"Step Aside for the King"
The Gospel writer, Luke, likes to give us much more than just the ministry of Jesus; he gives a detailed account of how Christ came to earth. As much as we should always look to the teachings of Jesus, we have so much to learn from those God chose to use in the coming of Christ.
You may know the story: Joseph and Mary were engaged and both virgins, and then Mary was told she would bear a son, The Son, so that salvation could come to the Jews and the Gentiles (the Immaculate Conception). When Gabriel told Mary this news in Luke 1, she found peace in some difficult circumstances. How? How could she be so willing to endure the scrutiny of strangers, her friends, and her family? Because she knew she was sacrificing all those fleeting things for something eternal. We oftentimes throw our integrity away for things that are fleeting—money, reputation, relationships, authority, etc. Mary chose to deny herself what she may have believed she had “earned” (respect and rapport) and stepped aside so the Prince of Peace could come to set the captives free.
I think one more thing that strikes me in this passage is that God would even ask Mary to throw her image into the garbage! Often, I would choose to believe that I have built up such notoriety I can leverage for God that He would never ask me to give that up. But here, we see God ask Mary to turn in her worldly influence for the sake of the kingdom.
God works in mysterious ways and asks that we live with open hands—open to receiving His good and perfect gifts, but also open to offering them right back to Him for His purposes. When He asks us to return those blessings, may our answer be as Mary’s: “‘Behold, I am a servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word’” (Luke 1:38 ESV).
Luke 1:26-38 (ESV):
Birth of Jesus Foretold
26 In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, 27 to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin’s name was Mary. 28 And he came to her and said, “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!” 29 But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be. 30 And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”
34 And Mary said to the angel, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?”
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 will be called holy—the Son of God. 36 And behold, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. 37 For nothing will be impossible with God.” 38 And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.