Third Sunday of Advent
Scripture: Luke 1:26-38
In the sixth month, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”
Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end.”
“How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”
The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be barren is in her sixth month. For nothing is impossible with God.”
“I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May it be to me as you have said.” Then the angel left her.
There must be a hundred ways to say "OK."
There's the Decidedly Enthusiastic OK: "I'm totally amped up and ready to roll! Can we start yesterday!"
We also have the good friend's Reluctant OK: "I'm not sure this is going to work out and I have a hundred unansered questions, but I'm willing to give it a shot if you really want me to. Just let me get my helmet first."
Good friends also sometimes (thankfully) break out the Cuckoo Bird OK: "Really, I can't believe you just said that out loud, and I'm sure you just need a little less caffeine or a lot more sleep, but that has to be the most ludicrous, half-baked, delusional, pudding-headed thing I've ever heard."
There's also the coworker's Passive-Aggressive OK: "I am sure you are wrong and I am right, but I will agree with you anyway just so everyone can see how wrong you are when this whole thing turns into a monumental disaster."
And we can't forget mom or dad's Exasperated OK: "I dont have the energy to say no anymore so, fine, you win, you can have your friend come over and play even though I'm sure it will lead to hours and hours of mind-numbing noise and a probable trip to the emergency room to remove the legos from my feet when I step on them later tonight."
What a powerful phrase! I cannot think of many other two-letter phrases that are so packed with potential meaning. With two simple letters we can express exasperation or enthusiasm, cynicism or concern, doubt or delight. In thinking about Christmas, and today about Mary's part in particular, we might ask -- of the hundreds of ways to say "OK" to God's strange request, how did Mary say it?
Then Mary said, “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.” (Luke 1.38)
Thi is no run-of the mill "OK" -- this is an "OK" that is filled with enthusiasm. Certainly Mary had questions, but she knew that if God was involved, she ultimately had nothing to fear. Mary's "OK" was a blessing to all mankind. This young girl's faithful response to a very unexpected request from God reversed the "OK" another virgin spoke to very different, very fallen angel in the garden of Eden. Through Mary's "OK" to God, the incarnation took place, God became flesh and walked among us; he bound our brokenness and healed our wounds. He ultimately wen tto the cross where salvation was bought and delivered to you and me. Thank God for Mary's decidedly enthusiastic "OK".
She Said “OK”
Even when the cost was great.
Obedience to God must be all-inclusive; nothing from the world’s path can be clung to. When we say "OK" to God, we cannot do it tentatively or half-heartedly. Many of us say ok to God but still cling to our old ways, like a captain clinging to the wheel of a sinking ship! Do not cling tightly to the things of this world. When you say OK to God, let it stick. Let it be real. Let it be complete.
“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” (Romans 8.18)
Even when the outcome was not certain
The unknown road with God leads to a sure destination. It is vastly superior to the known destination apart from Him. You may not know what dangers lurk around the next corner, but you do know the One you are walking with -- and He will overcome any obstacle if you stay close to Him.
“The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3.9)
Even when the road was long
There is no shortcut to glory. There is no microwave in the kitchen of a five-star restaurant. Just as you cannot love in a hurry, you cannot rush God's work in your life.
“Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me.” (Philippians 3.12)
God said “OK” First
It was His enthusiastic “OK” that we celebrate at Christmas
(The incarnation; Emmanuel; God with us).
It was His enthusiastic “OK” to the cross that paved a permanent path to heaven
(The stones of that path are immovable and eternal)
It is His enthusiastic “OK” to you this morning (and every morning)
that still believes in you, still hopes in you, and still loves you.
How have you said “OK” to God lately?