And Mary said to the angel, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?” 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. 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. For nothing will be impossible with God. 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.Luke 1:34-38, ESV
My Mind is Blown….
Have you ever found yourself exaggerating compliments or multiplying adjectives as you write in a birthday card or a holiday greeting card? Something like, “You are the very best person in all the world, and I want to be an amazingly patient, kind, gracious, and responsible person just like you.” The person you are writing to is an exemplary person who is worthy of respect, but “the very best person in all the world”? They could be considered “the very best person in all the world” by you. But still, aren’t you exaggerating your point?
Are the Biblical authors be exaggerating compliments or multiplying adjectives as they describe God? No, they are not, but our minds fail to grasp the simultaneous beauty and dreadfulness of the Holy God. Our failure to hold together the innumerable perfections of God in our minds is not for lack of effort or desire. We are simply unable to account for all that God is due to our limitations. We certainly do know God because He has revealed Himself to us, but He is still mysterious to our finite minds.
Gabriel responds to Mary’s question, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?”, with a gracious answer that must be taken by faith. What does “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you” mean? It surely means that God is going to work miraculously to bring about His plan, but did Mary hear those words and feel as though she now understood how she’ll be a virgin mother? No. She still had questions without answers but she was given a promise from God to hold on to. She would need to believe God by faith and patiently wait for her answers to come along her journey. Isn’t that part of what walking by faith is all about? We don’t receive all the answers and therefore follow God. No, we receive a promise from God and by faith follow Him.
Object Lessons Are More My Speed…
Although Mary would need to trust God’s promise and walk by faith to understand His plan better, Gabriel’s answer wasn’t completely out of reach in the realm of spiritual mystery. Gabriel’s answer to her question of “How?” began with a promise of God’s supernatural intervention but was immediately followed by an object lesson. Mary’s attention was directed to thoughts of her cousin Elizabeth who was much older than she was, but Gabriel says she is no longer barren. Elizabeth had finally conceived because God is not limited by human weakness.
Elizabeth’s pregnancy is a point of reference for Mary to be able to grasp the Omnipotence of God. Nothing is impossible for God. Still, the impactful part of the lesson is proving God’s Almighty power at work in the life of Mary’s family. She already knows the doctrine of Omnipotence and believes it. Her Creator has not lost His ability to act as He pleases. God is all-powerful and nothing or nobody can disrupt or thwart His mighty hand, but the object lesson of Elizabeth is the gracious act of God’s power that helps enable Mary to rest in God’s God’s promise.
Take a few minutes today and look around. Your life likely has some very hard things in it, and mine does too. But look past disappointments and distractions to find the object lessons of God’s character all around you. God is Omnipotent (all-powerful), Omniscient (all-knowing), Gracious, Morally good, and Just in all His ways. Look around today for the object lessons that will help to connect those truth theological statements with your own heart. Those object lessons are there, so ask Him for eyes to see and believe.