26 In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth,
27 to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin’s name was Mary.
28 And he came to her and said, “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!”
29 But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be.
30 And 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 call his name Jesus.
32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David,
33 and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”
34 And Mary said to the angel, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?”
35 And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God.
36 And behold, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren.
37 For nothing will be impossible with God.”
38 And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.
Fear, shock and gratitude were all the feelings of emotions that Mary felt as she was receiving what as probably the most life changing news she had ever heard. She was about to be given the role of carrying son of God and raising Him as her earthly child, and watch Him change the world.
It is amazing to see how humble and grateful she is at hearing the news of taking on the honor of playing a role in bringing Jesus into this world. Her heart is filled with gratitude and she immediately submits to the Angel’s message. She is ready to take on this role and is trusting God fully that He will see this through and believes in His faithfulness and guidance.
This is a life changing moment in history. In the previous chapter we saw how Elizabeth was given the gift of carrying the child (John) that would serve Jesus Christ and play a role in introducing Him to the world. Here we see Mary receiving the gift of carrying the child of the one whom would be served. Both these women were about to play important roles in the beginning steps that would lead to the salvation of the entire world.
God’s hand is truly at work in arranging how and when Jesus would begin His mission to save the world from eternal punishment. This should fill our hearts with hope, peace and joy to see how God’s plan for redemption was so carefully thought out and He did it all because He loves us. This is a passage of faith, submission and joy. Today that same message of hope and joy still carries on and we can continue to walk in faith and trust that God is still and will keep on working in our lives.
In the beginning of Luke’s gospel we learned that a woman, much like Sara, who was in old age was to become pregnant. It was a miracle reminiscent of Abraham and Sara’s calling. After this, Luke moves to the next miracle; one even more impressive than conceiving in old age. A virgin was to conceive which is fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy (Isaiah 7:14). While it is arguable whether or not Isaiah 7:14 is actually speaking of Jesus (or a more local and timely event) it important to Luke and Luke’s audience that Jesus’ birth was miraculous. Additionally, Christian tradition holds that Jesus was indeed born to a virgin. It seems as though, this is a real feature of Jesus’ birth, even if Isaiah’s prophecy is referring to a different even.
Matthew’s gospel takes a slightly different approach by working from Isaiah 9 & 11.
For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse;
from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.
2 The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him—
the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding,
the Spirit of counsel and of might,
the Spirit of the knowledge and fear of the Lord—
3 and he will delight in the fear of the Lord.
Theological debates aside, His life would soon produce miracles that make a virgin birth pale in comparison. Jesus’s life would be a true representation of angel’s claim that
For nothing will be impossible with God. (Luke 1:37)
Indeed, nothing is impossible with God. If we believe in a God that is weak then we are only disappointing ourselves. Our God merely speaks things into existence. With God on our side, who can be against us? (Romans 8:31)
[Featured image from LDS.org]