By Steve Monahan


In the first chapter of the gospel of Luke, we read of a visitation by the angel Gabriel to a young virgin named Mary who was betrothed to a man named Joseph.

Luke 1:26-27:
And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth,
27 To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary.

The angel told her that she was “blessed among women” and that she would conceive and bear a son, whom she was to name Jesus, and who would ascend to the throne of his ancestor, King David.

vv. 28-33:
And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.
29 And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be.
30 And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God.
31 And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS.
32 He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David:
33 And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.

Now maybe the enormity of what she’d been told didn’t hit her right away; maybe it did. In any case, the scriptures tell us of only one question she asked.

v. 34:
Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?

Let’s consider some things she didn’t ask, which you or I might have asked: Son of the Highest? Throne of David? Are you kidding? Yeah, my lineage runs through the succession of the kings of Judah, but have you noticed that I live in working-class Nazareth? Not exactly high society, you know!

Or perhaps on a more immediate, “practical” note: Pregnant?? Now??!! What’s my mama going to say??!! Or Joseph or the whole town??!! DO YOU REALIZE I COULD BE STONED??? Are you NUTS??

It is possible, I suppose, that those questions didn’t even come up in Mary’s mind, but humanly speaking, these were problems to deal with. Anyway, the angel answered her question, saying that she would conceive by the power of the Holy Spirit and give birth to the Son of God. And by the way Mary, he told her, your supposedly barren cousin Elizabeth is in her sixth month of pregnancy. God can do anything.

Mary says okay, so be it as you said. The angel leaves, then she leaves... in a big hurry for the Judean hills. Did she tell her mama or Joseph what had happened? I personally doubt it. But for now let’s go on.

Mary arrived at Elisabeth’s house...

vv. 41-42a:
And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost:
42 And she spake out with a loud voice, and said, Blessed art thou among women ...

Elisabeth’s voice rang out with the same truth Gabriel had uttered: “Blessed art thou among women!” She then continued:

vv. 42b-44:
... and blessed is the fruit of thy womb.
43 And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?
44 For, lo, as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in mine ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy.

Wow! First God sent word by an angel, then prophecy out of the mouth of Elisabeth to reassure Mary that she was in the center of God’s will. (He does much the same for us, you know.) Then Mary answered, pouring out the abundance of her heart of faith, finishing with:

vv. 54-55:
He hath holpen his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy;
55 As he spake to our fathers, to Abraham, and to his seed for ever.

Seems to me that by these sayings, Mary reveals the fundamental fact that allowed her to step into her role as mother of the Messiah, in spite of the personal adversity it was surely going to cost her. She was living her life in rapt anticipation of the fulfillment of God’s age-old promise to send his seed, the Savior among men. It wasn’t just a doctrine she believed. Mary was WAITING! Therefore, when the announcement came, she joyously took the job – along with all the problems that went with it.

This is the faith of Mary, an example to us all. Mary believed God, pure and simple. At the moment of truth, faced with a decision that would inalterable change her life, she unhesitatingly declared, “Be it unto me according to thy word” (Lk. 1:38).

Christian!! Are you waiting for the Lord to come? For the “Rapture”? Well? Is there any rapture in your heart now that will move you to rise to God’s calling, a calling that may at times be uncomfortable or inconvenient? Fill your heart with the joy of his coming, and you too will find yourself able to say to the Lord, “Be it unto me according to thy word.”



From the December 2001 issue of The Vine & Branches