Denver Seminary

Advent Devotional 2018

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29 22 Present at the Birth Lynn H. Cohick, PhD Provost and Dean T he story of Mary invites us to ponder God's workings, even as Mary herself pondered all that happened to her and around her. Mary was a mother, a prophet, and a model disciple. Luke's gospel tells of the angel Gabriel coming to Mary with great news: she was highly favored by God and would bear a Son, who would redeem Israel. Luke develops Mary's character as a prophet. Several points bear this out. First, in response to Gabriel's message, Mary identified herself as God's slave (doulos) (Luke 1:38). is is a very familiar self-designation used by disciples and apostles. Second, her prophetic role takes form in her Magnificat; she announced God's judgment upon those who abuse their wealth and power and highlighted His vindication of the poor and needy. Mary testified to the widespread Jewish belief that the Messiah would establish the Davidic kingdom. She did not understand all that God was doing with the birth of her baby, but she thought she knew more than it turns out she actually did. (How often in our own lives do we think we know exactly where God is going with this or that, only to be brought up short?) is confidence in her own clarity about God's plan was shaken as Jesus began His ministry. Mary failed to grasp what He was doing. John writes about Jesus turning water to wine, at the apparent instigation of His mother (John 2). Mary showed great courage, even a willingness to be understood as a disciple—"woman," rather than "mother." But as the months stretched on and no messianic kingdom appeared, she began to lose her nerve and fears or concerns about social honor surfaced (Mark 3). Mary stood with the beloved disciple near the cross as her Son took His last breaths. Jesus identified Mary as a disciple, "woman," as one who had pondered the teachings and deeds of her Son—no, of her Messiah—even to His final hour (John 19:25–27). en in Acts 1:14, we find her with those believers and apostles who diligently prayed together as they waited for God's next act: Pentecost. Mary participated in the birth of Jesus and in the birth of the church. She knew the overshadowing of the Holy Spirit in her conceiving of Jesus, and she experienced the indwelling fire of the Holy Spirit as the church burst into being. "BUT THE ANGEL SAID TO HER, 'DO NOT BE AFRAID, MARY; YOU HAVE FOUND FAVOR WITH GOD. YOU WILL CONCEIVE AND GIVE BIRTH TO A SON, AND YOU ARE TO CALL HIM 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 JACOB'S DESCENDANTS FOREVER; HIS KINGDOM WILL NEVER END.'" - LUKE 1:30-33 24 December

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