And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it to me according to your word. And the angel departed from her.
It was the answer of profound and humble obedience to the greatest call ever addressed from heaven to a mortal creature. Sudden, undreamt of, overwhelming — interrupting in the most startling manner the daily curse of an obscure human life, breaking in on its privacy, and laying on it the most awful of charges — it was a call to prepare for being the instrument of the final and complete accomplishment of God's highest words and most amazing work. It was a call to be the last link in a chain which, beginning from God Himself, and composed of that august line of chosen souls who in all ages had carried forward His purpose and His promise, was to end in man brought at last to the utmost and most inexpressible closeness unto God — the human mother of the Eternal Son. It was a call to such a pinnacle of unearthly and unapproachable greatness that the consequences involved in it, and the price which it might exact, must have confounded and baffled all anticipation and forethought. What might have to come before the glory, who could conjecture? What might she not have to be, to endure, to surrender, to look forward to, who in a moment learned, in the depth of her obscurity, that she had been chosen, and was called out of all mankind, to be the mother of the "Son of the Highest," the "Son of God," the "Christ." It is idle, it is profane to attempt to imagine the mind and soul of a human being like ourselves at such a moment. In its sudden translation and lifting up out of all the ordinary conditions of human life, in the tides of honour and rapture, of crushing shame and consciousness of the Divine election, of possible sacrifice and certain triumph, it could be like nothing that man has ever gone through. But whatever passed before the thought of that blessed one while the angel's words were setting before her the lot to which she had been appointed, and the place she was to fill in the eternal history, her instant expression of character was that of absolute self-surrender to all that she was called to — of perfect readiness for all that might be required of her. "Behold the handmaid of the Lord, &c."
(Dean Church.)When Mary uttered these words of sweet and humble sublimity, she at once received the rankling sword-thrust into her soul, and steeped her soul in a balm that healed, and more than healed all possible sword-thrusts.
Parallel VersesKJV: And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.