I was rereading the narrative in the Gospel according to Luke yesterday and was stuck with its contemporary significance relative to the abortion debate.
As Christians we believe that all human beings are created with significance precisely because they are made in God’s image (Gen. 1:26-28). This human dignity begins in the womb at the very moment of conception (Ps. 139:15; Job 31:15). Furthermore, we affirm that the one who has authority to give and take life is God alone. He alone has the right as the creator, giver, and sustainer of life to exercise that privilege (Job 1:21; Acts 17:25).
This is in stark contrast to the increasingly common position of those who are pro-choice. They believe in a women’s right to choose whether or not the baby growing inside their womb is permitted to live or if it will die. They believe that the baby is not endowed with any particular dignity or even the status of personhood while in its gestational phase. And they certainly do not believe that there is any outside authority that has any right to tell a women what she can and can not do to her body (or the baby growing within it). Sadly, the image-bearing baby gets the consideration of a suspicious mole that needs to be removed. Many people simply believe abortion to be a procedure to remove unwanted tissue from their body.
I hasten to remind you that our Lord Jesus Christ entered the earth through a womb. His body formed during gestation, he was nourished by his mother, and he was born like any other baby. He was so human that he would have even had a belly-button. His experience of gestation was much like ours (with the obvious exception of having no earthly father).
Think with me about how different Mary was from many in the Pro-Choice movement. Mary embraced God’s authority over her life. In her thinking it was normal and permissible for God to reorder events according to his plan. This reordering should be embraced even if it was different than her own. She embraced the truth that her body was not ultimately her own but rather it belonged ultimately to God. She also embraced a biblical view of children. You never read of her complaining about Jesus being an inconvenience. The testimony from the Scripture and history has been that Mary embraced her role and loved her child. When you put these three together you have a heart that is submissive to God’s rule over all creation, including herself, and a mind that believed that children were created with inherent dignity as image-bearers.
The striking contrast between Mary and her 21st Century peers is not geographical, temporal, or educational. It is spiritual. The Pro-Choice perspective on pregnancy is at its heart a consequence of an atheistic worldview. It denies God his authority over our lives and our bodies. It denies God his right to give and take away life but taking it ourselves. It denies God his purpose in being glorified through the personhood of infants in the womb by reducing them to clumps of tissue. Make no mistake the divide is spiritual. It functions at the core of one’s worldview. Either there is a God and he rules or there is no god at all, and therefore, I rule.
Christians should also remember that this worldview that Mary employed is not different from their own. How about that Christian friends, we are on the cutting edge of the first century! We have the same way of thinking that a young Jewish peasant girl had.
We ought to remember that Jesus entered this world in a way much like we did. We should also remember that Mary embraced life because she embraced God’s authority over life. And through her obedience the most wonderful gift imaginable came to humanity. And that gift continues to come through the forgiveness and life offered in the gospel.
[image via Shutterstock]