The Greatest Story – Part 5: The Promised One

As Mary slept she dreamt of a man with clothing stained red marching with great strength. As the man marched closer to Mary she heard Him declaring: “It is I, the Lord, announcing your salvation! It is I, the Lord, who has the power to save!”

Mary ran after Him and heard Him continue: “The time has come I will avenge My people, I alone will ransom them from their oppressors. I come to tell the world of God’s unfailing love. I will praise my Lord God for all He has done. I will rejoice in His great goodness to Israel, for He extends mercy and love. God has sent me to His people for He longs to become their Saviour. He has seen their great suffering and He personally rescues them. His great love and mercy is here to rescue and redeem them. He has lifted them and carried them.”

In her dream the man had led Mary to the Red Sea “people need to remember the days when Moses led the people out of Egypt. When the people doubted and feared for their lives the sea was parted and they walked across on dry land. As soon as they were safe on the other side the seas swallowed up their enemy. Let the people disown their stubborn rebellious hearts!” (Isaiah 63). Mary’s heart filled with grief and her eyes wept as she listened.

Then Mary was in a great throne room and she could see a giant golden throne, as her eyes tried to process all that she was seeing the man declared: “The Lord God Almighty will raise up a righteous descendant from the line of King David. This man will be a great King who rules with great wisdom doing what is just and right throughout the land. His reign will never end. His name will be the Lord is Our Righteousness.’ The man turned to Mary and continued ‘Judah will be saved and Israel will live in safety.’ (Jeremiah 23:5-6, Jeremiah 33:15-17)

Mary tried to grasp all that the dream was revealing to her and she struggled to wake so that she could share this wonderful revelation to Joseph. She awoke tangled in the bedding, sweaty and with her heart pounding. As if he had known her heart Joseph arrived in her room just moments after she had woken. Mary took a few steadying breaths and quickly relayed the wonderful messages from her dream. Joseph sat with a stunned look on his face. Eventually Joseph found his voice and said: “I don’t know why but I’ve been reflecting a lot on what Daniel wrote long ago” Mary nodded “I know I have been reflecting on many of the promises of old as well.”.

“The thing that puzzles me is that Daniel wrote that the Messiah would come with the clouds of heaven, with great authority, honour and sovereignty over all the nations. It even states that every race and nation would obey His eternal rule because His kingdom will never be destroyed. (Daniel 7:13-14). Jesus’ arrival was far from spectacular.” Mary smiled “yes I know, hidden in a stable rather than arriving on clouds. Revealed to those considered of lowly stature, the shepherds, who worshipped Him with such adoration.” Mary smiled at the memory of seeing the shepherds eyes filled with wonder and their excited chatter that had filled her heart with joy.

They both sat in silence for a few moments before Joseph continued: “But Jesus was also revealed to those considered wise and knowledgeable, the Magi’s confirmed Micah’s prediction of Him being born in Bethlehem but there are still many Israelites scattered and they have not returned yet from exile so the undisturbed peace still seems far off! How can our small child possibly contain all of that which is promised?” (Micah 5:2-5)

Mary nodded still trying to process her own thoughts.

“I mean we both think that we have seen the coming of the great prophet who was predicted to rise up just before the Messiah. Elizabeth’s son, John, is believed to be that prophet but he is still a child himself, how can he possibly prepare the way? Can our son really be the Promised One who will be like a blazing fire that refines metal or like a strong soap that bleaches clothes? How is any of this possible?” (Malachi 3:1-2)

After many moments of silence, where both Mary and Joseph were lost in their thoughts, Jesus stirred. Mary spent time attending to His needs and then Merry announced that dinner was ready. Joseph and Mary, carrying Jesus, made their way downstairs.

Marry rushed to grab Jesus and allowed Mary to eat while she fussed over Him. Mary smiled and sighed, how wonderful it was now that it was just the 5 of them. With both Mary and Joseph wrestling with some big questions Rufus and Merry delighted in helping them to unpack all the thoughts racing through their minds. With Jesus being the only child in the home he was doted on by all of the adults and Mary appreciated greatly the help and extra hands.

After their lovely meal Mary spent time unpacking the revelation that Jesus could be the Promised One. As the hours ticked away scriptures were recited and passionately discussed before Mary’s weary body demanded sleep. Thanking everyone for their insight and encouragement Mary carried Jesus up the bedroom where she prayed for a deep sleep.

 

The Promised One – Jesus.

God’s extravagant love gift

to the world. 

(John 3:16)

 

“For this is how much God loved the world—he gave his one and only, unique Son as a gift. So now everyone who believes in him will never perish but experience everlasting life.” John 3:16 The Passion Translation

 

Sara Strong “It’s very significant that the shepherds were the first to be told by the angels that a baby had been born who was the Messiah who would save Israel and all the world, and the first to visit the baby Jesus lying in a manger. At that time, shepherds were the lowest in the social hierarchy; they were despised because they lived out in the fields with their sheep and didn’t fulfil the requirements of the Jewish law.  So God chose the least and the lowest to see the glory of the angels announcing the Messiah’s birth, the baby born in a stable, the most humble place, because there wasn’t room for him in an inn. So God’s Son, sent to share our humanity and to die for our sins, came to a mother and father not endowed with any wealth, in the humblest of circumstances.”

The Greatest Story – Part 4: The Messiah

As the upstairs room was now available Rufus and Merry helped to move Joseph, Mary and Jesus. Mary was grateful that she had a proper bed to sleep in and the room was bright and sunny which lifted her spirits immediately. The exhaustion was still very present and Mary spent most of her time resting and found that the quietness meant that she was able to regularly nap. Mary did miss her woolly companions though and they had made a slight fuss as she had packed up her things, she had stroked their gentle faces and thanked them for their warmth and companionship. Between her naps and attending to Jesus Mary had lots of time to think and she found herself reflecting on this wonderful child that had been gifted to her.

The Magi’s reminder of the prophetic declarations had sunk deep into Mary’s heart and she had gradually been unpacking the other prophecy’s as they returned to her mind.

It was just as the prophet from old had foretold, Mary as a virgin had indeed conceived and given birth to her son Jesus. As she gazed upon His face she wondered if He really could be Immanuel, God dwelling with the lowly. (Isaiah 7:14)

As Jesus began to stir she wondered how the tiny bundle before her could possibly hold the promises that had been foretold. Could the government truly rest upon those currently feeble shoulders? Could Jesus possibly live up to the names of Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father and Prince of Peace? How was it possible for His government and peace to never end?

Mary smiled and picked Jesus up as she declared over Him that He would rule with fairness and justice from the throne of David for all of eternity. Mary kissed Jesus’ cheek as she held onto the promise that the Lord of Heaven’s Armies would make it happen. (Isaiah 9:6-7)

Mary wondered if the angel who had visited her would one day visit her precious son.

As Mary attended to Jesus’ needs she wondered if He could possibly be the new shoot, the new branch that would bear the Spirit of the Lord. As she looked into His eyes she wondered if she could already see wisdom and great understanding buried within. She hugged Him closer as she prayed for the promised spirit of counsel and might and for the fear of the Lord to fill Him so that He could delight in obeying God. Mary reminded herself that she needed to teach Jesus to judge based on a person’s heart not their appearance and she prayed that Jesus would indeed seek justice for the poor and exploited.

As Jesus let out a small cry Mary laughed and wondered how such a small voice was to one day develop into a powerful voice that would make the earth shake. As Jesus continued to fuss Mary hugged him close and prayed that He would grow up to be strong enough to destroy the wicked.

Mary changed Jesus’ soiled cloths and wondered what a belt of righteousness would look like on Him and as she placed a clean cloth over his bottom she wondered what truth undergarments would be made out of. (Isaiah 11:1-5)

With Jesus fed and clean Mary carried Him over to the window to gaze at the world below, as people rushed here and there Mary wondered how Jesus could be a banner of salvation to the world. Apart from the few unusual visitors people seemed oblivious to His existence. How were the nations to rally around Him? How was this oppressed land to become a glorious place to live? (Isaiah 11:10)

As Jesus squirmed in Mary’s arms she wondered how He could be strengthened enough to carry the Spirit of God. As she gazed upon His small face she couldn’t understand how He could possibly bring justice to those who were wronged and to all the nations. As she felt Jesus’ heart beating next to her own she prayed that He would be strengthened to never falter or lose heart and indeed bring the promised justice to the entire world.

Mary’s eyes filled with tears as she thought of her baby boy leaving her for distant places but He was foretold to take His instructions and teachings to the furthest lands. (Isaiah 42:1-4)

Mary gently rocked Jesus to sleep and surrendered her precious child to God. She knew that she needed to completely trust God and clung to the assurance that her son would bring the message of salvation that the people so longed to hear. Her heart broke as she recalled the promise that He would be despised, rejected and scorned by men. Mary prayed that hearts would be open to hear His message.

Tears rolled down her face as she prayed against the promise of great sorrow, pain and grief. She kissed Jesus’ cheek as she wondered how He could possibly bear the world’s sorrow and pain. Mary held Jesus tighter as she prayed against the promise of being struck down, degraded, humiliated, wounded and crushed. Her heart felt heavy at the thought of Jesus being harmed in any way, as she looked at His perfect face she couldn’t contemplate it scrunched with pain.

Mary cried out to God to spare her from the pain of seeing Him snatched from her and prayed for Jesus to have a long fruitful life. She couldn’t comprehend how her small child could possibly bear the sins of many and intercede with God over the transgressions of men. (Isaiah 53:1-12)

As Mary watched Jesus sleep she stood at the window and allowed the warmth of the sun to take away the heaviness that was threatening to lodge in her heart. More tears flowed freely down her face as she spent more time unpacking the prophetic declarations. Mary wondered how it could be possible for Jesus to be the One to intervene for the oppressed? How could this small feeble child possibly step in and save many? Could He really force the enemies of Israel to pay for their evil deeds? Would those in the West truly respect the name of Jesus? How could those in the East glorify Him? As Mary stood gazing at her small child she wondered how He could be the great Redeemer.

There were so many mysteries foretold.

How would God’s spirit come to dwell with them and never leave them? Would it be a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night like when the Israelites were in the desert?

Mary grew up knowing that she would be required to pass God’s promises from her generation to the next, just as her parents had done with her, but the current dangerous times raged around them threatening their freedom. Would Joseph be able to pass on his wisdom to their son? Would she be able to freely share all the wonderful promises of God?

Mary wrestled with all her questions and turned to look at the clouds gathering in the sky above. As the rain clouds gathered Mary prayed for a refreshing to come to the land that she loved but more importantly for a refreshing to people’s hearts.

As the first rain drops fell she was reminded of the great prophet Isaiah, he had promised that the Lord would bring about a freedom where the lips of the faithful could tell the tales with no end. (Isaiah 59:16-21)

Mary smiled, a great courage entered her heart and she softly sung a song that her father had taught her about the coming Messiah:

“The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon me, for the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor.

He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted and to proclaim that captives will be released and prisoners will be freed.

He has sent me to tell those who mourn that the time of the Lord’s favour has come, and with it, the day of God’s anger against their enemies.

To all who mourn in Israel, take heart for you will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair.

In righteousness you will be like great oaks that the Lord has planted for His own glory.

Strength will be given to you to rebuild the ancient ruins, repairing cities destroyed long ago.

The Lord will revive you even though you’ve been deserted for many generations.

Foreigners will be your servants, they will feed your flocks, plow your fields and tend your vineyards.

You will be called priests of the Lord, ministers of our God.

You will feed on the treasures of the nations and boast in their riches.

Instead of shame and dishonour, you will enjoy a double share of honour.

You will possess a double portion of prosperity in your land, and everlasting joy will be yours.

For the Lord God loves justice and hates robbery and wrongdoing.

He will faithfully reward His people for their suffering and make an everlasting covenant with them. Their descendants will be recognized and honoured among the nations.

Everyone will realize that they are indeed God’ beloved people when they see how much the Lord has blessed them.

Oh how my lips shout with praise, I’m overwhelmed with joy!

For the Lord my God has dressed me with the clothing of salvation and draped me in a robe of righteousness. I am dressed and ready for the great wedding.

The Sovereign Lord will show His justice to the nations of the world.

Everyone will praise him!

His righteousness will be like a garden in early spring, plants will be springing up everywhere.

(Isaiah 61:1-11)

With the smell of fresh rain filling the room, her song finished and Jesus sleeping soundly, Mary laid down to nap.

Jesus – God’s lamb, the One sent to take away the sins of the world! (See John 1:29)

Jesus Messiah – Chris Tomlin – YouTube video

Messiah -Francesca Battistelli – YouTube video

Messiah dance by Bezalel School – YouTube video