GOD WILL FINISH WHAT HE STARTED
God’s story begins in Genesis, with a promise, strangely, not to humans but to the devil himself.
“And I will cause hostility between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring. He will strike your head, and you will strike his heel.”
Genesis 3:15 NLT
Let’s fast forward, past the long history of God’s wayward nation, to a little teenage girl, Mary. She’s confronted by a high-ranking angel, Gabriel himself, with another promise directly connected to God’s first promise. Put that into your memory bank, Mary.
“In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a village in Galilee, to a virgin named Mary. She was engaged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of King David…. “Don’t be afraid, Mary,” the angel told her, “for you have found favor with God! You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David.
Luke 1:26-27, 30-32 NLT
She, little Mary, a virgin engaged to be married, is about to become pregnant with a son, not just any son and certainly not her fiancé’s child, but God’s Son. Impossible? Not if God’s in it.
Little Mary submits and puts that memory into her bank of precious memories.
Strange and unusual things happen at the birth of this Son. Shepherds come to the house in Bethlehem where He was born. Who sent them to this address? Angels! So they said.
She puts this visit in her memory bank too.
Then two elderly people meet them at the temple in Jerusalem, eight days later. Joseph and Mary, are on their way to make the required sacrifice for the birth of a boy when an old man meets them, prophesies nice things over the baby, says a word for her that sends chills down her spine. Into her memories goes that one too.
Two years later, magi from a far Eastern country pitch at their home in Bethlehem. Who sent them? A star! So, they said. Another memory to store.
Soon after, a death threat. So, they flee to Egypt… and boy toddlers are murdered because of Him. Such scary things to remember, not forgetting God’s oversight in this emergency.
“The murderer is dead,” so, they are told. “You can go back home.” So, they return to Nazareth in Galilee, as far from the seat of government as possible.
Little Mary is puzzled by the behaviour of her always-compliant, twelve-year-old Son. He goes awol, absent without leave, after a visit to Jerusalem to celebrate Passover. She can’t get inside her Son’s mind. What was he thinking? Why did He just disappear? His answer puzzles her even more. “I’m about my Father,” He says. Another piece in the story to remember.
And so, the years roll by. Jesus grows up, leaves home to begin His life’s work as the Son of God. Little Mary’s memory bank is filling fast… treasured memories of a perfect Son… puzzling memories of a Son who says and does things beyond her finite understanding.
Then the event predicted by the old man 33 years before! The sword pierces her soul. She gazes, aghast, appalled at the sight of her shredded, bloodied, precious Son impaled on a Roman torture stake. Was this what He was about? All His years to end like this?
Wait, little Mary. God’s story hasn’t ended yet. One more chapter to be written.
Three days later, Mary’s Son lives. The impossible has happened. The serpent’s head is crushed, Gabriel’s prophetic message fulfilled, God’s work complete, sin atoned, forgiven, removed from the record. Salvation accomplished. IT IS FINISHED.
Little Mary’s story can be ours if we allow God to finish what He started.
“And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.”
Philippians 1:6 NLT
Faith in the fire loses its dross, emerges pure and precious, the highway to heaven’s glorious completion, written in blood, His blood and ours.
“So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you must endure many trials for a little while. These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world…. The The reward for trusting him will be the salvation of your souls.”
1 Peter 1:6-7, 9 NLT
“We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised.”
Hebrews 6:12 NIV