pine cone on tree
advent lettering

Come Thou Long Expected Jesus

The Annunciation to Mary

by Sarah Edwards

Today's Reading

Luke 1:26-38

"And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end." What a prophecy. For hundreds of years, Israel has been longing for the Messiah, and now He is coming! The one through whom Jesus would be born has been chosen, and she is a lovely, humbled, favored servant of God. The angel Gabriel has just appeared to Mary and proclaimed to her the wonderful news that she will bear the Savior. 

Mary was confused, wondering how she could conceive if she had not known a man, but the angel comforts her, saying, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God" (Lk. 1:30).

Gabriel appears in the Bible only four times. In the New Testament, he appears to announce the births of John the Baptist to Elizabeth, and Jesus to Mary. In the Old Testament, Gabriel appears the other two times to Daniel, found in Daniel 8:16 and 9:21. In Daniel 8, Daniel has a vision of the coming Medo-Persian Empire, Alexander the Great, and the Hellenistic Empire (source: ESV Student Study Bible, p. 1112), and Gabriel interprets it for him. Daniel was "appalled by the vision and did not understand it" (Dan. 8:27), then fervently prays to the Lord for his people.

While he was still praying, the angel Gabriel comes again to him, saying, "I have now come out to give you insight and understanding. At the beginning of your pleas for mercy a word went out, and I have come to tell it to you, for you are greatly loved" (Dan. 9:22-23). From the Old Testament to the New, Gabriel brought significant prophecies with loving words from the Father about His Son, the "Anointed One" (Dan. 9:26), to Daniel and Mary.

Gabriel's prophecy to Mary is full of beautiful promises about the coming Savior she will bear. They are:

  1. You will conceive in your womb (Lk. 1:31)
  2. You will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus (Lk. 1:31)
  3. He will be great and called the Son of the Most High (Lk. 1:32)
  4. The Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David (Lk. 1:32)
  5. He will reign over the house of Jacob forever (Lk. 1:33)
  6. Of His kingdom there will be no end (Lk. 1:33)

Mary, in her steadfast faith, responds humbly and asks how this will come to pass. The angel says that He will be conceived by the Holy Spirit, thus making her Child born holy, free from inheriting sinful nature from man (Lk. 1:35). Mary's response to the angel is the pattern, after which all Christians should follow when presented with God's will; "behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word" (Lk. 1:38).

Her willingness to follow the Lord's will shows why Gabriel greeted her as "O favored one" in verse 28, much like he addressed Daniel above. A pregnancy while only betrothed to a man would have serious social consequences that would result in the equivalent of divorce to break the betrothment, or public shame over her and her betrothed until everyone chose to forget.

Regardless of the circumstances that were before her, Mary understood that the Lord's plan was higher than hers, and she willfully submitted her body and life so that the Savior of the world could finally come down to dwell with us.

God with us. The Incarnate Savior on earth with His creation. He is finally coming to redeem His beloved creation by giving His life for us! But before Jesus gave His perfect life on the cross to pay for our sins, He dwelled with us.

He taught us about Himself and how to become like Him. And after He died and rose again, He left us His Holy Spirit to dwell within us always. 

Previous Article Next Article