26 In the sixth month, 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 be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name 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 the house of Jacob 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 upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called 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 barren is in her sixth month. 37 For nothing is impossible with God.”
38 “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May it be to me as you have said.” Then the angel left her. Luke 1:26-38 NIV84
Jeremiah 1:6 records Jeremiah’s response to the call of God on his life, 6 “Ah, Sovereign Lord,” I said, “I do not know how to speak; I am only a child.” Exodus 3:11, says, “But Moses said to God, “Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?”
Throughout Scripture, it is recorded that God would call people into action in His kingdom, and often they were completely surprised by the call of God. Jeremiah said, “I am young, only a child.” You cannot mean me! Moses asked God, “who am I that I should go?”
Well in Luke’s Gospel, it seems that Mary, like Moses and Isaiah, was surprised by the call of God on her life for ministry or service in His kingdom. After all, Mary was a young teenage Palestinian Jewish girl betrothed to Joseph, her soon-to-be husband.
You see, though Mary did not know it, God was on the verge of fulfilling the Messianic prophecy that had been prophesied thousands of years earlier. You see, ever since the Fall of Adam, in the Garden of Eden, mankind was sinful and alienated from God. Through Abraham, Joseph, Saul, David, Solomon, Ezekiel, Daniel, Jeremiah, Isaiah, Obadiah, Samson, and others like Malachi God tried to deliver his people. So, in these last days, God would speak to the world through His Son.
So, here is Mary, the teenage Palestinian in the First Century only to discover that God had included her in His marvelous plan for the deliverance of Israel. So, God sent the Angel Gabriel to Nazareth to talk to Mary. He said to her that she, “was highly favored! The Lord is with you.”
There are two major observations about Mary we will see in this passage. The third point is one of observation. We will compare our actions to Mary’s.
#1 Mary Was Surprised by God’s Will
The angel announced to Mary that God had graced her with His favor on her life. What was surprising, was that Mary had never considered that the favor of God was in her life. She had never experienced the favor of God, yet the angel was telling her that she was favored. She was favored with the grace to be used by God in His kingdom.
Gabriel knew that Mary was bothered by his greeting to her, and just as he needed to assure Zechariah earlier in the chapter (13), Gabriel assured Mary not to be afraid. He said a second time, you have the favor of God (30).
Gabriel went on to the main point of talking to her, that Mary would become pregnant with a child. In verse 34, “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?” Her question was literally, how can this be when no man has touched me? Unlike Zechariah who did not receive the message through Gabriel, Mary is not rejecting the message, but trying to understand how she could be with a child when she had not been with any man.
Mary missed a very important point in the message of Gabriel, “The Lord is with you.” What seems to be impossible is not when the Lord is with you. Mountains are climbable when God is with you. Rivers, though wide, are crossable when God is with you. Valley, though deep, is crossable when God is with you.
Gabriel listed eight (8) prophetic truths that would come to pass in Mary’s life:
- Mary had the favor of God.
- Mary would have a son.
- Joseph and Mary would name him Jesus.
- The Son would be great.
- The Son would be called the Son of the Most High God.
- The Lord would give the Son the throne as a descendent of David.
- The Son would reign forever over the house of Israel.
- The Son’s kingdom would never end.
After Mary questioned Gabriel, she heard his answers to her question, which brings us to the second part of the prophecy and Mary’s response to it.
#2 Mary Submitted to God’s Will
Gabriel explained to Mary that she would not become pregnant by a man, but through the Power of the Holy Spirit overshadowing her (35). So, God would deliver Israel from slavery to sin, but through her womb. God was in fact calling Mary to yield to serving the needs of the kingdom by becoming the vehicle or the means through which God would bring His Son into the world.
God was not only going to use Mary to deliver a baby but to bring the Savior into the world. Mary had no reason before now to believe that she would be part of God’s miracle, but she was favored by God. With God, all things are possible (37). What is impossible without God is possible with God. A virgin becoming pregnant is impossible. But, when God pours His favor on you, nothing is impossible. Even Elizabeth, who was beyond childbearing years, was pregnant. Elizabeth had the favor of God in her life too. In Genesis 18:14, When Sarah, too, was way past childbearing days, God asked Abraham, “Is anything too hard for the Lord?”
Notice how Mary responds to the call of God on her to serve His kingdom, 38 “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May it be to me as you have said.” Mary gives a foreshadowing of her Son who would be in the Garden of Gethsemane saying, “Nevertheless not my will but yours be done!”
Notice: Mary’s response is not selfish but of service. Mary is not worried about her status as Joseph’s future bride. She is not concerned with her reputation. Mary is not concerned with what the pregnancy is going to do to her teenage figure. Mary said, if the favor of God is on me, and God is going to use me to bring the Savior of the world into the world through my womb, “Let’s get it started!”
Mary’s response is not like that of Moses, Jeremiah, or Isaiah. Mary said:
“Lord, I’m available to You
My will I give to You
I’ll do what You say do
Use me Lord
To show someone the way
And enable me to say
My storage is empty
And I am available to You
Mary demonstrates to us how we must respond to the call of God on our lives to work in His Kingdom. Are you like the young virgin, Mary? Are you available to serve the needs of the Kingdom of God?
Examine your response to the last time or the next time you are surprised by the call of God into His ministry to fulfill His purpose for His people. Decide now to respond like Mary and say, “May it be to me as you have said.” Put your name in there!