Sometimes God calls unlikely people to do an extraordinary work. In today’s passage, Luke records a second birth announcement by the angel Gabriel, But this announcement has distinct differences from the previous one. Again, Luke was the only Gospel writer to include this account.
In contrast to John’s birth announcement, this angelic message was delivered in a humble Galilean village to a young woman with no credentials. Luke describes Mary as a virgin, “pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David” (v. 27). The angel Gabriel says that Mary has “found favor with God” (v. 30). Mary was chosen not because of her own merit but through an outpouring of God’s grace.
Like Zechariah, Mary reacted with fear. But Gabriel responded with assurance and immediately delivered incredible news. Mary would give birth to a son, and—although this announcement echoes other birth announcements in the Old Testament (Genesis 16; Judges 13)—this baby’s importance would be unparalleled. Jesus’ greatness was superior to John’s. This child would be the “Son of the Most High” (v. 32) and would sit on the throne of David. This description underscores the fact that Israel would remain at the center of the redemption story.
Mary’s “how will this be” question was not met with consequences like Zechariah’s question. Gabriel responded with further reassurance of God’s sovereignty. Gabriel even gave Mary additional evidence in the form of Elizabeth’s pregnancy and finished with a grand statement of God’s transcendent power. “For no word from God will ever fail” (v. 37). Despite the trials that would undoubtedly come with this assignment, Mary answered with complete willingness to obey and allow God to work as He will.
When God calls us, He also equips us. He provides His presence and His power. May we respond with the same willing obedience we see in Mary, despite our weaknesses and the obstacles that we will inevitably face.
Father, You chose Mary for the incredible privilege of raising the Messiah! But this was not a privilege without cost. Teach us humility and submission like Mary’s. Give us joy in the paths You choose for us, even when they include hardship.