Gabriel is going on another mission for God today. This time he is sent to a young woman named Mary. She is going to take part in something that had never happened before and has never happened since. She is going to conceive a child without the contribution of a man.
Gabriel had a wait of six months between his announcements. I wonder what God had him doing in the meantime. I’m sure he wasn’t sitting idle or popping into the throne room asking, “Is it time yet” every few days. As an angel he was used to God’s timing. If I had been there though I’m sure I would have been doing the popping in routine. I have asked God on MORE than one occasion to wind His watch because I’m sure it must have stopped and caused the delay. Of course I am just kidding when I say it. But I do get impatient with the waiting.
The heavenly hosts had been waiting from the beginning of man for this time. Maybe some of them were asking “is it time yet.”
The Father looks at the Son. There is joy and pain in His expression. “Son, it’s time. Are You ready?”
“Yes Father. I’m looking forward to most of it. I want to touch their lives like never before.”
“Gabriel”, calls the Father.
Gabriel quickly enters the throne room. “Here I am Lord.”
“Gabriel I need you to take another message down to Earth. This time you are to visit a young woman named Mary. She lives in the region of Galilee in the town called Nazareth.”
“What message do you want me to bring to her my Lord?”
“First and foremost, I want you to tell her that she is very precious and has found favor with me. She will be given the greatest honor a woman could ever receive. She will become the mother of My Son. Share with her the importance of this calling. Inform her of His Godly heritage and His future position as King. Be sure to tell her that she is to name Him Jesus also. This is the name that I have chosen for Him.
“She will certainly have questions Lord. What am I to tell her?”
“When she questions the mechanics of the process, inform her that the Holy Spirit will be the intermediary for this process and that My power will perform this miracle within her. I will be the Child’s Father.”
“What if she doubts what I have to tell her?”
“Then share with her the news of Elizabeth and Zechariah. This news will bring her great joy and peace.”
Gabriel leaves the throne room and goes immediately to the home of Mary. She is in her favorite spot in the garden. She loves the smell of the earth and the growing plants around her. This is her quiet spot to pray as well. Here is where she feels closest to God.
When Gabriel arrives he stands just a few feet away from Mary. Mary has not noticed him yet. He begins to speak. “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!” (verse 28).
Two thoughts fight for dominance in Mary’s mind; “who is this” and “what is he trying to say to me?” Gabriel recognizes the look of fear in her eyes and the confusion on her face. He sees that just about every time he brings a message from God.
“Don’t be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.”
At this instant Mary realizes that God KNOWS HER BY NAME!
Gabriel continues speaking and lays out God’s plan for her life. “You are going to have a child and you are going to call his name Jesus. He is going to be called the Son of the Most High. God himself will give Him the throne of His father David, and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever. Unlike any king before Him, His Kingdom will never end.”
Mary has listened quietly to everything Gabriel had to say, but she got side tracked by the first part of his message; the part about becoming pregnant. Mary sees this visit as an indication that what she is hearing will happen RIGHT NOW, not after she is married. But right now she is a virgin and will remain one until her wedding night. “How is this going to work?”
That is the question God knew she would ask. He already supplied Gabriel with the answer. Gabriel shares with her what God has shared with him. “God Himself, through His Holy Spirit will perform this miracle within you. His Spirit will cover you and His power will place His own seed directly into your womb. This child will truly be the Son of God.”
Talk about the “WOW” factor! Mary is quietly thinking this over. Nothing like this has ever happened before. Mary remembers her teachings from the writings of Isaiah. “Behold! A virgin shall be with child and give birth to a son, and she shall call His name Immanuel” (Isaiah 7:14). Could this be the prophecy Israel has waited so long for? But ME? Oh my!
Gabriel sees Mary thinking things through so he offers her the proof of God’s power the Lord had instructed him to do. “Mary, your cousin Elizabeth is pregnant also. She is going to have a son too. She is in her sixth month now. God even opened her womb in her old age. There is nothing impossible with God.”
That did it for Mary. She is fully convinced that this is exactly what she is meant to do with her life. She’s not even going to worry about all the other ways this pregnancy will affect the rest of her life. She is ready to submit to God’s will completely. “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word” (verse 38).
Gabriel bowed to Mary and disappeared. Immediately after his departure, the Holy Spirit came upon Mary and the hand of God placed His Son within her womb. Mary experiences an immediate change in her inner most being. She is filled with joy and peace. She knows that she needs to share this experience with the only other person who has seen the direct had of God too; her cousin Elizabeth.
Mary quickly leaves the garden and begins preparations to travel to the home of Elizabeth and Zechariah.
While I was reading I noticed something about the questions raised by both Mary and Zechariah. Zechariah’s question was one of doubt; “How will I know this?” (verse 18) He went on to explain his reasons for doubting; “For I am an old man, and my wife is advanced in years.” He had sound reasons to be skeptical, but when God tells you something you can be SURE it will happen. He doesn’t make promises He can’t keep.
When Mary asked her question it was a procedural question. “How will this be, since I am a virgin?” (verse 34). Not “How do I know this is true” but “What do you need from me?” She knew she was lacking in ability to carry out God’s plan and was asking what God wanted her to do in this process. Mary didn’t voice and doubt in God’s ability to carry out His plans. She may have had some reservations in her mind but she kept them to herself. Gabriel addressed any doubts she had, just to be on the safe side. Because of her obedience, she didn’t suffer through a “sign” like Zechariah did. I wonder how Zechariah received her news.
Another thing I noticed was that Zechariah and Elizabeth had to wait until they were advanced in years before they received their miracle. Yet Mary was very young when she received hers. What was it about their lives that opened them to the possibilities of miracles at their respective ages? Was God waiting for Mary to be ready before He spoke into Elizabeth and Zechariah’s lives? God had given children to much older women before, so Elizabeth’s miracle wasn’t unique but was very rare. Mary’s miracle was a never before done miracle. She was given knowledge of God’s hand in her own family as a way of bolstering her faith. I wonder how close Mary and Elizabeth were, before and after their miracles. Did Elizabeth live to see John’s ministry and death? I hope not.
Father God, thank You for Mary’s faith. I wish I could say that my faith was as strong as hers. I think I’m more like Zechariah. Or better yet Jacob with his fleece. I’m often afraid that it is me talking and making promises that I’m signing Your name to. Other than my bible, I have very little experiences with You giving me direct promises. I have felt Your presence on MANY occasions and felt Your peace about an issue. Were these direct promises for me? I guess if an angel were to appear before me it would be harder for me to doubt that the message came from You. Then again, if I didn’t see him APPEAR out of nowhere I could wonder if this was a person signing Your name to a promise. Is this why Zechariah doubted? He was in the most holy place, so seeing an angel should have been very believable. Much easier to believe than someone walking into the holy temple from anywhere else.
Mary’s youth allowed her to be part of Your Son’s life to the end. Maybe that was part of why You chose her in her youth. You also had to use her BEFORE she was no longer a virgin. That limited the time window. Your timing was perfect, as always. Her betrothal protected her from stoning. You had it all worked out perfectly. You still do. Even in my life. I just don’t see it beforehand. Looking back though I see Your hand ALL over it. Help me trust You as purely and fully as Mary did. You have certainly proven Yourself trustworthy.