THE ANGEL AND THE VIRGIN
Holy Spirit, soften my heart and sharpen my hearing.
Read Luke 1:26–38
The Birth of Jesus Foretold
26 In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, 27 to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”
29 Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 30 But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”
34 “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”
35 The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called[a] the Son of God. 36 Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. 37 For no word from God will ever fail.”
38 “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her.
a Luke 1:35 Or So the child to be born will be called holy,
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectWhat has God spoken to you lately?
Both Zechariah and Mary responded to Gabriel with fear, and both questioned him about the logistics of what he foretold. But while Zechariah was struck dumb in retribution, Mary was given a gentle and clear answer. Her baby was to be God’s child, conceived by the power of the Most High. And to reassure her of God’s ability to do all things, Elizabeth’s impossible pregnancy was well established.
I think that there are several reasons for the different way Gabriel spoke to these two. Mary was young; Zechariah was old enough to have learned to trust God. Mary had everything to lose—her future husband, her reputation, even her life; Zechariah had it all to gain. Mary’s response was one of curiosity rather than disbelief; Zechariah wanted something more than Gabriel’s word before he’d accept it.
What must it have been like to be told you had been chosen to give birth to a child who would rule over a never-ending kingdom? Mary’s simple faith and obedience are quite extraordinary—an inspiration and a challenge to all of us who encounter her story.
God sent Gabriel to Zechariah and Mary to convey his message. How has God spoken to you? How ready are you to hear his voice and obey? Choose to walk in his way today.
Lord, I am Your servant. Help me to willingly submit to whatever You ask of me as Mary did.
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