26In the sixth month, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, 27to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin's name was Mary. 28The angel went to her and said, "Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you."
29Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 30But the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. 31You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. 32He 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, 33and 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?"
35The 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. 36Even 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. 37For 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. (NIV)
Things to Note
1. Angels are sent by God to serve God’s people, yet they bring the holy presence of God with them (vv. 26, 29; Heb 1:14; Lk 1:12, 19; Rev 22:8-9).
2. God was pleased to visit a place - and a person - with no reputation to speak of (vv. 26-27).
Nazareth – looked upon disdainfully among the few who even knew of it (Jn 1:46)
Mary - females were not considered equal during these times (Jn 4:27), especially teenage girls, of whom Mary was likely one.
- This event shows that God is pleased to choose those considered weak, low, and despised (1 Co 1:26-31) so that He may shame the “wise”, and so magnify His glory.
Discussion Question 1: If someone told you, or implied to you, that he had to get the best education, get in “with the right people”, and then work to achieve fame and fortune in order to “succeed for God”, how would you respond? Why?
3. God orchestrated history in such a way that Jesus would truly be in the line of David, as He prophecied in the Old Testament (v. 27, 32-33).
- Through Nathan, God spoke to David of an “offspring” coming from him, which would ultimately reign forever and ever (2 Sam 7:8-17).
- Isaiah 7:14 and 9:6-7 reveal that it is a child, born of a virgin, who will descend from David and rule on his throne forevermore.
- Since Joseph is a physical descendant of David, and will be Jesus’ legal (if not actual) human father, the promise concerning Jesus’ identity as the "son of David" is truly fulfilled (see also Matt 1:1-17).
4. The child shall be named “Jesus”, which means “God saves” (v. 31).
- From what? Sin, which has left people in a hopeless state before God (Mt. 1:21, Rom 3:9-20).
- “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners – of whom I am the worst” (1 Ti 1:15).
Discussion Question 2: If we treat sin as a light thing, how are we likely to treat Christ? Why?
5. The work of the Holy Spirit brings about the fulfillment of God’s promise concerning Jesus’ deity (v. 35, Isa 7:14).
- Those who would dispute that Jesus’ deity does not necessitate the Virgin Birth would have to take issue with Gabriel in v. 35 (“the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore, the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.”).
6. Nothing is impossible with God (v. 37).
- He is “able to do immeasurably more than all we can ask or imagine” (Eph 3:20)
-Compare Gabriel’s statement concerning Elizabeth with God’s question to Sarah – whose situation was quite like Elizabeth’s (Gen 18:14)!
Discussion Question 3: How will this truth affect you in the upcoming week?
7. Mary is a tremendous model of faith and humility (v. 38).
- Faith is taking God at his word, without doubting. Contrast Mary’s response here with Zechariah’s back in v. 18!
- God loves a humble heart – see Isa 57:15, 66:1-2; Mt 5:3; 1 Pet 5:5-7; James 4:6-10