This is my humble offering to the Lord as study this passage (Luke 1:26-38) and His Word as a whole. I do not wish to add anything to Scripture, and I do not wish to communicate anything less than truths that prevail in His Word. I pray this will only be a blessing and an encouragement to all who read it as I consider how Mary may have processed all of this astounding news that came to her through Gabriel.
“O favored one, the Lord is with you!”
What? She thought. Am I seeing things? Am I hearing things? What is happening? What does this mean?
“Do not fear, Mary, for you have found favor with God.”
For the first of many times to follow, her eyes grew wide. Her heart beat fast. Her mind raced. She searched her memory. It had been almost 400 years since any of God’s people had heard from God. Could this really be happening? Surely she was seeing things.
The angel continued, “And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus.”
“He saves,” she knew the meaning of that name well. Could this be the prophecy of Isaiah 7 coming to pass? “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” I am a virgin! But this is crazy! I am too lowly to be receiving such a calling.
“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, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”
I know I have heard those words before! This is what we have been praying for – the long awaited promised child who would be heir to David’s throne and rule his people with peace and justice forever! Where was that again? Isaiah 9?
Ah, but I am just a young girl, promised to be married to Joseph soon.
“How can this be? I am a virgin!” she exclaimed.
“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.”
Her eyes grew wide again. She felt her heart beating nearly out of her chest as she considered all that was being said. Had anything like this ever happened before? Surely not, but God had done incredible things in the past. She knew the stories. She knew how God parted the Red Sea for His people to pass over. She knew how He made a valley of dry bones come to life. She knew how time and time again, God gave children to barren women, and as she considered these things, she found her faith growing and her belief in God fighting the lie she heard ringing in her ears, “This is impossible!”
The angel kept going, “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. For nothing will be impossible with God.”
Elizabeth! In her sixth month of pregnancy! Oh my heart, surely nothing is impossible with God.
She weighed what this would mean. How had she thought life would go up until this point? Had she desired a quiet life with Joseph? She surely did not intend to create any sort of commotion about her life, and this would without a doubt be cause for rumors to circulate. People could do the math; they would think what they wanted to think. And the shame they’d cast on her wouldn’t end at his birth. She’d probably have to endure the scorn of the shame and honor society as long as her son was alive.
Was this really worth it? If she refused, what would she be forsaking?
The God of the Israelites had found favor with her. She knew that Moses found favor with God, and since Adam sinned, Moses had an intimacy with God that almost no other man had for as long as man had walked this earth. The God of her people had sent a messenger to speak with her and give her this glorious, baffling news! To her! He had not gone to the religious leaders’ wives. He had not chosen the women of high society. He chose the lowly, poor girl from Nazareth of Galilee, a city that rarely had anything good come from it.
She knew she’d have to forsake all she had ever pictured her life to be. She knew her life would be far different from the women around her. She knew she might never be fully understood and probably never quite fit in with her culture. Yet she also knew the fear of the LORD. She knew that relationship with Him meant entrusting herself to Him in faith, She knew He dwells in the high and holy place yet also with those of humble and lowly estate. She knew that if she were to walk in faith, she’d have to relinquish control of her life.
I know that God is good, that His mercy is over all He has made, that His steadfast love endures forever. She breathed a silent, “Help me, Lord,” and she consented she could want nothing less than to be a faithful servant of her God.
“Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word,” she responded.
Here are some things I think Mary knew despite not knowing what the future held:
She knew God’s Word (especially see her song of praise for evidence), and she knew His faithfulness.
She knew God’s character.
She knew He could do the impossible.
She knew He chose the unlikely by the world’s standards.
She knew He delights in faith.
She knew that intimacy and relationship with Him, while it requires a relinquishing of control and often enduring scorn, shame, feeling outcast from others, are far better than anything this world can offer.
And these are the things I want to know more and more of as I walk this life of faith in the God who saves.
grace & peace,