Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Amen


 
In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!” But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be. And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”
And Mary said to the angel, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?”
And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God. And behold, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. For nothing will be impossible with God.” And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her. (Luke 1: 26-38 ESV)

This is an amazing passage of scripture, not just because God sent an angel to a teenager in Israel over 2,000 years ago to tell her she would give birth to the Savior of the world, but in Mary’s reaction to what the angel said.
Yes, she was afraid at first (“scared senseless” is probably a more accurate way to put it), and then she was confused, and then she wondered, but in the end her final answer was “Let it be so.”

In essence, Mary said, “Amen.”

It’s the word we’ve been taught to end our prayers with since we first learned to pray. It goes back into some of the earliest parts of the Bible and remains into the book of Revelation.

And, it’s one of the very few Hebrew words carried over into the New Testament.

As we have been taught, “Amen” means “Let it be so.” But, it also means, “Verily!” and “Yes, truly!” when used to begin a sentence.

In fact, all of those passages in the gospels which we read as Jesus beginning a sentence with “truly” or “verily” in the original Greek text actually contain the Hebrew word “Amen.” There are twenty-five times in the book of John where Jesus begins sentences with “Amen, amen!”

For many people, Christmas is at the same time joyful and stressful. We have so much we want to do to make Christmas everything we think it should be for ourselves and our loved ones, we often get caught up in all the preparation and making everything “just right.”

As usual, striving and grasping for freedom, peace, and joy come to us not through our own strength or will, but when we give our hearts in faith and trust to Jesus and say, “Amen, let it be to me according to your word.”

Today’s Praise

For all the promises of God find their Yes in him. That is why it is through him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory. (2 Corinthians 1:20 ESV)

 

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