I am currently reading Francis Schaeffer’s True Spirituality and this book is just overflowing with timeless gems of truth about the Christian’s walk with Christ. I came across this illustration and had to share it with you. Schaeffer revisits the story of angel Gabriel’s announcement to Mary and shows us how Mary’s response ought to be the response of every believer upon hearing the Good News of salvation through Jesus Christ. What is your response? Are you born again?
The angel has come to Mary and says: “Mary, you are going to give birth to the long-promised Messiah.” This was a unique promise, and unrepeatable. There is something totally unique here: the birth of the eternal second Person of the Trinity into this world. What is her response? The Holy Spirit, we are told, is to cause a conception in her womb. It seems to me that she could have made three responses…
1. She could have rejected the idea and said, “I do not want it; I want to withdraw; I want to run. What would Joseph say?” And we know what Joseph thought later. Humanly, we could not blame her if she felt this way. But she did not say this.
2. Second… she could have said, “I now have the promises, so I will exert my force, my character, and my energy, to bring forth the promised thing. I have the promise. Now I will bring forth a child without a man.” But with this response she never would have had the child. She could not bring forth a child without a man, by her own will, any more than any other girl could do.
3. But there was a third thing she could say. It is beautiful, it is wonderful. She says: “Behold, the bondmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word.”
There is an active passivity here. She took her own body, by choice, and put it into the hands of God to do the thing that he said he would do, and Jesus was born. She gave herself, with her body, to God. In response to the promise, yes; but not to do it herself. This is a beautiful, exciting, personal expression of a relationship between a finite person and the God she loves. This is an illustration of our being the bride of Christ.
Indeed, God could have just planted the seed in Mary’s womb and not need to make any verbal promise or announcement. But the truth is that God was pleased to pay Mary a visit and proclaim the Good News to her. Let this be an example of how our attitude should be concerning evangelism. We need to go out and proclaim this news. In the same way, there are various ways Mary could have responded. But only one response was valid, and only one response revealed true faith. In the same way, there is only one response that is a response of faith, may this be our response, “Be it unto me, according to your word.”