Monday- Week 3
Gabriel’s Announcement to Mary
by Woonbo Kim Ki-chang
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.
The Embrace of Elizabeth and the Virgin Mary
Kurbinovo, Macedonia (1191 AD)
by unknown Author
Gabriel’s greeting, referring to Mary as ‘highly favored’ is similar to his greeting to Daniel when Gabriel appeared to him centuries before (Dan. 9:23). What does this tell you about Mary?
However, it is worth noting that Gabriel did not give such a greeting to Zechariah, who was by Middle Eastern standards, of higher station than Mary. Not only was he a man, but a priest serving at the temple in Jerusalem, and he served the Lord 'blamelessly' (see yesterday's devo). Mary was a young maiden, from a town that was of low repute (John 1:46), engaged to a carpenter, from a family dynasty which had long ago lost its former glory-- she was of a much lower societal station. The angel was equating the Lord's regard for her on the level of that of the great prophet Daniel.]
What eight things does Gabriel tell Mary in verses 31-33?
[You will conceive;
You will have a son;
You will call Him Jesus;
He will be great;
He will be called the Son of the Most High;
He will sit on the throne of His father David;
He will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever;
His kingdom will be never ending]
How was Mary’s response of ‘How..?’ different from Zechariah’s (v. 34)?
[Mary’s question is not one of disbelief, but of puzzlement. Zechariah had been praying for a son, so his response should have been praise and rejoicing, not questioning an angel sent from God. When Zechariah asks how he can ‘be sure of this,’ he seems to desire a sign. This would seem to indicate that an angel appearing to him in the temple is not sign enough.
Mary had not been praying for a child, nor had reason to expect to have one given that she was still a virgin. Therefore, she is not questioning the truth of the angel’s words, but the mechanics of the events to come. Thus, Gabriel’s response was to explain it to her, rather than rebuke her as he had Zechariah.]
How do you think it made Mary feel to hear that her aged cousin Elizabeth was six months pregnant? (Read Luke 1:39-45).
Probably excited and encouraged—this miracle was a further proof and confirmation of the miracle that would occur in her. Her excitement to 'share' the good news with someone who understood is probably why she left shortly after this to visit Elizabeth.]
What is Mary’s response to all that the angel told her (v. 38)?
[She humbly accepts the will of God for her life.]
What did it cost Mary to be obedient to the Lord's plans for her life?
[Initially, it impacted her relationship with Joseph, as he contemplated how to divorce her quietly (Matthew 1:18-20). If the Lord had not intervened, she could have lost her marriage and thereby her financial and physical security (keep in mind that she said yes without knowing how the Lord would intervene). Lastly, it cost her her original wedding plans-- what young bride isn't looking forward to her wedding day with great anticipation?*]
*Joseph would have to marry her right away, so as not to raise suspicion about the timing of her pregnancy (Matthew 1:18-25). According to the law (Deut. 22:23-24) she was to be stoned by the whole town. Therefore, the fact that Joseph sought to divorce her secretly, meant he had not told anyone else. Because, if anyone else knew Mary was pregnant, it would be out of his hands to keep her from being stoned.
For Further Discussion
Sometimes, God 'interrupts' our lives with goals that are not our own, asking (or forcing) us to give up or alter our dreams for the future. If you are not a follower of Christ, this may seem like a harsh idea, but we cannot see the big picture of our small part in all of eternity. If you are a believer in Christ, this still may be a harsh reality, but it is fundamental to our faith. Jesus came here to live on earth before electronics, mass transportation and lattés (and when He made the decision to come in the 1st century, He knew what He was missing!). He gave up His comfort and desires and set them aside for us (John 10:17-18)-- because we were His greater desire!
Has God ever 'interrupted' your life--making unexpected and/or inconvenient demands on your life and/or time? If so, what was it?
Was your immediate response similar to Mary's or more like Zechariah's?
Close in Prayer
One of the pervasive issues with the American Christian mindset is the fear of having to give up our time, our money or our goals for God. We feel we've done enough if we give to the church, and we feel really good if we go on, and/or give money to support a church mission trip. These are things we get to 'plan' and we get to 'decide' how much we are willing to give up, or for how many days we are willing to 'suffer' for Christ.
Daily does not mean when it is convenient, or for one week in the summer. The cross is a symbol of suffering and death. Jesus expects us to die to self. Every.Day. This means being willing to give up your hopes, dreams, income or even your life for the cause of Christ.
"Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen" (Hebrews 11:1). Therefore, even when we cannot 'see' why our lives have been interrupted, we forge forward in faith in the One who gave everything for us. Pray that you would grow in your faith and trust in God.
Make a Joyful Sound!
Choose a song from Songs for Advent Week 3 or choose your own.