THE HANDMAID OF THE LORD

Bible Reading: Luke 1:26-38

Mary’s initial consternation over her angelic visitor was quickly replaced with bewilderment over his announcement. How could she, a virgin, conceive and give birth to any child, let alone a Son who would be named “Jesus,” which means “THE SALVATION OF JEHOVAH”? In Mary’s mind, a son was out of the question, especially one who would be great, called the Son of the Highest, be given the throne of David, and reign over the house of Jacob forever. The angel had surely gotten the wrong address.

Unlike earthly postal employees, heavenly emissaries never deliver messages to wrong recipients. Lowly Nazareth was the right address and the Virgin Mary the right recipient. Heaven was looking for purity clad in humility; and as the epitome of both, Mary was the perfect receptacle for the divine Seed.

Though impossible with men, the miracle of the Incarnation, which was conceived of the Spirit in the womb of a virgin, was possible with God, with whom all things are possible. Even today, it is still possible with God for His Son to be miraculously formed in others (Galatians 4:19). Like Mary, we too may be receptacles of the divine Seed (1 John 3:9). Now, this is not to say that we too can be overshadowed by the Holy Spirit and impregnated with the divine Seed so that Christ can be born into the world. It is to say, however, that through faith in Christ we can be born of the Spirit, indwelt by the Spirit and empowered by the Spirit to take Christ to the world.

Mary’s submission to the divine plan is truly extraordinary. Her words, “Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word,” serve as an excellent example of the complete consecration required of all who wish to be instrumental to God in bringing the Savior to this sin-cursed world. Not only was Mary aware that her divine assignment could cost her Joseph, her betrothed, but it could also cost her her good reputation, as well as her life, since unfaithfulness during the betrothal period was punishable by stoning. Yet, she was willing to pay any price to bring Christ to a lost and dying world. What price are you willing to pay?

Jim Elliot, a missionary killed in his attempt to take the Gospel to the violent Aucas Indians of Ecuador, once wrote in his journal, “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.”