2,000 years ago, the time came for God to unveil His great plan for saving humanity.
He begins by showing up to one of the most powerless, insignificant people in the world—a teenage Jewish girl.
“Come here, Mary. We’re going to bring a Savior into the world. Just you and me, girl.”
He invites her right off the grid of her religious tradition, cultural laws, social commitments, and nature itself, and into a supernatural partnership with Him. His offer is shocking, scandalous, and mind-blowing. She knows few, if any, will believe it—she can hardly comprehend it herself.
But she says yes.
A few months later, after evidence of Mary’s pregnancy becomes undeniable, God appears to her fiancé.
“Hey, Joseph, man, listen. Mary’s telling the truth—I’m responsible for that baby inside her. I know I didn’t consult you on that one, but here’s what I need you to do. I need you to marry her. I need you to be the man who stands between her and the rest of the world. I need you to lay down your own rights and respectability and partner with what I’m doing with your wife.”
What a charge. What God asks of Joseph is weighty, overwhelming, and painful. He probably knows few, if any, will approve of it—he can hardly understand it himself.
But he says yes.
Restoration: A Shared Assignment
Many sermons have been given on the power of saying yes to God, on the significance of having the humble faith of Mary that declares, “Let it be to me according to your word” (Luke 1:38 NKJV). But what we see in this story is not just one person saying yes to God.
We see two people saying yes—to God and to one another. A man and a woman.
Neither Mary nor Joseph could accomplish what God had asked of them alone. They needed one another to fulfill this shared assignment.
There was, of course, a deeper theme at work here. God was inviting this couple to begin the restoration of all things that unraveled with Adam and Eve. Human history began with a man and a woman and a shared assignment—to be fruitful, multiply, and bring the whole earth into order and flourishing. But when they, the First Adam, turned their ‘yes’ toward that which God had said ‘no’ to, it released a legacy of disorder and destruction.
The submission and surrender of Mary and Joseph, which ushered in the arrival of the Last Adam, began the process of God reopening the road back to the power of our shared yes. Together, they fulfilled their assignment and brought the Son of God into the world, leaving a new legacy of resurrection, redemption, and restoration.
Going with Jesus Means Going Together
Partnership with God is what the Christian life is all about. He invites us to join Him in what He is doing, and He is just as much at work today unraveling the brokenness of lost humanity as He was 2,000 years ago. Being drafted into impossible situations and given assignments that require us to risk our reputations and even our lives for the gospel come with the territory when we sign up to follow the supernatural Son of God.
But He does not call us to go alone. He calls us to a shared yes and a shared assignment. We cannot put the love and restoration of God on display without one another.
This is why Jesus’ final prayer before going to the cross was for you and me:
“And I ask not only for these disciples,
but also for all those who will one day
believe in me through their message.
I pray for them all to be joined together as one
even as you and I, Father, are joined together as one.
I pray for them to become one with us
so that the world will recognize that you sent me.
For the very glory you have given to me I have given them
so that they will be joined together as one
and experience the same unity that we enjoy.
You live fully in me and now I live fully in them
so that they will experience perfect unity,
and the world will be convinced that you have sent me,
for they will see that you love each one of them
with the same passionate love that you have for me.” (John 17:20-23 TPT)
This Christmas, I urge you to look around at the people God has placed in your life, particularly those with whom you are walking out a covenant relationship.
Husbands and wives. Parents and children. Business partners. Teammates. Friendships.
These are your partners in restoration. These are the ones on the journey with you to encounter the reality that the Father loves you as much as He loves Jesus—and put that reality on display to the world around you.
Yes, learning to walk in that love involves struggle. We must battle our fear and unbelief on the inside and worldly pressures on the outside, step out beyond the limits of our old humanity, and venture into the new and unknown regions of loving, forgiving, serving, and laying down our lives like God does. It’s impossible to do alone.
But when we say yes together, like Mary and Joseph, nothing can stop us from doing the impossible with God.
So lean into these partnerships. Say yes again, even when it’s hard. If you feel like you’re scraping the bottom of the barrel of kindness and grace, let God fill you afresh with His limitless love. And then be the encounter with the Father’s love that the people around you so desperately need.