September 3 - Luke 1:26-38

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Luke 1:26-38 – Jesus’ birth announced to Mary

When Luke begins to tell this story, he doesn’t give us a lot of background. When we read the account of Gabriel’s announcement to Zechariah, we actually learn a great deal about the man and his surroundings, but not so in this account. We learn that she lived in Nazareth, was betrothed to David and was a virgin.  Another thing that is quite different is that in the case of John, we know a bit more about his lineage … that Zechariah was of the division of Abijah and that Elizabeth had come from the daughters of Aaron. Luke gave his readers a point of historical reference for the prophet who would prepare them for the Messiah.  But at this point, all we know of Mary is her name. It is Joseph who provides the point of reference … to the greatest King of Israelite history, the fulfillment of prophecy from 1 Samuel 7.

Luke proceeds immediately into Gabriel’s announcement. As surprising as the announcement of a child would be to an older barren couple, telling a young virgin that she is about to give birth would be quite shocking.

Mary is very young. Joseph had paid her father for the right to be her husband and until they were married, both Mary and Joseph were subject to the rules of her father’s household.

When Mary questions the angel about the announcement, her response is quite different from that of Zechariah. Where his was couched in unbelief, her question is simply “how will this happen?” (Luke 1:34). This question did not express any disbelief in Gabriel’s words, but was a legitimate question and he responded.

Mary closes this passage with not just submission, but agreement.  She received the message and accepted it. Gabriel’s work was finished. Hers had just begun.