Mary, a young girl betrothed to a carpenter named Joseph, was visited by the angel of the Lord who told her she would conceive and bear a child - the Son of God, the Messiah. His name would be Jesus, for he would save the people from their sins. Mary was a virgin, and questioned how this could possibly be. But the angel reminded her that nothing is impossible for God, so she submitted herself to the plans foretold to her, trusting by faith what her eyes could not see.
She praised God for His faithfulness to her and her people, knowing His promises would be fulfilled.
Truly, all the angel had said came to pass, and she bore a son who, 30 years later, began His ministry - making disciples, teaching and healing, performing miracles, forgiving sins and bringing new life. God's Holy One, foretold for generations, had come at last.
But the wages of sin is death, and someone had to pay the price. So Mary found herself at the foot of a cross bearing her beloved son, who through His perfect life and sacrificial death pronounced once and for all, "it is finished." The price is paid.
The angel had said to Mary, "Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!" Some manuscripts add "Blessed are you among women!" to the angel's greeting.
Blessed to be used by God for His amazing work.
Blessed to be asked to bear His Son.
Blessed to endure suspicion of infidelity.
Blessed to travel far to deliver Him.
Blessed to flee as a refugee with a two year old child in her arms.
Blessed to raise Him as her own, knowing He is the Son of God.
Blessed to watch Him heal.
Blessed to hear Him teach.
Blessed to see Him be loved, be scorned.
Blessed to watch Him take our place. Blessed to know it was for her, too.
Blessed to see Him fulfill God's plan - greater, more mysterious, more amazing that anything she could have dreamed.
I imagine her in those three agonizing days after His crucifixion, undone with grief and questions. Perhaps these things replayed in her mind, an unfinished story. But wasn't He supposed to be...? But then, to know, to see with her own eyes, the Son she loved restored to life.
Words cannot capture that mystery, that miracle. To hear Him charge His disciples with the Great Commission...to feel her own heart flutter and say, yes, yes! I will declare the glory of the Lord for all my days. He is good, and life is found in Him!
God had made a way to redeem His people, and the perfect Lamb of God, chosen before the foundation of the world, had been slain.
He came for us all - even those He came from. All who come to Him find life in Him.
For He alone holds the keys to life, as He revealed by rising again to life on the third day. On the cross, He committed His spirit into His Father's hand, who three days later breathed life into His bones and rolled the great stone away. Alive, never to die again.
And the promise is given to all who believe: "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whosoever believes in Him, shall not perish, but have everlasting life."