There’s No Turning Back: You Must Carry the Life Within You & You Must Carry It to Term

Today’s selected reading continues in the New Testament gospel narrative of the life and ministry of Jesus the Christ as it was written and recorded by the beloved physician Luke. More specifically, today’s passage is found in the first twenty verses of the second chapter. “And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed. (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) And all went to be taxed, everyone one into his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Beth-lehem; (Because he was of the house and lineage of David) to be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn” (Luke 2:1-7).

            “And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men” (Luke 2:8-14).

            “And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Beth-lehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them” (Luke 2:15-20).

            AND IT CAME TO PASS IN THOSE DAYS! THERE WENT OUT A DECREE! ALL THE WORLD SHOULD BE TAXED! ALL WENT TO BE TAXED! EVERY ONE INTO HIS OWN CITY! JOSEPH ALSO WENT UP FROM GALILEE, OUT OF THE CITY OF NAZARETH, INTO JUDAEA, UNTO THE CITY OF DAVID, WHICH IS CALLED BETH-ELHEM! HE WAS OF THE HOUSE AND LINEAGE OF DAVID! TO BE TAXED WITH MARY HIS ESPOUSED WIFE, BEING GREAT WITH CHILD! AND SO IT WAS, THAT, WHILE THEY WERE THERE! THE DAYS WERE ACCOMPLISHED THAT SHE SHOULD BE DELIVERED! SHE BROUGHT FORTH HER FIRSTBORN SON! WRAPPED HIM IN SWADDLING CLOTHES, AND LAID HIM IN A MANGER! THERE WAS NO ROOM FOR THEM IN THE INN! AND IT CAME TO PASS! IN THOSE DAYS! AND SO IT WAS! THE DAYS WERE ACCOMLISHED! THERE CAME A DECREE! AND THERE WAS A DECREE! WHEN THE LIVING GOD USES CURRENT EVENTS TO BRING ABOUT THAT WHICH HE HAD SPOKEN! WHEN THE LIVING GOD USES WORLD EVENTS TO BRING TO PASS WHAT HE HAS ORDAINED! CAESAR AUGUSTUS THOUGHT HE WAS SIMPLY TAXING THE WORLD, AND YET HE WAS ULTIMATELY BEING USED BY GOD TO BRING ABOUT THE DIVINE PLAN AND PURPOSE FOR THE MESSIAH! CONSIDER THE CONVERGENCE BETWEEN THE DECREE OF CAESAR, JOSEPH BEING OF THE HOUSE AND LINEAGE OF DAVID, THE DAYS BEING ACCOMPLISHED FOR MARY TO GIVE BIRTH! THINK ABOUT ALL THE THINGS WHICH NEEDED TO COLLIDE AND CONVERGE JUST TO BRING ABOUT THE BIRTH OF THE MESSIAH IN BETHLEHEM TO FULFILL THE PROPHETIC WORD SPOKEN CONCERNING HIM! A TAX ORDAINED IN ROME AND A HOME IN THE CITY OF DAVID!

            THERE WERE IN THE SAME COUNTRY SHEPHERDS ABIDING IN THE FIELD! KEEPING WATCH OVER THEIR FLOCK BY NIGHT! THE ANGEL OF THE LORD CAME UPON THEM! THE GLORY OF THE LORD SHONE ROUND ABOUT THEM! THEY WERE SORE AFRAID! THE ANGEL SAID UNTO THEM, FEAR NOT! BEHOLD, I BRING YOU GOOD TIDINGS OF GREAT JOY, WHICH SHALL BE TO ALL PEOPLE! FOR UNTO YOU IS BORN THIS DAY IN THE CITY OF DAVID A SAVIOUR, WHICH IS CHRIST THE LORD! {FOR UNTO US A CHILD IS BORN, UNTO US A SON IS GIVEN—Isaiah 7, Isaiah 9, Isaiah 11]. FOR UNTO YOU IS BORN! THIS DAY! THE POWER OF THIS DAY! FOR UNTO YOU IS BORN! FOR UNTO US A CHILD IS GIVEN! UNTO US A SON IS BORN! THE SAVIOR! THE CHRIST! THE LORD! THIS SHALL BE A SIGN UNTO YOU! YE SHALL FIND THE BABE WRAPPED IN SWADLLING CLOTHES, LYING IN A MANGER! THE SIGNS GIVEN UNTO THE ANGELS: SWADDLING CLOTHES & LYING IN A MANGER!

            AND THE ANGEL OF THE LORD CAME UPON THEM! THE GLORY OF THE LORD SHONE ROUND ABOUT THEM! THE ANGEL SAID UNTO THEM! AND SUDDENLY THERE WAS WITH THE ANGEL A MULTITUDE OF THE HEAVENLY HOST PRAISING GOD! ANGELIC VISITATIONS IN THE TIME OF THE MESSIAH! ANGELIC VISITATIONS IN THE TIME OF PROPHECY FULFILLED! AFTER FOUR HUNDRED YEARS OF SILENCE IT WOULD BE BROKEN BY AN ANGELIC VISITATION IN THE TEMPLE, AN ANGELIC VISITATION IN NAZARETH, AND AN ANGELIC VISITATION IN THE FIELDS! ANGELIC VISITATION IN BETHLEHEM! ANGELIC VISITATION IN JERUSALEM! ANGELIC VISITATION IN NAZARETH! ANGELIC VISITATIONS IN LUKE & DREAMS IN MATTHEW! THE CONVERGENCE OF ANGELIC VISITATIONS AND DREAMS FROM HEAVEN! ANGELIC ANNOUNCEMENT AND ANGELIC VISITATIONS!

            AS THE ANGELS WERE GONE AWAY FROM THEN INTO HEAVEN, THE SHEPHERDS SAID ONE TO ANOTHER! LET US GO EVEN UNTO BETH-LEHEM, SEE THIS THING WHICH IS COME TO PASS, WHICH THE LORD HATH MADE KNOWN UNTO US! THEY CAME WITH HASTE! FOUND MARY, AND JOSEPH, AND THE BABE LYING IN A MANGER! WHEN THEY HAD SEEN IT, THEY MADE KNOWN ABROAD THE SAYING WHICH WAS TOLD THEM CONCERNING THIS CHILD! WONDERED AT THOSE THINGS WHICH WERE TOLD THEM BY THE SHEPHERDS! THE SHEPHERDS RETURNED! GLORIFYING AND PRAISING GOD FOR ALL THE THINGS THEY HAD HEARD AND SEEN! AS IT WAS TOLD UNTO THEM!

            When you come to this particular portion of Scripture you will encounter the birth of Jesus taking place—and not taking place as you might have suspected or thought about. I am sure that Mary might have thought—perhaps even wanted and hoped—that she would deliver and bring forth the child in the town of Nazareth where many of her friends, family members and loved ones were. This would be the first child she would bring forth into this world, and although I don’t have any children of my own—yet—I have heard that sometimes the first child is the most difficult and challenging one. If you’re one who has had more than one child you might say that it gets easier with each child you bring forth into this world, however, there might be others who would say that this isn’t always the case. Regardless of whether or not this is true, however, we can nonetheless deduce that there might have been that expectation within the heart and mind of Mary that when it came to bringing forth her firstborn son into the world she would have been close to her friends, close to her family members, and close to her loved ones. Scripture is entirely unclear as to what went through the heart and mind of Mary as the time drew nearer and closer for her to bring forth this male child into the world, and I have admit that it was a tremendous and wonderful thing that she did not have to bring this child into the world alone. At one point Joseph had it is in his heart and mind to put her away quietly when he discovered that she was pregnant, however, it would be as a direct result of a dream from God that he would be instructed not to be afraid to take Mary as his wife, for the child which was growing inside of her was not of man, but was indeed of God Himself.

            I sit here this morning thinking about and considering the words which are found in the opening passage of the second chapter and I can’t help but be brought face to face with the awesome and tremendous truth surrounding Mary and this being her first pregnancy. I cannot help but wonder if Mary had not hoped—and perhaps even wanted and desired—to deliver this first born son into the world in the town of Nazareth close to her friends, family members, and loved ones. Undoubtedly there must have been a swirl of emotions, thoughts and feelings that would have gone through the heart and mind of Mary—not only when she was told by the angel Gabriel that she would conceive the Son of the Highest within her, but even after the angel departed from her presence and she made the journey to the hill country of Judaea, and quite possibly throughout her entire pregnancy. Pause for a moment and think about what it might have been like for Mary to not only be pregnant with her first child, but also to be pregnant with the very Son of God. There are those parents who are nervous concerning what time of parents they might be—perhaps because of the type of example their own parents set for them, and/or perhaps because of the fact that they are unsure of what type of parent they are going to be for their child. I have heard stories of countless first time mothers and first time fathers who experience a wide range of emotions, thoughts and feelings when it comes to having their first born child, as there are a number of first time mothers and fathers who are incredibly nervous as to how they are going to be as parents. Oh it is true there might be some excitement within their hearts at the thought of bringing forth a child into the world, and there might be some excitement within their hearts at the thought of being parents, but with this being said, however, there might also be an incredible feeling of nervousness and anxiety at the thought of bringing a child into the world and it being your first child.

            With all of this in mind I invite you to consider what it must have been like for Mary to not only conceive within her womb a life which she would bring forth into the world, but also how the life which was conceived within her womb was the very life of the Son of the Highest. It’s one thing to have your firstborn child and that child be conceived and brought forth as an act of flesh and to indeed be one that is born into this world in sin and iniquity, however, it is something entirely and altogether different to bring forth a child that is going to be the actual Son of the Highest. Stop and consider what it must have been like for Mary after the angel Gabriel had departed from her presence there in the town of Nazareth and how just prior to his departure she emphatically declared unto him, “Behold, the handmaiden of the Lord.” These words of Mary seemed to express a willingness and openness to step into and to fulfill that which the living and eternal God had ordained and appointed for her, however—even with that being said, I can’t help but think about and wonder what it would have been like for Mary after the angel departs and she is left with the knowledge that the Holy Ghost was going to come upon her, the power of the Highest was going to overshadow her, and she was going to conceive within her womb the life of the Highest. How absolutely incredible it is to think about and consider this particular truth, and how absolutely astonishing it might have been for Mary to have encountered and experienced the angelic visitation of Gabriel there in the town of Nazareth and knowing that the child which would be conceived within her womb was going to come—not by and not according to an act of the flesh, but rather according to an act of God. Oh I still can’t help but wonder what it was like for Mary when that moment arrived as the Holy Ghost came upon her, and as the power of the Highest overshadowed her, thus allowing her to conceive within her womb the life of the Son of the Highest.

            I sit here this morning thinking about and considering the words which are found within this portion of Scripture and I can’t help but think about what it was like for Mary the mother of Jesus as she would walk through life knowing that she would not only conceive life within her womb, and not only would she conceive life within her womb out of marriage and not having any physical intimacy of contact with Joseph, but also to have that life conceived within her womb by an act of the living and eternal God. Imagine what it would have been like for Mary as she would not only journey through life during those days with the knowledge that she was pregnant and with child, but also consider what it would have been like for Mary as she would wonder what others would have thought about her if they found out and discovered that she was pregnant. Scripture does not record, nor does it reveal what others thought about Mary when they discovered she was pregnant, and we do know for a fact that Joseph had it in his heart and mind to put her away quietly after discovering that she was pregnant and with child. Oh it is truly something worth thinking about and considering when reading the narrative of Mary and the angelic visitation and announcement of Gabriel, as well as what that announcement actually was. In all reality, I have to admit that I absolutely love that the living and eternal God would indeed and would in fact speak unto Joseph in a dream and encourage him to not be afraid to take Mary as his wife, and would even declare unto him that the life which was growing within her was not an ordinary child, but would indeed be the Son of the highest. The living and eternal God would speak unto Joseph in the night by a dream and would emphatically declare unto him concerning this child which was growing within the womb of Mary—and not only concerning this child which was growing within her womb, but also that this child was the Son of God whose name was going to be Jesus.

            The more you consider the narrative which is found within the second chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative which was written concerning the life and ministry of Jesus the Christ written by Luke the more you can’t help but think about how it might very well have been possible for Mary to have had some type of expectation and hope to be able to deliver and bring forth her firstborn son in the town of Nazareth. There is a part of me that can’t help but think about and consider the fact that Mary knew that the time and the hour of her delivering and bringing forth this child into the world was quickly approaching, and I can’t help but wonder if it was not within her heart to remain in the town of Nazareth and to deliver and bring forth the child in the midst of that town in which her and Joseph were living. We know that it was in the town of Nazareth where the angel Gabriel first appeared unto her, and we have somewhat of a sense of what the community was like in the town of Nazareth later on in the gospel narratives when we find those present within the town speaking concerning Jesus and how his brothers and his sisters were there among them, and how his father was Joseph and how His mother was Mary. We get the strong sense of just how close this community within the town of Nazareth truly was within and throughout the gospels as we read of those within the town being familiar with Jesus—and not only with Jesus, but also with his mother, his brothers, his sisters, and his father. There is not a doubt in my mind that there was undoubtedly this closeness that existed within the town of Nazareth between those who lived and dwelt in the midst of it. What’s more, is I would dare say that Mary might very well have sought to capitalize on the community, the relationships, the fellowship and all those individuals who were present there in Nazareth when the time came for her to deliver and bring forth her first born son into the world.

            As I think about and consider this I can’t help but wonder and think about what it might have been like for Mary knowing that she was going to bring forth her first born child into the world—and not only that she was going to bring forth her first born child into the world, but that the first born child was going to be the Son of the Highest. It’s one thing to bring your first child into the world and the thoughts and emotions swirling through your head concerning what type of parent you are going to be and how you are going to raise that child. It is something else entirely and altogether different to think about and consider the fact that your first born child was going to be the Son of the Highest, and that the child you were going to bring forth into the world was indeed the Son of God. How do you prepare for having your first born child—and not only preparing to have your first born child, but also knowing that your firstborn child was going to be the Son of the Highest, and that the firstborn child you were bringing forth into the world was going to be the Son of God who would not only be Savior of the world, but would also sit upon the throne of His father David. Oh I would absolutely love to know what went through the heart and mind of Mary as she was preparing herself to bring forth the life of the Son of the highest into this world and whether or not there was not this anxiousness and nervousness that was present within her. It’s one thing to bring forth your firstborn child into the world, however, it is something else entirely for that child to be the Son of the Highest and to be responsible for the life of the Son of God. Oh pause for a moment and think about how absolutely incredible that truly is when you take the time to consider the fact that Mary might very well have wondered what type of mother she was going to be this child who was indeed the Son of the Highest.

            Taking this reality and concept a step further I can’t help but wonder if it was not possible for Mary to experience a whole host and flood of emotions, thoughts and feelings within her heart and mind as she considered the fact that she was going to bring forth the life of the Son of God into this world. Stop and think about what might have gone through her heart and mind as she would realize and recognize that she would be responsible for looking after, caring for and taking care of the Son of God. Oh it’s one thing to take care of your firstborn child who was born in the natural realm as a direct result of an act of the flesh and knowing you’re responsible for the care and the upbringing of that child, however, it was something else entirely to be responsible for the life of the Son of the Highest in this world. It is truly something worth thinking about and considering when you think about what it must have been like for Mary to conceive within her womb the life of the Son of the Highest and know that once that child was brought forth into the world she would be solely responsible for the upbringing of that child. How absolutely wonderful and beautiful it is to think about the fact that Mary would not have to raise and bring up this child alone, for through divine intervention by a dream in the night Joseph would willingly and voluntarily choose to take Mary unto himself as his wife. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this, for it would have been one thing for Mary to conceive and bring forth a child out of marriage, however, it would have been something else entirely for Mary to possibly have had to raise that child as a single mother had the living God not intervened and instructed Joseph to not be afraid to take Mary as his wife, and informed him that the child growing inside her womb was the Son of the Highest whose name was to be called Jesus.

            It is something worth thinking about and considering when you read the words found in this passage of Scripture, for the words you find here in this passage of Scripture point to an incredibly powerful truth concerning Mary the mother of Jesus, and how Mary would indeed and would in fact quite possibly been nervous and anxious to know that she was bringing forth the life of the Son of the Highest into the world. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this, for it calls and invites us to think about and consider what it must have been like for Mary as she sought to prepare and make herself ready for the arrival of this Son of the Highest. Oh this actually brings me face to face with the question of how you prepare yourself for the arrival of the Son of the Highest within your life. How do you prepare yourself for the arrival of the Son of God into the earth—and not only preparing for the arrival of the Son of God, but also knowing that you are solely responsible for the care, the nurture and the upbringing of that child. How do you prepare yourself emotionally, mentally, physically, and even spiritually for the arrival of the Son of the Highest who was going to come into the world. What was it like for Mary to think about and consider the fact that she was going to conceive and bring forth the life of the Son of the Highest into the world, and that once He had arrived and was here she was given the tremendous task for being his mother. Oh I can’t help but think about the tremendous truth surrounding this and what it might have been like for Mary during those nine months she carried the life of the Son of the Highest within her womb, and what she must have thought and felt within her heart and soul concerning the life of this Son of the living God growing within her which would eventually be brought forth into the world.

            There is something truly powerful when you think about the fact that Mary undoubtedly recognized and understood that she would indeed and would in fact be responsible for the life of the Son of the Highest who would be brought forth from her womb, and that once the Son of the Highest arrived it would be up to her to be the best mother possible for Him. I can’t help but wonder if Mary did not have doubts within her heart and mind whether or not she was truly ready for the arrival of the Son of the Highest into the world. I can’t help but wonder if Mary didn’t have certain doubts and fears within herself concerning whether or not she would be a good mother for and unto this child. This wasn’t an ordinary child who was conceived within her womb, and the child which would be brought forth from her womb would not be an ordinary child who would be brought into the world. Was it possible that there would have been a certain level, degree and measure of anxiety that would have been present within the heart of Mary as she not only conceived this life within her womb as a direct result of the living God, but also as she prepared to bring this child into the world? What’s more, is that once this life was conceived within her there was absolutely no turning back and no going back. Once the life of the Son of the Highest was conceived within her there was no going back, for the life of the Son of the Highest would not only grow within her, but would need to take His course in growing within her until the appointed time would come for Him to be brought forth into the world. What a truly astonishing and remarkable thought it is to think about and consider the fact that once the life of the Son of the Highest was conceived within her womb there was absolutely no turning back and there was no returning to life as she knew it previously. Once the life of the Son of the Highest was present within her womb she would have to carry that child to term and would have to deliver that child at the appointed time for His arrival into the world.

            CARRYING THE CHILD TO TERM! THERE’S NO TURNING BACK! THERE’S NO GOING BACK! CARRYING THE CHILD FOR THE APPOINTED TIME! CARRYING THE CHILD WITHOUT ANY POSSIBILITY OF RETURNING TO LIFE THE WAY YOU KNEW IT! Oh it’s something worth thinking about and considering when reading the words found in this particular passage of Scripture, for when we think about Mary conceiving the life of the Messiah within her womb we must needs realize and understand that once that life was conceived within her womb she would have to carry that child for the full nine months until the time would come for her to bring forth that life into the world. Pause for a moment and think about the fact that there was absolutely no turning back and no going back once the life of the Son of the Highest was conceived and brought forth within her womb. There was absolutely no turning back and going back to the way life was prior to the conception of that child, and she would be solely and entirely responsible for bringing that child into the world. Oh stop and think about the fact that once the life of the Messiah was conceived within the womb of Mary she would not only have to carry that child the full term, but she would be entirely unable to go back and return to life as she knew it. Regardless of what life might have been like for Mary prior to the angelic visitation of Gabriel, and regardless of what life might have been like for Mary prior to conceiving within her womb the Son of the Highest there would be absolutely no room for going back to life as she once knew it.

            This concept and truth concerning Mary being unable to return back to the way life was for her prior to the angelic visitation of Gabriel, and prior to her hearing and understanding that she would conceive and bring forth the Son of the Highest within her womb is something that is absolutely astounding when you take the time to think about it. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of just how tremendous this truly is, for it draws and calls our attention to the fact that once the angel Gabriel had visited her, and once the angel Gabriel had made the announcement and proclamation unto her concerning the life of the Son of the Highest being conceived within her there was absolutely no room, nor was there any space for her going back and returning to what her life was like prior to that. The angelic visitation of Gabriel, as well as the announcement of God proclaimed by and from his mouth was absolutely incredible when you take the time to think about it, for it brings a whole new meaning to the song “I Have Decided to Follow Jesus,” and how within that song the declaration “not turning back” is actually made. While the entire premise of this song is based solely and entirely on making the decision to follow Jesus and how upon making that decision there is no turning back, we must needs realize and understand concerning Mary the mother of Jesus that once the angel appeared unto her—and not only appeared unto her, but even after the angel would depart from her presence—life as she knew it would be entirely and altogether different. Life for Mary would no longer be the same after the angel Gabriel appeared unto her and declared unto her that she would conceive and bring forth the life of the Son of the Highest within her womb. Life as she knew it would be dramatically changed and dramatically altered—not only by the announcement that she would conceive within her womb the life of the Son of the Highest, but also actually bringing forth the life of the Son of the Highest within and into the world.

            I can’t help but see within the narrative and account of Mary an incredibly wonderful and remarkable picture of how the life of the Son of the Highest being conceived within our hearts and lives dramatically alters and transforms us. That which we find within this gospel narrative and account concerning Mary is an incredibly powerful picture concerning the fact that once the life of the Son of the Highest—once the life of the Son of God is conceived within us—there is absolutely no room for turning back. Once the angel Gabriel had appeared unto Mary and proclaimed how the Holy Ghost would come upon her, how the power of the Highest would overshadow her, and how she would conceive within her womb the life of the Son of the Highest, there was absolutely no going back. What’s more, is that once that act and work of God actually took place within the life of Mary it would further solidify and confirm the work which would take place within her womb. Once that act and work of God had taken place the clock would indeed be set until the appointed time for Mary to bring forth that child into the world. What’s more, is that not only would there be no turning back and going back to life as she knew it, but she would have to bring forth that child into the world. Not only would Mary have to carry the life of this child within her womb, but Mary would also have to bring forth that child into the world. Even knowing that in the garden the living and eternal God proclaimed how He would multiply the pains of childbirth as a result of the curse Mary would have to bring forth this child and would have to give birth to Him quite possibly knowing that which had been spoken in the garden.

            It is something I can’t help but think about and consider when reading the words found in this portion and passage of Scripture, for the words which I find here in this passage bring me face to face with the fact that not only did the announcement of Gabriel dramatically change the life of Mary, and not only would conceiving the life of the Messiah within the womb of Mary continue to dramatically change and transform her life, but so also would bringing forth that child into the world. In all reality I have to admit that I absolutely love what is written concerning Mary and conceiving the life of the Son of the Highest within her womb, for it is an incredibly powerful picture of how not only are our lives changed as a direct result of the life of the Son of the Highest being conceived within us, but also how there is absolutely no room for turning back and returning to life as we knew it. Once the life of the Son of God was conceived within the womb of Mary there was absolutely nothing she could do to stop that work and that process from taking place within her womb. There was absolutely nothing Mary would or even could have done to stop the life of the Son of the Highest from growing within her womb. Please note that I am in no way suggesting or even implying that Mary had any thoughts of going back and returning to life as she knew it, for Scripture seems to provide a clear and present indication that Mary was ready to be the handmaid and vessel of the Lord. There is not a doubt in my mind that Mary was undoubtedly ready and willing to fulfill that which was being asked of her by the living and eternal God. When the angel appeared to her, and after the angel had finished proclaiming unto her all the words which the living and eternal God had commanded him to speak he would depart from the presence of Mary, and Mary would be left with the sole choice and decision to step into that which the living and eternal God had ordained and appointed for her.

            Oh I absolutely love that which I find within this portion and passage of Scripture, for not only would the life of Mary be dramatically changed and altered as a direct result of the angelic announcement, and not only would there be no room for her turning back and returning to life as she once knew it, but eventually her physical body would experience changes as a direct result of being pregnant and with child. Eventually and ultimately the entire physical body of Mary would begin to experience changes as a direct result of the Messiah which was growing inside of her, and eventually there would come the point when she would no longer be able to conceal the presence of the life which was growing within her. Eventually the time would come when she would begin showing that there was indeed a life growing inside of her, and there would be an outward and external appearance and evidence of that life which was indeed and was in fact growing within her. Oh stop for a moment and consider how absolutely incredible this truly is, for not only would the announcement of Gabriel dramatically alter and change the life of Mary, but the announcement and the actual work itself would forever change the life of Mary as she would realize and understand that her life was no longer her own. Stop and consider the fact that when you conceive within your womb the natural life of another human being you fully recognize and understand that your life is no longer your own, and that your life has now not only become intertwined with that child, but your life would no longer be yours or about you, for you were now solely responsible for that child.

            I can’t help but think about and consider the fact that once the angel Gabriel had appeared unto Mary there in the town of Nazareth, and once the angel Gabriel had declared unto Mary that she would conceive within her womb the life of the Son of the Highest her life would no longer be her own. There was absolutely no room for Mary to live her life as she thought, as she wanted, and even as she desired. From that moment the angel Gabriel appeared unto her—truthfully until the day and time the Son of the Highest was brought forth into the world—her life would no longer be her own. What’s more, is that not only would her life no longer be her own, but so also would her physical body no longer be her own. The announcement and angelic proclamation which was spoken by the angel Gabriel would wonderfully and powerful reveal unto Mary that her life and her body was no longer her own and no longer belonged to her, for she had been ordained and appointed as the vessel which would carry the life of the Son of the Highest within her womb. From that time of the angelic announcement of Gabriel unto Mary—not only would her life be dramatically changed, and not only would there be no turning back, but so also was her life and her physical body no longer her own. OH I can’t help but be absolutely gripped and captivated when I think about and consider these particular thoughts and truths, for they highlight and underscore that which is manifested within our lives when we make the decision to walk with and follow Jesus—and not only when we make the decision to walk with and follow Jesus, but when the life of Christ Jesus begins to grow within our spiritual wombs and within our hearts and spirits. We must needs realize and understand that once the life of the Son of the Highest begins to be conceived within us—not only are our lives dramatically changed, and not only is there no room for turning back, but our lives and our physical bodies are no longer our own.

            I am absolutely and completely convinced that when I read the words which are found within this passage of Scripture and this portion of text there is a tremendous challenge that is found within our hearts and our spirits, for we must needs realize, recognize and understand that there is absolutely no turning back, there is absolutely no going back, and there is absolutely no returning to life as we knew it before the life of the Son of the Highest began to be conceived within our hearts, within our spirits, and within our spiritual wombs. Once the life of the Son of the Highest begins to be conceived within our hearts, our spirits and our spiritual wombs—not only are our lives no longer our own, but so also are our physical bodies no longer our own. WE dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this, for there is something truly astonishing when you take the time to think about it as there is a great and present need for us to understand that when we conceive the life of the Son of the Highest within our hearts and our spirits there is no room for turning back, and there is no room to return to life as we knew it. With that being said we must also realize, recognize and understand that there is indeed no longer any control we possess over our physical bodies, nor even over our hearts, our minds and our lives. It was the apostle Paul who emphatically declared that we were bought and purchased with a price and that our lives are no longer our own, but our lives now belong entirely and solely unto Jesus the Christ.

            Oh dear brother, oh dear sister—there is a great and present need within our hearts and our spirits to recognize, understand and acknowledge the fact that when we conceive the life of the Son of the Highest within our hearts, within our spirits and within our lives there is absolutely no room for turning back and there is absolutely no room for going back to life as we knew it—perhaps even to life as we might have enjoyed it. What we find as a direct result of the angelic announcement of Gabriel unto Mary—and not only as a direct result of this announcement, but also as a direct result of the actual work of God being manifested within the life and womb of Mary—is the fact that neither her life, nor her physical body belonged to Mary. From the time and from the moment the angel Gabriel appeared unto Mary she would have to live in the place and with the knowledge that her life was no longer her own and that her physical body no longer belonged to her. From the moment the angel Gabriel appeared unto Mary there was absolutely nothing she could do about her physical body and even her life, for both would be intrinsically linked and intrinsically connected to the life of the Messiah. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this, for it points us to the awesome truth and reality that when we conceive the life of the Son of the Highest within our hearts, within our lives, and within our spiritual wombs our physical bodies and our lives no longer belong to us and are entirely and altogether reserved for the purposes and desires of the living God. Imagine what it must have been like for the physical body and life of Mary once the Holy Ghost came upon her, once the power of the Highest overshadowed her, and once the life of the Son of the Highest began to grow within her, for holiness itself would be growing within her; righteousness itself would be growing inside of her; purity itself would be growing inside of her.

            The question I can’t help but ask myself when I read these words is how you would and how you could even go back to life as you knew it—perhaps even as you wanted and desired it to be—after you have conceived and carried the life of the Son of the Highest within your womb. How do you view your body—not only knowing that there is a life growing inside of you, but also that the life which was growing inside you is no ordinary life, but is the life of the Son of the Highest? What do you do with your physical body knowing that you have been responsible for carrying the very life of the Son of the Highest within your physical and natural temple? For Mary she would be responsible for carrying the actual life, the actual nature, and the actual person of the living God within her womb. This wasn’t an ordinary child that would be growing within her womb, for the child and the life which was growing inside her would indeed and would in fact be the life of the Messiah, and would be the very image and representation of the living and eternal God. There was absolutely no room within the heart and mind of Mary to view her physical body as belonging to her, for she was responsible for carrying the life of the Son of the Highest within her womb. The angelic visitation of Gabriel would dramatically alter and transform the life of Mary from that moment on, for the angelic visitation of Gabriel would mark and would set apart Mary—and not only Mary, but also her physical body and her life for the purposes, the plans and the desires and will of the eternal Father. From the moment the angel Gabriel appeared unto Mary her life would be marked and set apart as holy and consecrated before and unto the living and eternal God, for the life and child which would be conceived and would grow inside of her would indeed be the life of the Son of the Highest.

            Oh the more I think about and the more I consider how absolutely incredible and tremendous this truly is, the more I am brought face to face with the awesome truth and reality centering upon and surrounding the fact that when we conceive and when we begin to conceive the life of the Son of the Highest within our spiritual wombs and within our hearts and our spirits there is absolutely no room, nor is there any space for turning back. Once we begin carrying the life of the Son of the Highest within our wombs our lives are marked and set apart as holy and consecrated from that time on. Stop and consider what it would have been like for Mary as not only was her physical and natural body touched and marked as a result of the Holy Ghost coming upon her and the power of the Highest overshadowing her, but also as a direct result of the life of the Son of the Highest being conceived within her. Think about and consider the fact that when we speak about Mary her physical body and her life was not only marked once, and was not only marked twice, but it would be marked three times. The physical body and life of Mary would indeed and would in fact be marked as a direct result of the angel Gabriel appearing unto her and proclaiming the announcement that she would conceive within her womb the life of the Son of the Highest. The physical body and life of Mary would indeed and would in fact be marked as a direct result of the Holy Ghost coming upon her and the power of the Highest overshadowing her. What’s more, is that the physical body and life of Mary would indeed and would in fact be marked as a direct result of the actual life of the Son of the Highest being conceived within her and growing inside her. The physical body and the natural life of Mary would indeed and would in fact be marked by the living and eternal God by the angelic announcement, by the touch and presence of the Holy Ghost and the power of the Highest, and by the actual life of the Son of the Highest growing inside of her.

            What I can’t help but think about as I read the words which are found within this portion of Scripture is that Mary’s life would be marked, set apart and consecrated by the one true and living God—first by an angelic announcement, secondly by the divine work and act of God as the Holy Ghost would come upon her and the power of the Highest would overshadow her, and third as a direct result of life of the Son of the Highest actually growing within her. It is absolutely necessary and imperative that we recognize and understand this, for it draws and calls our attention to the absolutely wonderful and powerful truth that we as those who have made the decision to walk with the living God are entirely and altogether marked, consecrated and set apart as holy as a direct result of the power of the Highest overshadowing us and the Holy Ghost coming upon us. Our physical bodies and lives are entirely and altogether marked and consecrated as a direct result of the power, the presence and the person of the Holy Ghost coming upon us, thus allowing us to conceive within ourselves the life of the Son of the Highest. Our physical bodies and our lives are entirely and altogether marked and consecrated as a direct result of the life of the Son of the Highest being conceived within us as the life of the divine begins to grow within us. Oh stop and pause for a moment and consider just how incredibly powerful this truly is when you take the time to think about, for our lives and our bodies are no longer our own when and as a direct result of the Holy Ghost coming upon us, the power of the Highest overshadowing us, and the life of the Son of the Highest being conceived and growing within us.

            We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this and how truly remarkable it is when you recognize how your life is not only dramatically changed and transformed, but your life is also no longer your own as a direct result of the divine touch of God upon and the divine work of God within your life. We must needs realize and recognize that when the power of the Highest overshadows us and when the Holy Ghost comes upon us our lives are entirely and altogether marked, consecrated and set apart by the living and eternal God for His divine purposes and plans. No longer are we in control of our lives, nor should we even think about and consider that our lives even belong to us and that we can determine anything for our lives. When the angel Gabriel appeared unto Mary and proclaimed the word that she would conceive the life of the Son of the Highest within her womb her life would from that moment be entirely and altogether changed and transformed. What’s more, is that not only would her life be dramatically altered and changed, but she no longer had any say, nor any control over her physical body. From that moment on the physical body and life of Mary would belong solely, exclusively and entirely to the living and eternal God—and not only to God Himself, but also to Jesus Himself who would be growing within and inside of her. Oh we have a great need to realize, recognize and understand this particular truth, for it draws and calls our attention to the awesome and powerful truth that for Mary her physical body and life would entirely and altogether belong to the living God, and she would live her life from that moment on for the life that was growing inside of her. What makes this all the more intriguing and interesting is when you think about the fact that from the moment the angel departed from her presence, and from the moment the life of the Son of the Highest began growing within her, she would live her entire life for Christ and would live her entire life for the sake and for the purpose of Christ that He might be healthy and that He might be able to live and dwell safely in the world.

            The more I think about and the more I consider the words and language that is found within the second chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by Luke the more I am convinced that what is presented before and unto us is in and of itself a powerful demonstration that Mary’s life was not her own, that Mary’s physical body was not her own, and even those desires, thoughts, intentions and plans which she might very well have had were not her own. I can’t help but think about how Mary might very well have had it planned out how she would deliver and bring forth the Son of the Highest there in Nazareth, and yet she might not have been entirely and altogether aware of what had been prophesied and spoken centuries before the ancient prophet Micah. It would be through one of the Lord’s servants that we learn and discover that the Son of the Highest and the Messiah would indeed and would in fact be born in Bethlehem. It is important for us to realize and understand this, for when you read the second chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the beloved physician Luke you will encounter and come face to face with the awesome and powerful truth that although Mary might very well have had thoughts—perhaps even plans—to bring forth the child there in Nazareth, there was something much greater and much larger than what she could think or imagine. Despite the fact she might have thought and had it in her heart to bring forth the child there in Nazareth amongst her friends, amongst her family members, and amongst her loved ones it would not be so, for prophecy needed to be fulfilled and the word of God would need to come to pass.

            If you are reading the words which are found within this portion of Scripture you must needs recognize and acknowledge the fact that even the journey Mary and Joseph would make unto the town of Bethlehem would in and of itself be a powerful declaration and demonstration that Mary’s life was not her own, and that at the very heart and center of the birth of the Messiah and the Son of the Highest would be the divine will, plan and purposes of the eternal Father. Centuries before the prophet Micah had proclaimed the word of the LORD concerning the coming Messiah and how the Messiah would indeed and would in fact be born in Bethlehem of Judah rather than in Jerusalem, or in Nazareth, or in Jericho, or in Hebron, or in any other city within the land of Judaea and Galilee. Pause and consider how absolutely necessary it is for us to recognize this powerful truth and reality, for it calls and draws our attention to the fact that even the journey unto Bethlehem at the time of Mary’s delivery and birth of her first born child would be ordained and appointed by the living and eternal God. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this, for it calls and draws our attention to the awesome and wonderful truth that the decree which would go our from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed—literally enrolled in a census—was used by the living and eternal God to bring forth Joseph and Mary pregnant with child out of Nazareth and into the town of Bethlehem. What’s more, is that even Joseph himself being of the house and lineage of David would have been divinely orchestrated and ordained by the living God, for it would be based on and because of his house and lineage that he would need to make the journey with Mary who was now well along in her pregnancy with the Son of the Highest. Oh I can’t help but wonder if Mary and Joseph at all thought about and wondered what would happen if the time came for Mary to deliver and bring forth the child in the town of Bethlehem while they were down there. Did either of them think about and consider—even for a moment—what they would do and how they would handle it if the time came for Mary to deliver and give birth during those days to the child which was growing inside of her womb?

            It is something worth considering and thinking about when we read the words found in this portion of Scripture, for it calls and draws our attention to the awesome and powerful truth that even the journey unto Bethlehem would in and of itself be a powerful demonstration before and unto Mary that her life was not her own, that her physical body was not her own, and even the plans and ideas she might have had were not those of the living God. It was through the prophet Isaiah the living and eternal God would emphatically declare that His thoughts were not our thoughts and that His ways were not our ways, and we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this and how incredibly important this truly is when thinking about and considering the narrative of Mary and Joseph having to make the journey unto Bethlehem. We must pay close and careful attention to this, for it calls and draws our focus to the place where we realize and understand that the journey to the town of Bethlehem would wonderfully and powerfully demonstrate that even the plans which Mary and Joseph might very well have had for bringing forth Jesus into the world were subject—not only to the plans of God, and not only to the will of God, but also to prophecy itself. How absolutely astonishing and astounding it is to think about the fact that the plans which Mary and Joseph might have had concerning bringing forth Jesus into the world were subject to prophecy and to the prophetic word—and not only to the prophetic word, but also to the divine will and plan of the living and eternal God. Neither Mary nor Joseph had absolutely any control over the events surrounding the birth of Jesus the Christ, and the living and eternal God would do what He needed to do in order to bring about the prophetic words which were spoken concerning Jesus the Christ, the Son of the living God.

            As I prepare to bring this writing to a close it is absolutely necessary that we call and draw our attention to the awesome truth that Mary’s physical body and life were powerfully marked, set apart, and consecrated by the one true and living God. The physical body and life of Mary did not and would not belong to her, and she would need to yield everything before and unto the living God. The angelic announcement of Gabriel would indeed begin the process of marking, setting apart and consecrating the physical body and life of Mary unto the living God and His divine plans and purposes, for Mary would no longer have any control over her life or her body. Everything she did from that moment on would be for Jesus the Christ who would be growing inside of her, and she could no longer focus on herself. Stop and consider the fact that if you are a woman who has become pregnant your entire life shifts and changes as you are no longer able to live your life for yourself, but you are forced to live your life for another. The very fact that life begins to grow inside of you dramatically changes and alters how you eat, what you drink, and how you spend your days and your time. From the moment you discover you are pregnant you begin taking different types of vitamins and medication to ensure a safe and healthy pregnancy because your single and sole focus is the life of the child that is growing inside of you. Pause and think about what this must have been like for Mary as she would not only live her life for that child which was growing inside of her, but knowing that the child growing inside of her was no ordinary child, but would be the Son of the Highest. Think about the steps and measures you take to look after and care for the baby growing inside you when you discover you are pregnant, and multiply that a hundred fold—perhaps even more—for Mary as she would be responsible for the life of the Son of God growing inside of her. She wasn’t merely carrying any ordinary child, but she was carrying the very Son of God within her womb, and she would need to ensure that she did everything she could and needed to do to look after and care for that life which was growing within her.

            I bring this writing to a close by calling and drawing your attention to the words which are found in the opening portion of the second chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative of the life and ministry of Jesus as written by Luke, for it highlights and underscores the tremendous and powerful reality that we as those who desire to walk with God and those who desire to cultivate and carry the life of Christ within us are not our own and neither do our lives belong to us. When we begin to carry the life of the Son of the Highest within our hearts, within our spirits, within our souls, and within each and every area of our lives we are automatically and immediately marked, set apart and sanctified by the living God. No longer are we able to live our lives as we would like, and no longer are we able to do with our lives what we want. The moment we begin to carry the life of the Son of the Highest within us we are responsible for that life just as Mary was responsible for the physical person and life of the Son of the Highest within her womb. What was true of Mary is true of us spiritually, for when we begin carrying the life of Jesus the Christ within our hearts, within our minds, within our spirits, within our souls, we are responsible to doing anything and everything to guard and protect that life which is growing inside of us. No longer are our lives our own to do with what we please and when we please, for our lives were bought with a price. We have a great need to think about and consider this awesome and powerful truth, for it forces us to acknowledge the reality that when we begin carrying the life of the Messiah within our physical persons and within our spiritual man we are no longer able to live our lives as we wish and as we would desire. The moment we make the decision to walk with God and to allow the life of His Son to be cultivated within us is the moment we must needs recognize that we cannot and must not live our lives as we wish any longer. There is a great responsibility that comes and is associated with having the life of the Son of the Highest growing inside of us, and we must needs realize that we can no longer live our lives as we once thought we would, for everything we do is for and all about that life growing inside of us.

Perhaps the greatest question we must needs ask ourselves when we read and consider these words is whether or not we are willing to take and accept the responsibility for carrying the life of the Son of God within us. We know from the opening chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle John that to those who received Jesus—it would be unto them whom Jesus would give power to become sons of God. These individuals who would become sons of the living God would be those who were born not of the flesh, nor of the will of man, nor even of blood, but of the Spirit—a reality which Jesus explained to Nicodemus when He spoke of those who were born of water, as well as those who were born of the Spirit. We must needs realize and acknowledge this absolutely astonishing truth, for we have to determine within our own hearts and lives whether or not we are willing to be responsible for cultivating the life of the Son of God within us—and not only cultivating the life of the Messiah within us, but also carrying it until the appointed time when it is manifested and brought forth into the earth. We have a great and powerful need within our lives to truly acknowledge and recognize that when we make the decision to allow the life of Christ to be cultivated within and inside of us we can no longer live our lives the way we desire and the way we want, and everything we do is for that life which is growing within us. The question you and I must ask ourselves is whether or not we are doing everything we can and everything we need to in order for the life of the Messiah to grow within us, as well as be brought forth at the appointed time. There is a great and tremendous need within our hearts and lives to truly take ownership over the life of the Son of the Highest growing inside of us—and by ownership I mean accepting full responsibility for that life within us ensuring it can safely grow within us and is healthy throughout the appointed time it’s within us until the time comes for it to be brought forth and manifested within the world. Oh that we would be a people who recognize that we have been marked, set apart, separated and consecrated for the purpose of carrying the life of the Son of God within these earthen vessels and within these physical temples and tabernacles until the time comes when we are able to bring forth that life into the world as a witness and testimony.

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