NEWS FOR MARY
Lord, we are amazed at how You announce what You are doing.
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)
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“‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the Lord” (Isa. 55:8). Pray for the mind of Christ as you read this section of Luke.
Luke situates this section immediately after his account of how the angel has visited Zechariah, obviously intending for us to read the two in tandem. A number of parallels can be found in the details, but the differences remain striking—as one would expect with the announcement of the birth of the Son of God.
Whereas the angel appears to Zechariah as he serves in the temple in Jerusalem, on this occasion he visits a young, unmarried woman in her home. She lives in a remote part of the country, the town of Nazareth. “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” asked a faithful Jew some thirty years later, to which the reply was: “Come and see” (John 1:46). If John were to “go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah” (17), Jesus would be called “holy… the Son of God” (35). This child of prophecy will receive the throne of his father David. If John were to be great in the sight of the Lord, this baby would reign on the throne of David for all eternity.
Could there ever have been more spectacular news? Even before Jesus was conceived, the story describes someone who will erase all our preconceptions about great people. We know nothing about Mary’s family. We know next to nothing about Joseph either, other than that he will lend to Jesus his membership in the family of David. Angels usually show up in holy places rather than in some backwater area. How will all this happen? No wonder Mary has questions. Zechariah has requested a sign so that he could be sure—and for that he gets reprimanded. Mary, on the other hand, asks for some clarification. In the verses that follow we shall read several times how she ponders and reflects on this startling state of affairs.
Reflect on Mary’s response to the angel’s news. Can you and I model our lives this way?
Lord, like Mary, we don’t understand how God in human flesh can be born of a virgin, but we nonetheless believe it.