trend on TikTok dancing to an autotuned version of Gabriel’s prophecy. She might even start a YouTube channel called Messiah's Mom. This is the reality of the culture we live in now.
Even if she were alive today, I don't believe Mary would have done any of those things.
Mary was a Jewish teenager who lived over two thousand years ago. In her culture it wasn't unheard of for a betrothed woman to be pregnant any more than it’s unheard of to hear of teenage moms today. The real shame would be when people discovered Joseph was not the father. Here Mary’s culture is very different from our own. That fact that her husband was not the father might be frowned on in our world, but it could hold serious repercussions for her and her unborn child in her day and age.
Mary’s life was completely and permanently changed.
And still, whether a modern teen today, or a teen from millenia distant Judea,
the response she gave to the news of her impending motherhood is a beautiful example of humility, God-centered faith and uncommon wisdom.
I am the Lord's servant. May everything you have said about me come true.
It makes this teenager's selection as the mother of the Prince of Peace far less surprising.
Father, give us the simple acceptance of Mary. Whatever You may bring into our lives, whatever changes You may require of our expectations, give us the grace and humility to reply like that Jewish teenager from Nazareth: I am the Lord's servant, May everything You have said about me come true.