Luke 5: 12,13 While he was in one of the cities, there came a man full of leprosy. And when he saw Jesus, he fell on his face and begged him, “Lord, if you will, you can make me clean.” And Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him, saying, “I will; be clean.” And immediately the leprosy left him. (English Standard Version)
Leprosy. Even today the word is pregnant with dread. It conjures up images of disfigured victims, rotting flesh and a life of permanent isolation. In Jesus’ day, leprosy was even worse. The physical symptoms were but a small part of the stigma attached to the disease. It was the spiritual significance of being spiritually unclean and cut off from God’s people that was the real rub.
A man, or woman, diagnosed with leprosy was not allowed to participate in the temple ceremonies or even mingle with the worshipers. The leper could not stay home and receive support or comfort from family members, but had to live outside the city and warn all who came near that he/she was unclean.
Can you imagine the emotions that the leper lived with? The loneliness? The sense of helplessness and hopelessness must have been overwhelming at times.
People avoided lepers at all costs, because even to come in physical contact with an individual with leprosy would render one as unclean, also.
Leprosy, described in detail in Leviticus 13 and 14 was symbolic of sin, which causes us all to be separated from God. It was a horrible burden to bear.
Then Jesus came and everything changed. Luke tells the story in such a brief, matter of fact way that the significance for the 21st century dweller could be easily missed. Let’s look at it a minute and see what we discover.
First, the leper recognizes Jesus as the one person who can truly help him. His need, his humility and his faith are all right out there in the open when he bows before Jesus and says, “If you want to, you can make me clean.”
He is not arrogant or demanding. He knows he is in no position to make demands. He is in need of mercy and healing.
He also has no doubt about Jesus ability to cleanse him. He doesn’t say, “If you can,” but rather, “If you are willing, you can.” What a difference.
At this point in the story, Mark, in his gospel, gives us an added detail. He notes, “Jesus looked on him with compassion”. How absolutely amazing. Jesus looks past the ugliness and uncleanness and sees the broken soul inside.
Here is the earth shaking, history changing part; verse 13 says, “Jesus stretched out His hand and touched him.” Jesus didn’t run from the leper, He was not repulsed, He touched the man. Jesus never hides from the dark places or stained ones. Those are the places he came to fix, to clean, to make new and shiny. When Jesus touches the leper a marvellous thing happens; rather than Jesus becoming unclean, the man was healed. Instantly. Completely. Perfectly. Jesus changes everything.
He is still touching lepers and making them clean. There is no life so far gone that He cannot reach it. No one is beyond redemption. There is no life so clean that it does not need Him. “All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God”, (Romans 3:23)
I know His compassion first hand. Some years ago, my pain, my sin, my rebellion drove me into isolation and dismay, but when I followed the example of that other leper from long ago and humbled myself before Jesus, He touched me, too, and made me brand spanking new. He took all the ugliness, the sin, the guilt and threw it away. I stand amazed.
Jesus is still saying, “I am willing” to anyone and everyone who needs a clean heart and a fresh start.
Chew on that thought for a while.
Luk 4:14 And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee, and a report about him went out through all the surrounding country. Luk 4:15 And he taught in their synagogues, being glorified by all. Luk 4:16 And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up. And as was his custom, he went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and he stood up to read. Luk 4:17 And the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written, Luk 4:18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, Luk 4:19to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” Luk 4:20 And he rolled up the scroll and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. Luk 4:21 And he began to say to them, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” Luk 4:22 And all spoke well of him and marveled at the gracious words that were coming from his mouth. And they said, “Is not this Joseph’s son?” Luk 4:23 And he said to them, “Doubtless you will quote to me this proverb, ‘Physician, heal yourself.’ What we have heard you did at Capernaum, do here in your hometown as well.” Luk 4:24 And he said, “Truly, I say to you, no prophet is acceptable in his hometown. Luk 4:25But in truth, I tell you, there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the heavens were shut up three years and six months, and a great famine came over all the land, Luk 4:26and Elijah was sent to none of them but only to Zarephath, in the land of Sidon, to a woman who was a widow. Luk 4:27And there were many lepers in Israel in the time of the prophet Elisha, and none of them was cleansed, but only Naaman the Syrian.” Luk 4:28 When they heard these things, all in the synagogue were filled with wrath. Luk 4:29 And they rose up and drove him out of the town and brought him to the brow of the hill on which their town was built, so that they could throw him down the cliff. Luk 4:30 But passing through their midst, he went away. English Standard Version
One does not have to look at me very long or very hard to realize that I like to eat. I like to eat, a lot. And, I like a lot to eat. I am fond of buffets, for example, if I get there early, that is, while the food is still fresh. Once it gets a little feeble and pawed over, I’m not nearly so enthused.
I like those option menus, too. You know, take one from column A, two from column B, places. One of my favorite eateries B and I frequent is like that. It’s called “Starch R Us” or something along those lines. Anyway, there’s a list of meats and a list of side dishes. You can mix and match as you like. It’s great fun. And so healthy, too…NOT!
Last weekend, Brittan and I went out to eat at a nice family steak place. As we studied the menu, B showed me an item that looked good. It said (I paraphrase, but am pretty close), “a juicy sirloin served with two skewers of grilled shrimp over a bed of rice, with tomato butter, one side and your choice of a side salad topped with garlic croutons and your favorite dressing or a Caesar Salad, along with unlimited warm soft brown wheat bread.”
“That’s it!” I exclaimed with much enthusiasm. When the waiter came to take our order, I turned to him with great aplomb and said, “I’ll have the sirloin and shrimp, please. But instead of a sirloin, I’d like a filet. Instead of rice, I’d like broccoli. No bread please. I’ll have the side salad please. No croutons and I’d like the blue cheese dressing on the side instead of on top.”
I’m guessing both Brittan and the waiter are still speechless. What I ordered was certainly based on the menu item, but was customized to my liking. Fortunately for me, there was no notice in the menu carrying the dreaded phrase, “No substitutions.”
Here in America, we’re pretty spoiled. We’ve come to expect to have our every wish accommodated. We are the mix and match generation. We want our food that way, smart phones that way, our wardrobes that way, our relationships that way and, yes, we even want a customizable Messiah. Introducing the all new iJesus. Download the features you like from our convenient app store and configure the Savior just the way you want.
“Yes, I certainly want the salvation part. I’m big on the ‘friend of sinners’. Oh, and definitely hook me up with the water into wine feature. You can never have enough of that. That ‘take up your cross and follow me’? Nah, not so much into that. ‘Let him who is without sin cast the first stone’…definitely. ‘Go and sin no more’, I can do without. As for ‘hungering and thirsting after righteousness’…well you can just forget that one too, honey.”
Desiring a customizable Savior isn’t new. We’ve just made it high tech. Take a look at Luke, chapter 4, which is where we are in our study. Jesus has been on the road making headlines, making friends, making enemies, changing lives. Now He’s come home to Nazareth and has been invited to be the guest Rabbi in the local synagogue.
I have no doubt that the place was packed. Homeboy makes good and comes back to wow the locals. That’s always a draw. Jesus does not disappoint. He begins his sermon by reading a very popular passage of Scripture from Isaiah that everyone would recognize as Messianic (see text at the beginning of this post). The coming rescuer of Israel would indeed liberate them from poverty and set them free from the prison of oppression to the Roman invaders. Messiah would set up His kingdom and restore the fortunes of the nation. This is just what the crowd wants to hear.
The synagogue is ripe with anticipation, filled with wonder and awe as Jesus reads them this favorite scripture. When He’s finished, He rolls up the scroll, takes His seat and listens for a second to the pregnant silence. Finally, He speaks, “Today, this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”
Oh yes, this is the stuff heroes are made of. Jesus, the home grown prophet has just declared Himself the fulfillment of a most important prophecy. The crowd is filled with excitement and hope. They love this guy. They love this message. It fits all their expectations. Then, in the blink of an eye, He becomes the ultimate buzz kill.
Jesus follows His announcement of Messiahship with a story about God reaching beyond the people of Israel to the nations around them. When Jesus reminds the people of Elijah raising the son of the widow from Sidon, they instantly understand that He is saying that He doesn’t merely want to rescue the Jews; He’s come to save the Gentiles as well.
Unfortunately, that message was incompatible with the desires and expectations of the people. They didn’t want a Savior of the World; they wanted a Savior for Israel. Jesus message did not fit their view, so they quickly went from adoring Him to wanting to murder Him. Jesus, though, took advantage of the chaos created by their rage and escaped through the mob.
Jesus is not always going to meet your expectations. He is not the creation, He is the creator. We don’t get to customize Him. He wants to upgrade us. There is no Jesus shaped box to keep Him in. He’s way to big, way too awesome. He is still saying, “Come to me all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” He’s also still saying, “Leave everything and follow me.” Jesus is not customizable, neither is the Gospel. There are no substitutions. He is, and always has been perfect just as He is; out of the box.
Luk 3:31 … the son of Nathan, the son of David,
Luk 3:32 the son of Jesse, the son of Obed, the son of Boaz… English Standard Version
“My favorite part of the Bible is the ‘begats’”, said NO ONE, EVER!
I grew up reading the King James Bible, as did most everyone in my generation (and all those before me). I remember when the New International Version and the Good News Bible (Good News For Modern Man in those days) first came out. We felt like we needed to read them in hiding, because we feared using modern translations would result in us being cast out of society as heretics, possibly even burned at the stake. Those were dark days.
Just kidding, except for the growing up reading King James, that is. For the most part, it was no big deal. I say, for the most part, because there were certain sections of the Bible, namely the genealogies that were virtually impossible to get through with your eyelids still open. We called them, ‘the begats’, and avoided them like the plague.
The Old Testament is peppered with ‘begat’ chapters. The Book of Genesis is especially loaded. It’s hard, when you’re 12, to commit to reading the Bible from cover to cover when you can’t get past Genesis 5 without being assaulted by ‘begats’. Heck, it’s hard for adults, for that matter.
I was well into my 30s before I finally realized those genealogy lists are laced with fascinating nuggets of information. Seriously. Stop laughing. They really are. Let’s use Luke 3 as our example.
There are two genealogies in the New Testament; Matthew, chapter 1 and Luke, chapter 3. Both are genealogies of Jesus. With the exception of a few overlaps, they are as different as night and day. These differences cause heartburn for many people, but they shouldn’t.
As we’ve mentioned before, Matthew tells the birth of Jesus from Joseph’s perspective and introduces Jesus as the Messiah, heir to the throne of David, the hope of Israel.
Luke, on the other hand, tells the birth narrative from the viewpoint of Mary, and his gospel emphasizes Jesus as, ‘The Son of Man.’
Their genealogies follow the same pattern. Matthew gives Jesus Royal family tree through the family of Joseph. Luke gives Jesus physical family tree through Mary. That’s why there are some differences, even though in a couple places they converge.
Yip, yip yippee, did I hear you say? Well, hold on, I’m getting to the good part. Geez, you’re impatient.
The royal and physical family trees of Jesus converge completely at King David. Through Joseph, the line goes back via the kings of Israel. Through Mary, the line goes back by way of David’s son, Nathan. Still with me?
Here’s the nugget; Solomon, the king who followed his father, David; and Nathan, had the same mother, Bathsheba. Now that’s cool.
Genetically, Solomon and Nathan are identical. Jesus human and kingly lines both make Him, The son of David. He is the heir to the throne legally, spiritually and physically. God covered all the bases. Wow!
One more tidbit and I’ll let you rest. Solomon and Nathan both were born from a relationship that began in a very ugly fashion. Frankly, it was sinful and disgusting. Yet is has this incredible, glorious happy ending that only God can bring about.
Bathsheba was married to a gentile, Uriah, the Hittite. Uriah was a war hero, a close personal friend of David’s, and a neighbor. David had an affair with Bathsheba that resulted in her becoming pregnant by the king. As a part of the cover up, David arranged for Uriah to be killed, then he married the widow.
The story of David and Bathsheba is as ugly and sordid as anything that could ever come out of the mind of Hollywood. Truth really is stranger than fiction.
Anyway, God dealt harshly with David and the child died in infancy. David repented of his actions and begged God for forgiveness. You can read that repentance in Psalm 51 (my favorite chapter in the Bible). God heard David’s prayer and forgave him completely. So completely, that the next King, and ultimately the Savior of the World came from the offspring of that marriage.
If God can take a soap opera like David and Bathsheba and turn it into the salvation of the human race, just think what He can do with the soap opera that is my life; or yours. All we need to do is follow David’s example and return to Him.
See? I told you there was gold in them there hills. What other good stuff can we find in the ‘begats’? I guess you’ll just have to stay tuned and find out. Or better still, study it for yourself. The trip is worth the fare.
Outside of Joseph and Mary, the very first humans to lay eyes on the Christchile were Bethlehem’s shepherds. How absolutely marvellous and appropriate that is, and on multiple levels.
On a similar night, a thousand years before, another shepherd was called from these same fields to receive God’s message and become King of the Jews. His name; David, son of Jesse. Now, the heirs of David’s first occupation were the first to gaze upon the heir to David’s throne. This King’s reign however, would not be limited to 40 years like His ancestor. As the prophet Isaiah had said, “And of His kingdom, there shall be no end.”
In the first century, outside of Jerusalem, Israel was still primarily an agrarian society. Sheep and goats, along with cattle and donkeys, were the primary symbols of wealth. Shepherds tended to be servants, men too old to go to war anymore or the youngest sons of the landowners. They were men and boys of little station, yet given the awesome responsibility of guarding and guiding the wealth of the nation.
Sheep and goats are far from the stupid creatures they have been portrayed to be over the years. As someone who has owned many of them over the years, I can attest to the fact that they are quick learning and crafty creatures. In fact, it is said that a sheep can remember a human face for up to two years.
While not stupid by any stretch of the imagination, sheep and goats are, however, prone to wander. They don’t pay attention to their surroundings and are easily lost. They are also prey animals, hunted by creatures as diverse as hawks, owls, bears, wolves and lions. It was the shepherd’s responsibility to keep the flock safe from themselves and from the many predators roaming the hillsides and the skies surrounding Bethlehem.
Shepherds were not men of standing, but they were frequently courageous. David, himself, described how as a boy, he was forced to tackle both a lion and a bear in defense of his father’s flocks. And it is these men who are the very first to see the Savior and carry the good news of His arrival. They were nearly two years ahead of the Wise Men.
By the time the Magi arrived with their gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh, Jesus was a toddler and the shepherds had already spread the message of the Messiah’s arrival to the surrounding villages.
Not much has changed in the last 2,000 years. It seems that the wealthy, the important, the positioned in society, take a little longer than the ordinary citizen to catch on to God’s truth. It’s not that they are bad people, at least not any worse than anyone else, but on occasion, money, privilege and power distract their possessors. The rest of us, having fewer speed bumps, are able to get on board a little faster.
The good news is, the Wise Men, did catch on and did follow the star and did arrive at the party. Sure they were a bit late, but it’s never too late.
God is still calling shepherds and Wise Men to meet his Son. Young and old, male and female, from all races and languages we are invited to sing with the angels, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth, peace, good will towards men.”
And so it was, that while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. Luke 2:6,7 King James Version.
Just in time for Easter: The Christmas Story. How convenient is that? As we focus on the Passion and Resurrection of the Christ, it’s a great time to reflect on some of the events surrounding His birth.
The only narratives regarding Jesus’ birth, are found in Chapter 1 of Matthew and Chapter 2 of the Gospel of Luke and they record totally different aspects of the event. They don’t contradict each other, but rather tell the story from different angles. Matthew gives us some of the events from Joseph’s perspective, while Luke (the detail obsessed doctor) gives us much more information, and does so from Mary’s view.
Luke, Chapter 2, is the first chapter of the Bible I remember memorizing as a child; King James version, of course. To this very day, I still love the poetic, lyrical rhythms of that translation of this particular chapter.
I want to focus our attention on verses 6 and 7, if you have a minute. These two short verses, tell us many things about Jesus arrival, some of it counter to what we may have thought all our lives.
‘ She wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.” There are so many layers in this one sentence that it’s hard to know how many of them to peel back.
It seems to me that growing up, I had this idea that Mary’s labor pains caught everyone by surprise and that she and Joseph were scrambling around trying to figure out what to do. ‘….wrapped him in swaddling clothes’ suggests something quite different. These strips of cloth were not scraps left laying around the barn. Every baby born was wrapped in these. I would almost compare them to a combination diaper/receiving blanket kit. The point is, Mary and Joseph were not surprised by the onset of labor. They travelled from Nazareth to Bethlehem because they had to and they knew full well that the baby would arrive while they were out of town. They came prepared. They had their ‘diaper bag’ kitted out so that wherever they were when labor hit, they would be ready to handle the situation.
‘…because there was no room for them in the inn.’ For some reason, I get the impression that there are still folk who have the notion that Mary and Joseph were poverty stricken, homeless and in despair and were forced by their situation to hole up in a stable. That’s not exactly the case. In point of fact, we don’t know anything about Joseph’s and Mary’s financial situation. We know Joseph was a carpenter of Royal Descent and they lived about 70 or so miles north of the family home. The reason Jesus was ‘laid in a manger’ was because there was no room for them in the inn. The census had caused an influx of visitors to the village and the hotel was full. The No Vacancy sign (or it’s equivalent) was in the window.
The sad part to me was not the absence of hotel space, but that no one MADE room. Here is Mary, clearly ‘great with child’, and not one person said, “Oh my, here take my room,” or, “you know what, we’ll crowd you into our space with us.” They were all so busy, so focused, dare I say it, so selfish, they left the expecting couple in the streets to fend for themselves.
I can’t help but wonder how many ‘Marys’ we pass each day, who need a bed, a room, a meal, some water, a dollar, a hug, or maybe just a smile, but there’s no room in our day or our hearts to notice anything but our own needs.
You know who did make room? The cows moved aside, the goats stepped to the back of the stable, the sheep left their feed trough, the donkeys walked away. Even the snake slithered into his hole and made room for the Creator. The created world recognized their Lord and rejoiced to see Him, while the people, the humans created in His image had ‘no room’. The apostle John, in the first chapter of his Gospel put it this way, “He came to that which was his own, and his own people did not receive Him.’
Before this night was over, angels would sing, shepherds would marvel and the very stars of heaven would shine down in worship of the Word who became flesh. The citizens of Bethlehem, though, revelled the night away, or slept blissfully in their own little self centered worlds.
Those of us who are Believers, know that Jesus is coming back. His first trip began in obscurity and ended in a cocktail of gore and glory. There was no room for him to be born in Bethlehem, so He was laid in a manger. There was no room for His message in Jerusalem so they nailed Him to a cross, There was no room for Him to be buried, so He was laid in a borrowed grave. There was no room for Him in the grave, because He is Life itself, so He rose.
Even today, there is no room for Him. There is no room for Him in the School House and there is no room for Him in the Court House. There is no room for Him in the public square or in the city park. Is there room for Him in MY house? In Your house? What about in our hearts?
Mary and Joseph knew the time was near for the baby to be born and they were prepared. The place and time didn’t matter, they were ready for any circumstance. They had their ‘swaddling clothes’ all in order. When He returns, this time in triumph rather than obscurity, I wonder how many of us will be prepared, or whether or not we’ll have room at all? I choose to be ready. I hope you make that choice, too.
Luke 1:35 And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born[e] will be called holy—the Son of God… 38 And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant[f] of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” (English Standard Version)
Right in the middle of Luke Chapter 1 (verses 26-38) we are introduced to the remarkable young woman, Mary of Nazareth, who is to become the mother of the Savior of the world. We can’t help but be impressed by her faith and willingness to be obedient to God, despite the fact that much of her encounter with the angel, Gabriel, probably made little sense to her at all.
While I believe that many Roman Catholics overstate Mary’s importance and role in God’s plan of redemption, I believe that many non-Catholics underestimate her. I find her faith and obedience to be on the same level as some of the other great heroes of the Bible, like Abraham, Joseph, Daniel and Ezekiel who were asked to make great sacrifices of faith and were blessed because of their obedience.
Mary is probably somewhere between 14 and 20 years old when Gabriel visits her. For the sake of argument, let’s make her 17. She comes from a tiny, backwater town in the most remote province in the nation. She is from the tribe of Judah, is engaged to a Carpenter named Joseph, also from Judah, and she is related, probably through her Mother’s family, to an elderly woman called, Elizabeth who is from the priestly line of Levi and is married to a priest, Zechariah (this will all be important later in our study, so take note). That, my friends, is pretty much all we know about Mary at this point. We are about to learn, though, that this teenage hick from the sticks, is one of the all-time great heroes of faith.
As an aside, I believe that Mary was one of the original sources Luke uses in his research. The first several chapters of the book, and then again some of the very personal information near the end, sound like they come from Mary’s perspective. If she was a middle teen when she the events of chapter 1 occurred, she would have been in her mid-seventies at the time Luke wrote his Gospel.
Alternatively, the source could easily be one of her other sons. After all, two of her sons, James and Jude, were leaders in the early Church and even wrote books of the Bible. They were not much younger than Jesus and would easily remember Mom’s stories about their older brother.
But I digress. Let’s go back to Mary’s chat with Gabriel and see the signs of her great faith. Let’s start with the fact that Gabriel greets her by calling her the ‘favored one’ (verse 28). Luke writes that this ‘troubled’ her. She’s probably thinking, “I’m sorry Mr. Angel, but you have reached the wrong number. You are in Nazareth; you are probably looking for another Mary, maybe in Jerusalem. Mary’s a common name, it’s a mistake easily made. No harm. No foul. Enjoy the rest of your day and good luck finding that other girl.”
She’s also likely scared out of her mind. I don’t know whether or not you know this, but Angels appearing to teenage girls in Nazareth was not an everyday occurrence. In fact, the last time it happened was…NEVER!
In a fascinating case of irony, after assuring Mary she doesn’t need to be afraid, Gabriel gives her a message that was sure enough going to scare the daylights out of her. He tells her that she is going to have a baby. This baby is going to be extraordinary. He is going to be the long awaited Messiah and savior of the human race. Gabriel even tells Mary that God has picked out the boy’s name, “Jesus.”
Put yourself in Mary’s position for a few moments. Can you even imagine all the thoughts and emotions that must have been running through her? “Me? Who am I? I am just a girl from Nazareth. Saviors don’t come from people like me.”
Her one vocalized question is insightful. It does not come from doubt, but logic. Mary asks, “How can this be since I am a virgin?” You see, she might come from Hicksville, but even in Nazareth they knew where babies came from. And Mary knew she was not, nor had ever been, sexually active.
At this point, Gabriel reassures her, that little things like biology are not a problem for God. The One who formed the universe and created the human race would have no trouble suspending the laws of nature and normal reproduction. This Jesus would be a ‘miracle baby’ in every sense of the word.
Oh the thoughts that must have run through Mary’s mind, when she heard the angel’s message. “No one will believe this. No one.”
The town gossips would be one thing. In a small town things like pregnancies would not go unnoticed. Of course, she wouldn’t be the first girl who ever turned up pregnant during her engagement. Under normal circumstances, she and Joseph could just get married, leave town and let the tongues wag behind them. In a new city, they could start over and no one would be the wiser.
These, though, were not normal circumstances, and Joseph was the problem. Regardless of what the town busybodies would think, Joseph would know this was not his child. Of all the people in the world, he was the one who would be certain of the fact that he and Mary had not been together. It was in his power to have her stoned to death as an adulteress. Her life was literally in Joseph’s hands. If he did not believe her, she was as good as dead.
So here she is, being told she was to return home and tell as farfetched a tale as had been ever heard in Galilee. Her very life is in the balance. What could she say? What would you say? What would I say?
Mary somehow reached down into a place of faith most of us never go and replies, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord. Let it be to me according to your word” (verse 38).
Wow! Mary doesn’t keep testing the message, like Gideon did. She doesn’t try to talk God out of the plan, like Moses did. She doesn’t try to hide like Saul did when he was chosen to be king. On the contrary, Mary takes the path of Abraham, when he is asked to sacrifice Isaac. She follows in the footsteps of Daniel who, when forbidden by the King to pray, goes straight home and has a prayer meeting. Mary says, as John Lennon and Paul McCartney would paraphrase some 1970 years later or so, “Let it be.”
God is still using ordinary people from backwater towns and He is using celebrities with high profile platforms to do remarkable things to change the world. In fact, He would love to use YOU. Oh, you won’t be giving birth to Messiah, but you can heal a hurt. You can feed a hungry mouth or embrace a broken soul. There is much He can do through you. He’s just waiting for you and me to say, “Let it be.”