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Grace and the Risk in Obedience (Luke 1:26-38)

Date: 
Sunday, 17 December 2017

“Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word” (1:38).  What a remarkable statement! Is Mary aware that her statement entails risk? Does she know that her statement made in obedience to God exposes her to the risk of being regarded as a betrayer by Joseph? She will even run the risk of being labelled an adulteress and being stoned to death as a result! Is she also not afraid that Joseph will divorce her? Certainly, Mary is well aware of all these risks involved as a result of her obedience to God. Why does she dare to make that bold statement despite the great risks involved then?

Firstly, she is aware of God’s grace on her. The angel of the Lord calls her a ‘favored one’ (1:28) because she has found favour with God, and she is to receive things that she does not deserve to; she will conceive in her womb and bear the Son of the Most High, the Messiah from the throne of David which has been long promised (1:31-33). She is aware that it is by the grace of God that she is chosen to accomplish His purpose.

Secondly, Mary is aware that it is this grace of God that will enable her to live in total obedience to Him. There are indeed a lot of risks she has to face. The angel of the Lord, however, reminds her that the Holy Spirit will come upon her, and the power of the Most High will overshadow, protect and enable her to carry out His mission (1:35).

These two reasons encourage and enable Mary to exhibit this remarkable obedience. If today, God wants to use our entire life to serve Him, is that not His grace to us? Do we want to be used by Him even to the extent that we have to give up our dreams and aspirations? If we doubt whether or not we will be able to serve Him in total obedience, we can take heart that He will enable us to do so in His grace. Let us then serve Him in His grace and with the strength He gives to us.

The Magnificat
My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord
my spirit rejoices in God my Savior
for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant.
From this day all generations will call me blessed
the Almighty has done great things for me, and holy is his Name.

He has mercy on those who fear him in every generation.
He has shown the strength of his arm
he has scattered the proud in their conceit.
He has cast down the mighty from their thrones
and has lifted up the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things
and the rich he has sent away empty.

He has come to the help of his servant Israel for he remembered his promise of mercy, the promise he made to our fathers, to Abraham and his children forever  (Luke 1:54-55).