Monday, December 22, 2014
The change bringer
Whenever we draw near to Jesus, change happens
But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favour with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give Him the name Jesus.”
SOME people make out that they are innovators and reformers and those who save situations – and never get beyond the talk and the spin. Others enter a situation with no great plans or ideas, or speeches drawing attention to themselves, yet helpful change happens around them.
Jesus was one of the latter. He was clear about who He was, and clear about His mission, and clear about always being in His Father’s will, and also clear that He was no politician on the hustings. Even in his most triumphal moment, at the end of His life, rising into Jerusalem to popular acclaim, He came mounted on a small donkey, an almost comical figure. He was a change bringer simply by being who He was.
Around Jesus change happened – and still happens. Sometimes it was overtly miraculous and hard to believe. At other times it was more of a change of order – from the expected order of things to God’s order unexpectedly breaking in. The Bible calls this the kingdom of God. It is where God’s fair and good order, God’s rule and purpose, comes as a kind of overlay to everything else that is going on – where something that looks set one way, starts to look completely different.
Mary and Joseph were two fairly ordinary individuals, with ordinary lives and ordinary aspirations. They wanted to make a life together and they were betrothed: in their culture, they were virtually married in terms of the commitment, but without the intimacy.
Then Jesus broke in. To be true to the timeline, the angel Gabriel, one of only two angels to be named in the Bible and the same that had appeared to Zechariah the priest some months earlier with a similar announcement, broke in. Gabriel appeared suddenly to a young teenager called Mary and told her that, through extraordinary favour with God, she would find herself carrying a child who she was to to call Jesus (‘the Lord saves’, Matthew 1:21).
He was to be great in the way of His ancestor King David, not just that great but also called the Son of the Most High, and called to reign over an unending kingdom. No pressure there, as we would say.
The effect on this young girl, not to mention her husband-to-be, Joseph, is almost unimaginable. Their life, and its predictability, was turned upside down. It remained a humble role, but two thousand years on, and especially at this time of year, more than two billion people are remembering Joseph and Mary and the special God-given assignment they had in being chosen to bring Jesus, the Saviour of the world, into their world.
Jesus is still actively engaged in being the agent of God’s saving. His name is what He does. It started with the angel’s announcement and He is not done yet. He brings change to individuals, like Mary and Joseph, you and me, and to groups of people, and to communities and places.
Be aware, wherever you allow Jesus to break into your life a little bit, or a little bit more, two things will happen. One will be being caught up in something far bigger and unpredictable. The second will be the sense of God’s glory and favour surrounding you.
He loves you, and He can love you better if you will let him in and like Mary and Joseph, allow Him to take you into His purposes.