The Cloud of Witnesses
Former title Lessons From the People of the Bible
Lesson 1: Mary – The Lord’s Servant
The Lord’s Servant
What an amazing girl Mary was. Probably a young teenager and yet someone who knew her O.T. Bible and was looking forward to the coming of the Messiah. Like everyone who meets an angel, she was completely overwhelmed when Gabriel arrived. What was an angel doing visiting her, let alone calling her ‘highly favoured’? Mary lived at a time when God had appeared absent and silent. It was a time similar to when the Hebrews were in Egypt. They were also hoping and looking for a Messiah/Redeemer – to save them from the Romans this time rather than the Egyptians – as they felt equally down-trodden and helpless.
Six months earlier, after a visit from an angel called Gabriel, to Zechariah, her barren cousin Elizabeth became pregnant. This time it was Mary’s privilege to receive a visit. Wonder above all wonders, the message was that of all people she, Mary, would be the one chosen to bring the Word of God into the world through the miraculous incarnation.
And what was Mary’s response? Humble and contrite obedience. She offered her body and life to God without reservation. She didn’t wait to have everything explained to her; she didn’t ask for more time or sufficient finance to see it through – she gave herself and trusted God to do the rest.
Mary merely asked how she could possibly fulfil the role since she was so young and a virgin. In response Gabriel gave that eternity shattering declaration and promise – Nothing is impossible with God. What words of comfort – what words of hope – what words of ultimate power. Nothing is impossible with God.
Those words ring like bells down through the millennia and God repeats them to you and me today - Nothing is impossible with God. So, no matter what you are facing, no matter how ‘impossible’ the circumstances may seem, remember Gabriel’s words to Mary – for God would say them to you today - Nothing is impossible with God.
What a wonderful reply Mary gave – the one God longs to hear from each one of us – the one that I feel sure prompted Paul to write Romans 12:1 –
“I am the Lord’s servant. May it be to me as you have said.” She surrendered her present, sacrificed her reputation and forfeited her future to God, whatever the cost might be. The only thing that mattered was God’s perfect will.
Like Mary, we all need to get to the position of offering our lives – our bodies – to God. He is looking for absolute trust and obedience from each one of us and it begins when we offer our bodies as living sacrifices to Him.
Is it any wonder that God chose Mary and indeed was able to use her for such an awesome role? Paul reminds us in 1 Corinthians 6 – our bodies are a Temple of the Holy Spirit. So, in a sense, we are the re-incarnation of God today as Jesus was then. We need to be filled with the Holy Spirit as Jesus was so that we may be the body of Christ on earth today – taking and being ‘Jesus’ wherever we go.
If Mary was blessed to be the mother of Jesus, how much more blessed are we to be a Temple of the Holy Spirit.
Mary would say to us today...
The greatest time in my life began when I gave everything I was to God – body, soul and spirit – to be used in His service.
Father, please forgive me for those times when I want all the answers before I’m prepared to be obedient to Your call and requests. Help me to be more like Mary and to offer You all I am and have without reservation. In Jesus Name and for His glory. Amen.
Matthew 1:18-24; Romans 12:1; Luke 9:57-62; Matthew 7:15-23.
What stops us trusting God?
How do we get to the point where we offer everything we have and are to God?
What does God want you to do for Him in the coming year?