Have you ever had to explain yourself to someone who didn’t believe you? Though you were innocent of all accusations leveled at you, no one would believe your explanation. It is not difficult to understand the predicament Mary was in, once she consented to Gabriel’s announcement that she would bring Christ to the world. Can you visualize what Mary’s friends thought when she returned from her three-month stay with Elizabeth? What was her family’s reaction, and what about Joseph? The fact is Mary put everything on the line—her hopes for the future, her reputation—in fact all her relationships were affected by her choice to receive the life of Jesus within her.
This life was received not from any man through sexual intercourse; she didn’t receive Jesus through her own desire and determination to achieve as though it were her goal to work toward; nor did she receive Jesus’ life by the power of authority given to men, that is, it wasn’t through the decision of someone more powerful than Mary, such as her father, Joseph, a priest or a king. It was done by the power of God alone (John 1:13), and such a decision brings offense with it. Mary knew for a fact that she was obedient to God, yet all who knew her didn’t understand. Those who didn’t consider the Scriptures were offended in her. Why? It is simply because her pregnancy revealed the Life (Jesus) within, and this is an offense to the world. As it was with Mary, so it is with us, today. If Jesus is seen in our lives, the world is offended and would rather if we were more like they are. Peter addresses this offense in his first epistle:
1 Peter 2:7-8 KJV Unto you therefore which believe he (Jesus) is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, (8) And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed. [parenthesis and emphasis—mine]
When we bring the Gospel of Jesus to the world, we need to learn to expect opposition. Why? It is because people are offended in us—or more properly, Jesus within us, the hope of the world. As Mary was commissioned to bring Christ into the world, so are we. The world cannot come to him through physical means, whether through the right of ancestry (honorable descent), the power of achievement or the might of great human authority. The world’s hope lies with us, our obedience to let Christ show in our lives—similar to how his life began to show in Mary’s pregnancy. As this brought offense to her, bringing Jesus to the world brings offense to us. There is a cost for obedience, and we need to realize that as Mary did. Yet, the responsibility of change lies not with us but with God. Mary depended upon God both for the change in her and the change in others. Eventually, God restored Joseph to her, and she was enabled to face the antagonism of the world. As with Mary, so it is with us. There is, indeed, a price to pay to bring Jesus to the world, and it all begins with: “Behold the bondservant of the Lord, be it done unto me according to your (the Lord’s) word”?