28 And he came to her and said, “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!” 29 But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be. 30 And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” (Luke 1:28–33)
God chooses ordinary people to serve Him. People just like you and me. People just like a girl named Mary. How does God go about choosing people to serve Him? First of all, He finds you. Second, God reveals His will to you.
In the case of Mary, God’s will was revealed to her by the angel Gabriel. As we noticed with Zechariah, an angel is a sent one from God. They are God’s messengers who possess an unqualified surrender to God’s will. Gabriel, as one who stood in the presence of God, was one such angel. God actively sought out Mary. Gabriel came to her and said, “Greetings” meaning glad tidings.
Gabriel addressed Mary as a favored one. It is the Greek word κεχαριτωμένη (kecharitomene) meaning kindness and graciousness. God was bestowing kindness and grace upon Mary. Gabriel also said that the Lord was with her. As a devout Jew, Mary would know the Lord was with her.
Mary’s reaction was typical. She was greatly troubled. This would be not only because she saw that she was in the presence of holiness, but also because of what she heard from the angel. Consequently, she tried to think out carefully and reason thoroughly what was occurring.
Why did the angel come specifically to her? The principle of Scripture interpreting Scripture comes into focus in this scene. Consider the words from the following Old Testament passages to receive insight upon the character of Mary.
- Psalm 138:6 – “Though the LORD is on high, Yes He regards the lowly; but the proud He knows from afar.”
- Isaiah 57:15 – “For thus says the high and lofty One, Who inhabits eternity, whose name is holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite.”
It was at this moment that Gabriel communicated his message to Mary from God. “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”
First of all, Gabriel told Mary not to fear because God had favored her.
Second, he told her that she would conceive in her womb and give birth to a son. Remember, this visit was in the days prior to ultrasound technology. There was no way to accurately determine a child’s gender until their birth. Yet, the angel revealed to Mary that she would give birth to a son, a fulfillment of prophecy from Isaiah 7:14 and 9:6.
Third, her son’s name would be Jesus.
Fourth, Jesus would be great and called the Son of the Highest. This title refers to Yahweh’s majesty and sovereignty. In effect, Mary’s child would be God incarnate.
Fifth, the Lord God would give Jesus the throne of His ancestral father David. This would fulfill the prophecies from 2 Samuel 7:12-14, Psalm 89:29, Psalm 132:11, Jeremiah 23:5-6 and Isaiah 11:1-10.
Sixth, Jesus would reign and rule over the house of Jacob forever. This would fulfill the prophecies contained in Genesis 49:10 and Numbers 24:17.
Finally, Gabriel told Mary that Jesus’ kingdom would never end. It would not be an earthly kingdom nor a political kingdom, Rather, Jesus’ kingdom would be one of love and grace initially established in the hearts of men and ultimately extending to the entire universe.
God communicates His will through His Word. Gabriel’s message from God was in complete harmony with the Old Testament Scriptures. There was no contradiction.
God’s will for our lives is always in harmony with how He has gifted and equipped us for the task He has in mind for us to accomplish. This was certainly the case with Mary. It also true for you and me.
May the Lord’s truth and grace be found here.
Soli deo Gloria!