What is submission? There have been various meanings given this word over the years. According to Dictionary.com, submission means:
1. To yield oneself to the power or authority of another: to submit to a conqueror.
2. To allow oneself to be subjected to some kind of treatment: to submit to chemotherapy.
3. To defer to another’s judgment, opinion, decision, etc.: I submit to your superior judgment.
Let us today look at what submission meant to Mary when she was given news that would shake her world. We find the account recorded in the book of Luke.
26 Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city in Galilee called Nazareth,
27 to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the descendants of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary.
28 And coming in, he said to her, “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.”
29 But she was very perplexed at this statement, and kept pondering what kind of salutation this was.
30 The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; for you have found favor with God.
31 “And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus.
32 “He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David;
33 and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and His kingdom will have no end.”
34 Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?”
35 The angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy Child shall be called the Son of God.
36 “And behold, even your relative Elizabeth has also conceived a son in her old age; and she who was called barren is now in her sixth month.
37 “For nothing will be impossible with God.”
38 And Mary said, “Behold, the bondslave of the Lord; may it be done to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her. NASB
Mary was troubled at Gabriel’s words as well she should be, but notice the difference between what she said and did, and that of Zacharias when Gabriel made a birth announcement to him. Mary asked the logical question in verse 34: “How can this be, since I am a virgin?” A logical question to be sure and it would be safe to say she knew what was implied. Look at her response when Gabriel answered her and told her about Elizabeth as well as how she would become pregnant.
She may still have been amazed that this could happen but look at her response. She did no laugh as did Abraham and Sarah. She did not tell God it was impossible, as did Zacharias. Mary simply replied that God do His will in her life and as a result, Jesus was born.
When God reveals His will to us, we usually make one of three choices. We laugh and say “No way!” and he shows us there is “HIS” way. Then we accept that which we cannot change and God has His way. Another choice is to tell God it is impossible and He will have to prove it to us. That is what Zacharias did and when God made him mute, he surrendered and God had his will. The third choice is always best. Mary, in love, said “Yes Lord!” and God accomplished His will through her submission.
The three choices are simply:
1. Acceptance: accepting the reality of something we cannot change.
2. Surrender: yielding to a superior force.
3. Submission: voluntary obedience in love, not from force.
Abraham accepted, Zacharias surrendered, Mary submitted. Which method does God use to work through you?