Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Bethany Bullet - December 11, 2012

You know Gabriel is an angel on the go in Luke’s Gospel. Last weekend, we found Gabriel bringing news to Zechariah of his wife’s impending pregnancy and in this 2nd week of Advent we find him being sent to share the same news to Mary.

I wonder if Gabriel ever wondered as to why? Maybe he even inquired of God as to why He was being sent in the first place?

“Master you’re in charge and it is my delight to do your bidding; but these humans are very predictable. I am wondering if this assignment will be like the others. Zechariah, just as Abraham and Sarah did when told they would have a son in their old age, scoffed at the word brought by the Angel of the Lord.  Barren births seem to get that reaction. I know you’ve opened wombs before, your people ought to recall these incredible events. Rachel and Hannah might be my personal favorites. They, as their husbands, were shocked and surprised to be sure, they had both been barren so long and both wanted a child so bad. They prayed fervently. When it finally happened, after it looked as if it never would, they didn’t question they simply rejoiced. Maybe that’s the better route? A surprise baby they seem to deal better with that than a prophesied one.

You’re smiling LORD….what do you mean it would really be a surprise? Aren’t they all?  When we bring a promise that a barren women shall conceive their husband’s child so late in life their always curious. 

What do you mean the woman you’re sending me to isn’t barren?
Not old either? How big a shock can it be? Young married women have babies all the time.

Not married?

A virgin? I’m going to a virgin?  I’m sorry but maybe I’m starting to understand them because I don’t understand this Lord. How is a virgin going to conceive?

‘The Holy Spirit will come upon her and the power of you Oh Most High will overshadow her.’

May I ask Lord, I know she will, what kind of child will it be? 

Excuse me?

He’s going down there? As one of them? 

‘The one to be born of her is the Holy One, Your own Son?  The time has fully come.  I am the LORD’S servant, May it be as you have said.’”          

Obviously I don’t know, I wasn’t privy to the parlance of eternity and no Scripture records such records.  But I do wonder. Barren births, miraculous as they were, were not a rarity in the Biblical story. Occasionally they took place. Sometimes following God’s verbal promise, sometimes following God’s gracious answer to prayer, but there are several accounts in Scripture. There is however only one virgin birth. Advent so to speak begins in Mary’s womb. 

Through nine months of gestation, and ages of promise upon promise to generations, God Himself is getting ready and preparing to enter the world as a servant in His Son Jesus Christ. I don’t know, maybe the angels wondered if this was the best plan. Was there talk around the cool waters of the river of life, “Did you hear what He is planning. Can you believe what He is going to do? You know how many times I’ve told people to fear not, I fear for what they might do to him.”  Yet, they serve.  He Himself served!  The God of eternity, the second person of the Trinity, He who is holy takes on flesh and joins humanity. 

In Christ Jesus God and man are one person. Equal to His Father in regards to His divinity and yet similar to his brothers and sisters in regards to His humanity, save He is without sin and without a human conception. This He takes on so that, born in the most unlikely of manners, He might serve in the most unlikely manner of all. As the old German hymn puts it,

“To this world of fears he came, to serve as healer, mender; through his death we heaven claim, there to reign in splendor.”  To serve is why He came, in fact He said so himself.  I have come NOT TO BE SERVED BUT TO SERVE and to give my life as a ransom for many. 

Like his boss, Gabriel goes to serve, to serve as prophetic messenger to the woman pledged to marry Joseph; to serve as personal assurer to Mary that God is at work. For her part, Mary like her babe, willingly, humbly, and faithfully offers herself in service to heaven’s purpose. “I am the Lord’s servant may it be to me as you have said.” On the one hand Mary learned about humble willing service when the Creator of the universe who made everything from nothing in just six days would Himself develop in her womb for a period of 9 months. On the other hand the Baby to whom she gave birth and the Man who she helped to raise learned about humble willing service every time He saw His mother and remembered the day she said, “Thy will be done through me.”   

The Character of Advent is service. Service that simply says that which seems most unlikely of all, Lord whatever it is, use me - I am your servant.
-Pastor Kevin Kritzer


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