I have an invitation. Will you please join me here for the next four weeks to celebrate Advent? In the midst of your crowded calendar, I want to create a quiet corner just for you, where you can meaningfully meet with God.
Imagine a fresh evergreen wreath bedecked with festive ribbons and glowing candles is sitting on a table before us. Imagine we are sipping warm wassail from red mugs, imagine a fire is roaring inside the fireplace, and imagine snow is quietly falling just beyond the window. As you and I gather around God’s Word, let us prepare our hearts to worship Him.
Mary said Yes to God.
Mary. Multiple images play out on the whiteboard of our minds at the mention of her name. But ponder this thought: before Mary heaved her very pregnant body onto the back of a donkey, before she plodded with Joseph into the hubbub of Bethlehem, before she made do with a manger for her Baby’s bed, she made a significant choice. Mary said Yes to God.
The angel Gabriel appeared with a Special Delivery Message from God, which dramatically altered the course of Mary’s life; she would never again be the same. “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you”(Luke 1:28). Gabriel goes on, in the verses following, to offer reassurance and clarity to this youthful maiden. He articulates the specifics he had been assigned to deliver. “Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever his kingdom will never end” (Luke 1:30-33).
Then tucked in between verse 37 and verse 39 are the remarkable words we pause to consider. “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May it be to me as you have said” (Luke 1:38). In paraphrase, “So be it. Thy will be done.”
Mary said Yes to God—to His will, to His plan, to His call on her life. Her destiny was contained in her response, and I am astounded each time I read it! How was this humanly possible for one so young, so innocent?
A closer look at the text sheds light on her faith-filled choice.
Mary said Yes to God because she knew the Word of God.
Because she knew the Word of God, she knew the Person of God.
Because she knew the Person of God, she was prepared to say yes to the opportunity of God.
Her song (Luke 1:46-55) is saturated with Old Testament teaching where she exclaims the character of God, the faithfulness of God, the power of God, even the priorities of God. The significance of her response is steeped in the significance of Scripture. And here the connective gem emerges:
Knowing her God and knowing His Word laid the foundation for Mary to say Yes to God with pure, simple faith.
Luke 1: 46-55
And Mary said: “My soul praises the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior. For He has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed for the Mighty One has done great things for me— holy is His name. His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation after generation. He has performed mighty deeds with his arm; he has scattered those who are proud in their innermost thoughts. He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble. He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty. He has helped His servant Israel, [remembering to be merciful to Abraham and his descendants forever, even as he said to our fathers.”
The God that Mary knew invited her into His plan, and Mary said yes. She chose to believe. (Luke 1: 45) She chose to obey.
Living with Eternal Intentionality™:
If Mary said No, how would the Story have been different?
Does her knowledge of Scripture motivate you to saturate yourself in the Word of God? What step will you take today to embark on this adventure?
Which aspect of God’s character in Luke 1:46-55 particularly encourages you this season of Advent?
Mary’s model of saying Yes to God sets an example for you and me. Where is God asking you to say Yes?