34 Years Removed

"Annunciation to Mary" by Henry Ossawa Tanner circa 1898 and "Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane" by Heinrich Hoffman circa 1890

"Annunciation to Mary" by Henry Ossawa Tanner circa 1898 and "Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane" by Heinrich Hoffman circa 1890

Today is Good Friday, the day where Christians around the world will be remembering the ultimate sacrifice of our Lord Jesus on the cross. However, most of us don't know what March 25th usually marks every year, the Feast of the Annunciation. This is an oft missed day on the Christian calendar meant to remind us of the mother of Jesus, Mary, and her willingly accepting the call of God to carry His Son to birth for the sake of the world. There is an amazing connection between the two days of remembrance. Both mother and son gave everything in faith to follow the will of their Heavenly Father. 

Early on Friday morning, Jesus was struggling in prayer while in the garden, knowing what his Father had called him to, crying out "Father if you are willing, take this cup from me, yet not my will but yours be done." Of course, we know that it wouldn't be long before Judas led the temple guards to arrest him which would be followed by a false trial, beatings, and a crucifixion. Jesus willingly walked into what he knew would be his death trusting his Father every step of the way. 

Thirty-four years earlier a young teenage girl from an extremely impoverished family, living in what we would call the slums today, is visited by an angel.  In the right circumstances, the announcement of a pregnancy is an exciting and welcomed thing. But not for Mary. We can imagine a flood of concerns came to her mind. "What will my family say when they see I am pregnant?" "I am not even married". "How will I care for a child?" Make no mistake about it, when Mary uttered the words, "I am the Lord's servant...may your words to me be fulfilled", it was a huge step of faith in her heavenly Father. 

Now as followers of Jesus we are called to "carry our cross" and live a life of faith as well. Not just when it is convenient, but in all times. We are to follow the example of Jesus and his mother, trusting the heart of our Father and allowing his will to direct us. Where is He leading you? 

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Benjamin Thomas

Husband and father of 4. Founding and Lead Pastor of Nehemiah Project Church in Avon Indiana. Academic Chaplain at Indiana Wesleyan University. Adjunct Professor of Spiritual Formation at Wesley Biblical Seminary.