Mary asked the angel “how will this be since I am a virgin?”
In Luke’s gospel Chapter 1 is the beautiful account of Mary receiving the amazing news from the angel Gabriel that she had been chosen by God to be the mother of the Messiah. Luke says that when Mary was told, she was “greatly troubled at the angels words and said “How will this be since I am a virgin?” Notice that Mary’s question was a biological one, not one of doubt. She understandably wanted to know how this could happen, since she wasn’t yet married (because of course she knew how babies were made!)
When the angel explained that the Holy Spirit would overshadow her making conception possible, she understood and said “I am the Lord’s servant, may your word to me be fulfilled.” Immediately Mary embraced her assignment – despite knowing fully the risks of being pregnant out of wedlock.
It’s not hard to contrast Mary’s response with that of Zechariah’s earlier in Luke Chapter 1.
Zechariah was the husband of Elizabeth, who was Mary’s cousin. They were elderly and had longed for a child for many years. One day, an angel turned up with amazing news and said “Zechariah your prayer has been heard! Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to call him John … and he will bring back many people of Israel to the Lord their God”.
This was a great blessing from God (and a miracle given their age). But Zechariah said to the angel “How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is well along in years.” Zechariah’s question was one of doubt; he didn’t believe it was true and he questioned whether it would happen saying “how can I be sure this will happen.”?
Gabriel wasn’t too impressed with his response. He said “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you to tell you this good news. And now, you will be silent and not be able to speak until this happens, because you did not believe my words, which will come true at their appointed time.”
As I read the story of Mary and then Zechariah this week, I felt challenged to finish the year in FAITH – like the faith which Mary had.
Perhaps it’s a challenge for all of us.
What a beautiful and trusting heart Mary had, and an incredibly courageous one too. I’m sure becoming pregnant before she was married was not the start of her “dream-wedding” she had imagined. Mary’s assignment came at a great personal cost and risk, but she readily said “yes” to it. She put her trust FULLY in God. She had faith in His goodness and provision believing that he would work out all the future details. (God surely knew what He was doing when He chose Mary).
What has God spoken to you? What reassurances has he given you? How are you responding to them?
Perhaps you’ve been holding onto hope and His promise in an area such as work, ministry, finances or a child?
Whatever it is, as 2020 comes to an end, let’s choose to finish strong in faith believing God’s promises WILL come to pass in our lives (in His perfect timing). You know we really don’t need to know all the details of how! We just need to fully trust … and then let a “Mary-like” declaration come out of our mouth “I am the Lord’s servant, may your word to me be fulfilled”.
May the peace and joy of Jesus fill your heart and your home this Christmas.
Joy to the World!