The era of the prophets had long past. Those days were distant in the memories of many people. By this time, four hundred years have passed with no new revelation from God. Silence was all that was heard. There was no permanent indwelling of God’s Holy Spirit to help keep things stirring within every man. There were no visions. There was no one speaking fresh words which God had revealed to them. It is likely that there were many by that time who believed there would never be new word from God and that He was just stories from their long and distant past.
The stories were still told though. People still went to synagogue and temple meetings. Children were still taught what the prophets proclaimed. They still celebrated the goodness of God and worshipped His holiness. Perhaps it was growing more difficult to keep these things going, but they did continue. And, it is clear that the promise of Messiah’s coming was not forgotten.
In that day, there was a family which was of the house and lineage of David. It is likely that they took some amount of pride in that fact for everyone knew that it was this line from which Messiah was to come. But, since the time of David who received God’s promise, many branches of that family tree had formed. So many branches in fact that, it could not be even guessed just which family would be the carriers of that promise. One can be sure though that many children learned early in life that it was their family which had been promised to facilitate the messianic coming, and one of them just could be a firsthand participant in God’s plan. Mary could have been part of one of those families, however it was not likely that she thought anything of it since she was not a son and the emphasis was on sons at that time.
But, one day she was just going about being Mary and something wonderful happened. It would have been very unusual for her to have expected anything of the sort. The Biblical indication is that her first reaction was that of fear. That would be normal. For a person to have such an experience was unheard of. It would have been expected even less of a young girl. It can be assumed that there was an extremely large gamut of emotions running through her, even before she heard the news the angel was bringing. This probably continued after the angel had left.
The angel told her that God had big plans for her. The plans were not in any way normal. The plans were of the sort that could carry some extreme consequences from those who did not believe that God was doing this – and many would be available to be the skeptic. God’s plans for her would make her to appear immoral and without proper ethics. Her integrity was on the line and her future, even her life, could be on the line. There was much reason for her heart to be uneasy and her heart to be full of fear.
But, she was sure that this was of God. As all the things the angel told her came to fruition, her whole being must have been drawn toward God and her faith had to be strengthened more with each passing day. Even if there was no one who would understand, she knew that she was right in the middle of God’s work and plan. She also knew that God would protect her through each event that was before her.
That is why her response to the angel was so simple. She did not need to give a response full of detail and explanation. It was just one simple phrase. But it was a phrase that should come from the lips of anyone who encounters a word from God. “Behold, the maidservant of the Lord. Let it be to me according to your word” (Luke 1:38-NKJV). She was probably not aware of most of what this would mean. She must have had no idea that whole world would be different when all of this came to be. But she knew who she was. Mary was “The maidservant of the Lord.”
Mary saw herself as the most intimate servant of her Lord. She was ready to serve her Lord with no reservation. She was in the confidence of God. Her life was His and she wanted to do anything for Him, no matter how menial the task or what her reputation would be as a result. She was His maidservant.
It can be assumed that she was not thinking about Bethlehem, nor angels and shepherds, nor magi, nor Herod’s murderous rampage. She certainly would have no idea that before all was complete, she would witness the barbaric murder of this child she would soon carry. A trip to the tomb of her son with more angelic messages and no corpse could not have been on her mind. It is easily inferred that she had no idea of what was really in store for her and this baby to whom she would give birth. But, even without very much in the way of information, she was ready to have God do these things with and through her. She was His maidservant.
If anyone had reason to try to get out of something, Mary could have been in that group. She could have tried to excuse herself from it. She might have even begged that she would be excused from any part of this plan. Without the benefit of hindsight, no one would blame her for not wanting to be involved. She may have even had thoughts of remorse in the beginning for being so willing to take part, especially as the reality of it all began to sink in. Thoughts that we could not imagine must have gone through her mind. But the Biblical record tells us that when all was in full course, she carried a peace in her heart. She “Pondered” and “Kept” things in her heart. God must have continually given her clarity that He was working His plan through her. She knew that it was all being done according to the word of God. She was His maidservant.
Many people desire this kind of assurance from God. People every day, believing that they are following the plan of God, do so with some amount of restlessness. These have said yes to God and live out their lives working hard to make it all happen. One significant difference exists between these people and Mary. These people work to make things happen. Mary rested in the fact that God would make it happen. These say, “Yes Lord, I’ll do that for You.” Mary said. “Yes Lord, do that through me.” When we are convinced that God is doing the work, even though it is being accomplished with our hands, a peaceful assurance will surely follow.
Mary’s lesson for us is this. Rest on God’s word and know it is His work. Be His servant.
See You SONday,
Dr. SF Gallagher