The angel of light came to her...
Hesham Shehab: Advent message… Salvation Comes to All Who, like Mary, Trust the Word
An angel came to a woman a long time ago…. She had faith unspoiled by sin, for this was the first woman, Eve. But the angel that came to her spoke a word to her, a word of death. She listened to the word and believed it, and so sin and death were implanted in her, to be transplanted into the entire human race.
We, her children, received the seed of death from the dark angel’s word. We were conceived and born in sin, doomed to death eternally.
All this because Eve put her faith in a lying word of Satan. He lured her away from God’s truth, away from His Word. The lying serpent offered misleading promises – “You shall not surely die. You shall be as God.” Eve trusted these, and brought the curse upon man and earth and beast alike.
But in the fullness of time, an angel of light came to Mary in Nazareth. The Blessed Virgin was not unspoiled by sin, for she also was a daughter of Eve. Yet she received the gift of faith, faith that clung to the Word of God.
The angel of light came to her. Gabriel spoke to her words of truth from the Lord, not lies and deceptions. He gave the promise of the Child to be born.
Through the Word that was spoken, life was conceived in Mary. The Son of God took flesh in her womb, to create life and holiness for all who have faith. Eternal salvation comes to all who, like Mary, trust the Word.
Instead of the curse, Mary received blessing, and is called “blessed one” because of the Child. Instead of a curse for all, all creation will be made new, and the curse reversed.
May we be Mary’s children, so to speak. May we hear and trust the Angel Gabriel’s words.
What does he say? “Behold, you [Mary] will conceive in your womb and bear a Son, and You shall call His name Jesus– the Son of God (which means he will save his people).”
We must trust these words. For here is the promise of God in His Son. Here is life and salvation in the Child born of the Virgin.
So we trust that the Lord accomplished the fulfillment of all prophecy; even the first promise given to Adam and Eve that the woman’s Seed would crush the serpent’s head. Christ is the King who saves, the only true Jesus, the Lord who saves from sin and death.
To do that, God did not merely inhabit a man, but He became Man. He took flesh to be one of us.
This incarnation is the core of who God is. If God is love, and He is, then how could He not share our state and take our burdens and die our death? How could He not be born as one of us, in the form of a servant? His overwhelming grace compelled Him. He who cannot be compelled by any force compelled Himself by His unstoppable love.
And He came down to die the death we deserve. The curse of death was going to destroy us. Christ let the curse destroy Him instead.
But the curse is not completely gone. Without faith, we would still be under condemnation. For we are either Eve’s children, under the curse, or Mary’s children, blessed through faith.
So we must continue to listen to and trust in the Word of the messenger of God, rather than the angel of darkness.
He is with us; Immanuel; which means God is with His people.
We will not be able to overcome Satan by our own wisdom and discernment, but by the power of God’s Word.
We have the same Word spoken to us.
The Word the Lord speaks is not information…it is spirit…and the spirit gives life. (John 6: 63)
When we listen to it, the Spirit comes upon us as well. The power is there to create and sustain faith in us sinners. Faith is a most mighty miracle indeed.
We should be like Mary. We should humbly listen to the Word. We should meekly say, “Behold the servant of the Lord.” We should cling to the promise of the Word as tightly as she did, with Spirit-given faith.
In the Name of this mighty God, who does such great wonders for us. Amen.
Rev. Hesham Shehab
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