This story involves a young teenager who has come to an important point in life. This fourteen or fifteen year old girl has for most of her life had every important decision made for her. She has never decided where she would live or where she would worship. Her friends have been closely managed and her social life has been tightly ordered by her parents. Even the young man she should fall in love with has been determined by others. Rarely has she been able to choose anything about her own life. And now she is faced with the greatest, hardest decision she will ever have to make.
All that her parents have hoped for may be won or lost based on the decision she makes. All that she has dreamed about may hang in the balance. The hardest part is this: at a time when she should be the focus of everything, she is being asked to make a decision that will isolate her. She is asked to make what could be the brightest day of her life a very quiet, hidden event. She is to become a character in a story in which she should be the leading lady.
Through all this, Mary was blessed.
She had no outstanding piety. Both Zechariah and Elizabeth were commended by Luke for their piety, their upright standing before God. There is no mention of Mary’s righteousness. But she is blessed. She has found favor with God. She has been graced by God.
And the angel came to her and said, “Greetings, favored woman! The Lord is with you.”
She has no special worthiness, her being chosen is strictly an act of God in her life. The emphasis in this passage and in the words of Gabriel is on the choice made by God to extend his grace, blessing, favor to Mary.
But Mary does play a significant part in this dramatic event because of her response. Her acquiescence is the ultimate example to humanity. Faced with the most important decision of her life and one that would have eternal ramifications, she chooses humility and obedience. “I am the Lord’s servant,” she says. My life is here for the Lord. His word is my life and His desire will be my desire. “May it be to me as you have said.” How unusual for a teenager to give this answer. How unusual for an adult.
Now, with the choice made, we spend history exalting not the one who chose, but the chosen one.
For all the high praise we should give Mary for her devotion to God and her willingness to give her life to him and for him, the point of this story is not Mary but rather the child she would have.
Jesus is clearly the focus of this narrative. Jesus is clearly the point of it all.
Gabriel says that he will be…
- Great – as an unqualified description. John was great in the sight of the Lord, Paul was a great evangelist, Peter was a great apostle, Moses was a great leader, Mary was great with child.
Jesus was great. His being is great. His nature is great. The Greek word is mega. Jesus is mega-great.
- Son of the Most High – the Son of God. Most High is a term to describe God. John is called the prophet of the Most High in verse 76. Jesus is the Son of the Most High. He is the Messiah because of the lineage he has from God, not the lineage of David.
- Throne of David – Reign over Jacob – the King of Israel.
2 Sam. 7:12 When your days are over and you rest with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, who will come from your own body, and I will establish his kingdom. 13 He is the one who will build a house for my Name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. 16 Your house and your kingdom will endure forever before me ; your throne will be established forever.’
- Forever – Eternal Rule. Jesus’ rule will be eternal. This child will enable humanity to live forever and the end of his kingdom will never occur.
- Called Holy – He is the Messiah, set apart to do the work of God known as salvation.
Mary doesn’t understand how all this will take place. Gabriel gives her some type of explanation which leaves more questions than it answers except that he ends it by saying, “Nothing is impossible with God.” This is the only explanation needed. The “How” becomes unimportant because the “Who” has been answered. How you will be used is not important. Who you will follow is.