Having contrasted the “beauty” of obedience (act of love for God) with the “grisly” face of disobedience (act of hatred for God) in this Christmas season, let’s now train the spotlight on the oft-repeated Christmas story involving the three members’ of the Holy Family. Ladies first…
“And Mary said, ‘Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.'” (Luke 1:38)
Now was not virtuous Mary aware of the probable panic reaction her untimely pregnancy would trigger in her own immediate family circles and her little village of Nazareth where negative reports are prone to travel faster? While on the subject is it not true that cruel slanderous rumors go quickly around the World and come back by the time truth finishes tying its shoe laces? Would there not be also a social backlash by way of her engagement being publicly cancelled by Joseph to whom, she was engaged? Finally throw in the possibility of her life ending prematurely by the Law-enforcers (Deut 22:13-21) of her village and the gravity of the problems her obedience to the Lord would bring in its wake emerges with no shades of gray. What did she do when it came to the crunch, as it were? Let’s return to I Cor 13:7 which encapsulated her ready, love-inspired, submissive obedience to Her Creator: “If you love someone, you will be loyal to him no matter what the cost. You will always believe in him, always expect the best of him…”
The result? Not a hair in her head perished even as she brought forth the most precious baby ever born into this World. Besides, do not her words spoken in complete submission (captioned Scripture portion-Luke 1:38) before conception still continue to inspire us?
“When Joseph awoke, he did as the angel commanded and brought Mary home to be his wife…” (Matt 1:24)
“That same night he left for Egypt with Mary and the baby, and stayed there until King Herod’s death…” (Matt 2:14)
Not for righteous Joseph any delay when it came to acting upon the Lord’s commands. His life exemplified speedy and implicit obedience, whatever be the cost. Coming out of one’s comfort zone is a tough task. From being willing to take on public barbs (for “shielding the unrighteous” Mary) in the first instance, and then being willing to go to a totally new place (Egypt) and starting life anew therein from the very scratch, so to speak, we see in Joseph’s acts of obedience the very definition of love as described in 1 Cor 13:7: “If you love someone, you will be loyal to him no matter what the cost. You will always believe in him, always expect the best of him…”
Viewed from yet another perspective, were not Mary and Joseph “bearing the cross” with poise for the glory of God long before Jesus spoke the words recorded in Luke 9:23: “Then he said to all, ‘Anyone who wants to follow me must put aside his own desires and conveniences and carry his cross with him every day and keep close to me!'”
Prayer: Father, we praise and thank Thee for the wonderful examples of Mary and Joseph that continue to inspire us even today in the matter of obedience. Enable us to trust Thee at all times, even when it seems that the cost of obedience is very high. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
An unworthy Servant
J and SM Ministries
(To access the entire “Festival of Obedience” mini-series, please click here.)