Weekly Advent: The Promise
By Michael Winkelman
From the Gospel of Matthew, in chapter 1 verse 21 it reads, “21 And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”
Her heart had suddenly burst into a thousand pieces. She fell to her knees in a crumpled heap as all of her strength was ripped away from her. The only thing that held her from completing the fall was the embrace of John. Mary watched her tears fall to the ground below as she hung her head and vainly attempted to control her sobs. She could not bear to lift her eyes again, she could not bear to see Him hanging there the way He was.
Suddenly the sound of His voice interrupted the sorrowful stupor that captivated Mary and she looked up to see her Son nailed to the cross. "Woman, behold your son!" Mary felt John's futile attempt to comfort her as he upheld her and rubbed her back. Mary saw Jesus then look to John, "Behold your mother!" Mary's firstborn, her beloved, was ensuring the wellbeing of His mother even as He was suspended in utter agony. She looked at her Son, the man Jesus, who had grown under her care. She looked into His eyes with the greatest desire of doing anything that would help comfort Him the only way a mother's love could; but she helplessly watched as He suffered the death of a criminal. With each hammer strike that drove the nails into His skin, Mary felt a part of herself being crushed. The open wounds that stretched across His back from the lash caused her to shutter. The crown of thorns, twisted together and beaten ruthlessly into His head caused a debilitating pain that throbbed inside of Mary's head. Mary processed the scene, her Son's words, and how it all came to this pinnacle moment. She could not help but ask ... Why? ... How?
She looked at the man Jesus, the One that was called prophet, Anointed One, yes, He was called the Messiah; yet all she could see was that sweet little boy born so many years ago. She remembered the angel's prophesy, that she would give birth to the very Son of God. Mary remembered the song of Elizabeth declaring her mother of the Lord. Mary remembered, as she held Him for the first time in her arms, a beautiful baby boy, so helpless, yet He carried creation in His hands. Mary came to know Him as Son, and yet also as Lord. As Mary saw Him battered, beaten and ripped to pieces, she saw her baby boy of promise and hope. How could this be? The Lord God promised that her firstborn would save the people from their sins, how could He now be suffering such a horrid death? Mary knew that the Lord was faithful, but in that moment the agony of her Son and the agony in her heart prevented her from questioning God's plan in it all. Mary was crushed, and as the Roman soldiers took the spear and mercilessly thrust it into the side of Jesus, John quickly carried her away.
The disciples were lost, the people who trusted in His ministry were scattered, and Mary had become numb to the relentless pain that assaulted her from within. She carried on in utter shock, yet prayed earnestly and without ceasing. The only sense of comfort she could find at all was in those quiet moments she took and cried out to her God. Mary was in mourning, and in such instances as this the only thing left to do was to trust her Lord. On the third day, it started like the others. Mary somehow found the strength to get out of bed, she gave herself up to God as she again proclaimed her agony yet her trust in His plan. Mary looked out the bedroom window and overlooked Jerusalem, she overlooked her people and their denial of her beloved Son who healed their sick and delivered their possessed. Though Mary watched Jesus suffer and inevitably die, she felt this strong sense that it was not over. She pondered the feeling deep in her heart, but wondered, “How my Lord? How can the ministry of Jesus carry on?” She remembered the promise; that He would save her people from their sins.
The promise, the great promise of the Messiah formed in her womb. The Messiah she held in her hands, the Messiah she nursed and strengthened and raised in the law of her people. The Messiah she called son, and later in His mighty ministry, Lord. Tears began to slowly stream down her face as the memories of her sweet little boy passed through her mind. The tears rolled as Mary stood alone, for she could find no one in those days that could embrace her and cause them to stop. Yet as the tears fell to the ground Mary suddenly sensed that she was not alone. On that third day, a hand fell upon her shoulder, and a voice; strong yet meek, mighty in power and yet comforting and soft said, "Mother." Mary, turned, and with joy proclaimed, "My Son, my Lord and my God!" The enslavement of sorrow that captivated her was shattered, the promise of hope and salvation was completed. Jesus had risen, her son and her Lord.
From the Gospel of Luke, in chapter 1 verses 46 through 55 it reads,
46 And Mary said:
“My soul magnifies the Lord,
47 And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.
48 For He has regarded the lowly state of His maidservant;
For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed.
49 For He who is mighty has done great things for me,
And holy is His name.
50 And His mercy is on those who fear Him
From generation to generation.
51 He has shown strength with His arm;
He has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.
52 He has put down the mighty from their thrones,
And exalted the lowly.
53 He has filled the hungry with good things,
And the rich He has sent away empty.
54 He has helped His servant Israel,
In remembrance of His mercy,
55 As He spoke to our fathers,
To Abraham and to his seed forever.”
About the Author:
Michael Winkelman is former US Army Airborne and a current Law Enforcement Officer. Mikey works as a Patrol Sergeant, SWAT Team Leader, and Firearms Instructor. Mikey is also the author of Sing Your Warsong, Christian! A beautiful and powerful devotional written for a fellow brother-in-arms. We highly suggest you snag a copy!