In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a village in Galilee, to a virgin named Mary. She was engaged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of King David. Gabriel appeared to her and said, “Greetings, favoured woman! The Lord is with you! [Blessed are you among women.]”
Confused and disturbed, Mary tried to think what the angel could mean. “Don’t be afraid, Mary,” the angel told her, “for you have found favour with God! You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name Him Jesus. He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give Him the throne of His ancestor David. And He will reign over Israel forever; His Kingdom will never end!”
Mary asked the angel, “But how can this happen? I am a virgin.”
The angel replied, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the baby to be born will be holy, and He will be called the Son of God. What’s more, your relative Elizabeth has become pregnant in her old age! People used to say she was barren, but she’s now in her sixth month. For nothing is impossible with God. ”
Mary responded, “I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.” And then the angel left her.Luke 1:26-38
Now we move to Mary’s story. But note how Luke has set these two stories together. He doesn’t just tell each story. He interweaves the stories. Tells a part of one and then moves to the other, then back again. Notice too that the time frame of Mary’s pregnancy is determined by Elizabeth’s I.e. “In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy . . . ” Now that is interesting. Why does he do that? You do some thinking about it. Why are these two stories linked like they are? In this case we have another declaration by an angel of a pregnancy. We have two women who are pregnant – one wants a baby desperately and can’t have one; the other wants to marry first and certainly doesn’t want to be pregnant. What links these two stories.
Furthermore in telling Mary, Gabriel informs her of Elizabeth’s pregnancy as well. These two are inextricably linked. When Mary hears Gabriel say she will have a son she immediately thinks of “now” not “sometime”. She could just as easily have thought “sometime in the future my betrothed and I will have a son – cool.” But she thinks now/soon. And then responds – how can that be? I am a virgin. She was betrothed to be married but is not yet married. Most of my readers’ cultures would have us think there is no big deal here. She will get married and have a baby. But her reaction is one of shock. Why? Does Gabriel mean now or later? What is the nature of her engagement / betrothal. What are the requirements for that? Take some time to find out.
You take time to find out. Spend some time looking into these things for yourself.
This passage is controversial for many people. The Virgin Birth is a major foundational premise of Christianity. At the same time it is a stumbling block for many. As a result many critics seek to explain away the “virgin birth”. It just cant happen. You can’t have a babe without intercourse. Virgins don’t get pregnant. So what is happening here? What do you believe about the virgin birth? Do you believe Mary was a virgin or just a young woman? Your view of the virgin birth reflects your view of God. Think about that. Your view of the supernatural determines your view of God. Can God do things that lie outside of the natural order of things or not? The main problem Bible Critics have with the Virgin birth is the supernatural nature of it. In truth, they have problems with every part of the Bible where God does things that contravene natural laws. Walking on water, raising the dead and virgin having babies. Can God do such things or not? Think about it before we begin with the story of Mary giving birth to Jesus. It is foundational to your faith!
Spend time musing on what you think and how you interpret these things.
A new baby is like the beginning of all things – wonder, hope, a dream of possibilities.Ian Vail
DIAPER spelled backward is REPAID. Think about it.Ian Vail
The task ahead of us is never as great as the power behind us.Anon