“Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. And having come in, the angel said to her, “Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!” But when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying , and considered what manner of greeting this was. Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a son, and shall call His name JESUS. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give 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.” Then Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I do not know a man?” And the angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God. Now indeed, Elizabeth your relative has also conceived a son in her old age; and this now the sixth month for her who was called barren. For with God nothing will be impossible.” Then Mary said, “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word. And the angel departed from her.” Luke 2:26-38
Thirteen verses . . .
A brief encounter . . .
Lives completely disrupted . . .
The day was likely the most normal of days. Mary, a young teenager, was going about her business as usual. Maybe thinking of her upcoming nuptials. Maybe thinking of the tasks that lay before her on that day. And suddenly, there stood before her an angel.
A young woman’s life never the same . . .
The world forever changed . . .
The confusion . . . “How can this be, since I do not know a man?”
The fear . . . the life altering consequences of what was about to take place.
Mary wasn’t being asked to do a small thing. The repercussions of being a young woman, betrothed, and pregnant by a man not her husband were staggering. At best Joseph could divorce her (and he almost did). At worst she could’ve been stoned. Thankfully, after his own angelic encounter, neither happened. But Mary had no way of knowing what was to come.
Make no mistake, I fully believe Mary could’ve said “no”. I fully believe God knew she wouldn’t. I fully believe that He chose a willing servant, but He did not remove her free will. And yet, after asking only one simple question, “How can this be . . . ?” because a little clarification . . . a bit of explanation . . . was warranted here, Mary does what I’m convinced most of us would not do. I’m pretty certain, I would’ve had a moment . . . a “Woah, hold on a second . . . I think you have the wrong virgin . . . ” kind of a moment. But not Mary. She responded with, “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.”
Mary was willing . . .
Her world had just been rocked. The thing she was asked to do would not only impact all mankind (although, I’m not certain she fully grasped she was going to give birth to the Messiah), but had major implications for her personal life.
Yet, she was willing.
Although, Joseph neither divorced nor had her stoned, can you imagine the gossip? The wagging tongues and raised eyebrows? The whispers as she made her way through the market place? The words uttered . . . “crazy . . . the girl thinks an angel visited her” . . . “promiscuous. . . she tried to convince everyone she was pregnant by the power of the Holy Spirit” . . . “poor Joseph . . . he really has no idea what he’s gotten himself into . . . “.
Yet, Mary was willing . . .
And not only willing. Willing would’ve been enough, but Mary went further. Just a few verses down we see her visiting her cousin, Elizabeth and uttering praise to God. As we read her words there is both an eagerness and a joy that goes far beyond just willing.
“My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior. For He has regarded the lowly state of His maidservant; For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed. For He who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is His name. And His mercy is on those who fear Him from generation to generation. He has shown strength with His arm; He has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts, and exalted the lowly. He has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich He has sent away empty. He has helped His servant Israel, in remembrance of His mercy, As He spoke to our fathers, To Abraham and to his seed forever.” Luke 1:46-55
“My soul magnifies the Lord . . . “
I do not think Mary was perfect nor do I believe she was sinless. I don’t worship Mary, but I do call her blessed. And I’m so thankful, that just over 2000 years ago, a young girl was willing . . . willing to give up all she expected . . . willing to sacrifice for her God . . . willing to have her world rocked so she could give birth to my Savior . . . to the Savior of all mankind.
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