Daily Devotional: December 12
Luke 1:38 “Then Mary said, ‘Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.’ Then the angel departed from her.”
A person's identity in Jesus' day was defined by two things, family name, and community. To bring disgrace to either was unthinkable. We still honor those things today. Imagine the potential scandal that went through the mind of Mary as the angel Gabriel appeared to her. The Bible said that she wondered at what type of a "greeting" this was. Gabriel then told Mary God's plan for her was to be with child of the Holy Spirit before she was married. This plan had the potential to be a complete scandal. She could lose the honor of her reputation.
Mary's village of Nazareth was tiny. It had a population of fewer than 250 people. It was also insignificant in its day. Of all the villages for which we have a record in Galilee at that time, only Nazareth did not appear on the maps of the day. The entire village was so small that the area is now completely underneath the cathedral in Nazareth. In an insignificant town of less than 250, it would not have taken long for everyone to know her scandal.
Yet she agreed to be the servant of the Lord. Mary did not think keeping her reputation’s honor was as important as receiving the honor of bearing Christ.
She traded honor for honor.
Mary’s example teaches us that no one should consider oneself or anyone else unusable by God because of reputation or place in
society. Nor should one refuse God simply because God asks something difficult. Above all, Mary’s example teaches us to choose God’s kingdom over worldly reputation in the world. It is better to be on God’s side even when your situation seems difficult.
Israel had expected God’s Messiah to be a warrior and to lead Israel to political freedom. Yet God came as a baby, with the mother’s willingness, to lead the world to peace. God’s plan was not accomplished by force, but by the acceptance of God’s invitation by a faithful young woman in a tiny village with no standing. In the words of Mary, “Let it be to me according to thy word.” In light of the situation, Mary’s faith was nothing short of remarkable.
The incarnation of God in Christ was a culmination of Mary’s trust in God’s actions. Indeed, the original glory of the entire Christmas story was the result of ordinary people in relationship with God; people like Mary.
Mary traded her honor for God’s honor. And it made all the difference.
Rev. Tim Carpenter
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