As we close out the first week of this look at the book of Luke, my focus remains on Mary as she learns about the incredible task that God has for her. Told that she’s going to have a virgin birth, that even though she is young and as of yet unmarried, she has been chosen to carry the Messiah, Mary has just been handed one of the all-time heaviest missions God has ever handed out. Look at her response.
Luke 1:38 Mary responded, “I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.” And then the angel left her.
This teenage girl, faced with what sounds like an impossible task, says simply “I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.” I have to be honest, I’m completely floored by her reaction. That’s not just an advanced trust and faith in God for a young person, that’s advanced regardless of age.
One thing I often wish is that I’d dedicated my life to Jesus at a younger age. For a time it took on the form of shame, which was unhealthy, so I finally released it to God. But I use that huge gap in my faith as motivation when dealing with younger people. I think it’s one of the reasons I’m passionate about young adults ministry, because I want to help them avoid wasting 15 or 16 years of their life the way that I did. I love seeing people come to maturity in the faith, but it’s no secret that it can sometimes take far longer than it should (as in my case). And then you read here in Luke with Mary, this girl who people seem to agree was barely old enough to be considered a teenager, and she hears this massive mission God has for her and she just says “I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.”
I don’t know if you’ve ever prayed that God gives you the faith and trust level of a 14-year-old girl, but I think we could all use a bit of the spirit of Mary. On Monday we saw Zechariah flinch at God’s intention of making the impossible happen, but here’s Mary, 7 or so decades younger than him, showing how you accept an impossible mission from God. You may not understand it, you may not fully agree with it, but you just say “yes sir”, because you’re a servant, and if this is the direction that the master is sending you then you just trust that not only is there a purpose, but that He’s gonna make it happen. If we leave things in His hands and just let Him work His magic, there’s this deep and amazing peace in just strapping in and going along for the ride. Saying “If you say so, God, I’m ready and willing” is honestly all it takes. He can change the fate of all mankind with a response such as that.
Mary does something really neat next. She goes to visit Elizabeth, her relative who is miraculously pregnant with John the Baptist even though she is old and was barren. One of the coolest things ever happens here, as the unborn John, still in Elizabeth’s womb, jumped for joy at the sound of Mary’s greeting. The unborn baby knew that Mary would soon be carrying the savior of the world, and that fact blows my mind.
As they begin to speak, Elizabeth says something to Mary that I love.
Luke 1:45 You are blessed because you believed that the Lord would do what he said.”
I believe that there’s extra blessing for the obedient and trusting. Zechariah struggled to accept that God had a miraculous thing for him, and so Zechariah’s doubt bought him a slight punishment from God. It makes sense that the opposite would be true, and we see here Elizabeth is confirming that Mary is blessed because she trusted that God was gonna do what He said.
The Bible is stuffed full of beautiful promises. God’s told each and every one of us things that He’s going to do. He’s going to give you peace, He loves you, He has broken the bondage of sin in your life, He has made a way for you, He has great things in store for you, He created you for a purpose. There are so many things that God has told each of us, and yet we like to pick and choose our promises. We turn into Zechariah when we read that Jesus condemns no one. Surely that one isn’t for me, not after the month I’ve had. We turn into Zechariah when we read that Jesus has a mission for us to go out and share Him with the world and make disciples. Surely that one isn’t for me, Lord, I can’t even share my faith with my co-workers, and besides, I’m pretty busy, surely you don’t expect me to devote my ENTIRE life to serving you. We doubt Him because of fear, and rebellion, and past hurts, and self-doubt, and all of those reasons. Yet through the story of Mary and her reaction, the Bible is showing us the beauty of a willing servant. God’s showing us that THIS is how it’s done, THIS is how a follower of Him receives a promise and/or a mission.
It’s time to stop saying no to God. It’s time to accept that what we think of ourselves means nothing compared to what He thinks of us. And He thinks we’re amazing, and that we were worth the life of His son, and that we’re capable of being His priests and ambassadors in the world, and that we’re masterpieces. If you’re challenged by something God has said in His word about you, I encourage you to adopt Mary’s words as a mantra. I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.
Sometimes as I come to the end of these I’m just overwhelmed with a sense of love for anyone reading. Today is one of those days. I love each and every one of you, even if we’ve never met. God is doing a special work in those who are open to it these days, and it’s my prayer that you will open yourself up to it. This is the time to submit to His authority and go after His will with all of your might. The blessings and adventures that await those who do it are too many to count.
That’s it for this week. We’ll be continuing the long walk through Luke next week and I really hope you’ll come along. If you’ve got a prayer request or just wanna talk, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and it’ll be my honor to talk with you.