LESSON: Luke 1:26-40
TIME: 7 or 6 B.C.
GOLDEN TEXT: “Behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call His name JESUS” (Luke 1:31)
Six months after Gabriel appeared to Zechariah in the temple in Jerusalem, the same angel appeared to Mary in the town of Nazareth in Galilee. Mary was engaged to be married to a man named Joseph (Luke 1:26-28). She was startled and puzzled when the angel told her that, though still a virgin, she would give birth to a son, and this son would be the promised Messiah. He would be in a unique sense God’s Son and his kingdom would be eternal (Luke 1:29-34). Mary’s pregnancy would come about not through any sexual relations with Joseph, but through the direct creative power of the Spirit of God. The son born to her would be of Adam’s race but free of any trace of Adam’s sin. He would not be one whom God merely adopted as his son, but one who was actually God’s Son. He would be the head of a new creation (Luke 1:35). Mary knew that in the eyes of the public her pregnancy would spoil her honorable reputation, but she humbly submitted herself to the will of God. If she had any doubts about what God could do, Elizabeth’s recent experience might have been an encouragement to her. The two women were close relatives (Luke 1:36-38). (AMG Concise Bible Commentary)
The angel said that Mary was highly favored. Also Mary had found favor (charis, “grace”) with God. Obviously God had bestowed a special honor on her. She was a special recipient of His grace. Gabriel’s admonition (caution) (Luke 1:30-31) was the same as to Zechariah: Do not be afraid, for you will have a Son (Luke 1:13) As with John (Luke 1:13b), the naming was by the angel (Luke 1:31). (Bible Knowledge Commentary) (Luke 1:28-31). The angel predicted five things about Mary’s Son. 1. He will be great. 2. He will be called the Son of the Most High (Luke 1:76). The fact that her Baby was to be called the “Son of the Most High” pointed to His equality with Yahweh. 3. He will be given the throne of His father David. Jesus, as David’s descendant, will sit on David’s throne when He reigns in the Millennium (2 Samuel 7:16; Psalm 89:3-4, 28-20). 4. He will reign over the house of Jacob forever. Jesus’ reign over the nation Israel as her King will begin in the Millennium and continue on into the eternal state and 5. His kingdom will never end. These promises must have immediately reminded Mary of the promise of Yahweh to David (2 Samuel 7:13-16). David understood the prophecy as referring not only to his immediate son (Solomon) who would build the temple, but also to the future Son who would rule forever. David stated that Yahweh had spoken of the distant future (2 Samuel 7:19). Mary would have understood that the angel was speaking to her of the Messiah who had been promised for so long. (Bible Knowledge Commentary) (Luke 1:32-33). Mary did not seem surprised that the Messiah was to come. Rather, she was surprised that she would be His mother since she was a virgin (lit., “since I do not know a man”). But the angel did not rebuke Mary, as he had rebuked Zechariah (Luke 1:20). This indicates that Mary did not doubt the angel’s words but merely wanted to know how such an event would be accomplished. The answer was that the Holy Spirit would creatively bring about the physical conception of Jesus (Luke 1:35). This miraculous conception and Virgin Birth of Jesus Christ was necessary because of His deity (divine being and holy being) and preexistence (Isaiah 7:14; Isaiah 9:6; Galatians 4:4). Like Zechariah, Mary was given a sign: Elizabeth... is going to have a child. Mary affirmed her part in her Son’s subsequent birth by assenting to the plan of God: May it be to me as You have said. She willingly submitted to God’s plan, calling herself the Lord’s servant (doulē, “slave”; Luke 1:48). (Luke 1:34-38) (Bible Knowledge Commentary)
After learning of the sign, Mary... hurried to see Elizabeth. Elizabeth and Zechariah lived in a town in the hill country, which probably referred to the hilly region surrounding Jerusalem. As Mary arrived, Elizabeth’s baby leaped in her womb for joy, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. Zechariah also was later filled with the Holy Spirit (Luke 1:67). Prior to the day of Pentecost, believers were filled with the Holy Spirit for specific tasks.
Elizabeth’s loudly spoken words, Blessed (eulogēmenē, lit., “well spoken of”) are you among women, carry the idea that Mary is the most honored of all women. Elizabeth called her the mother of my Lord. In Luke the term “Lord” (kyrios) often describes Jesus. It has a double meaning. “Lord” would be more important for a Greek reader than would the term “Christ” (meaning “Messiah”), for the Gentiles had not been anxiously awaiting the Messiah. On the other hand the Septuagint often used the word “Lord” (kyrios) to translate Yahweh. Again (Luke 1:45) Elizabeth said Mary was blessed (makaria, “happy”) because she believed what God had told her. This suggests that Mary visited Elizabeth not with a skeptical attitude but rather joyously, to confirm what had been announced to her. (Bible Knowledge Commentary). Here we go again, Practical points to ponder: 1) God is in control as He works out His plan of salvation for mankind (Luke 1:26-27); 2) As God had plan for Mary, so He has a plan for us (vs. 28); 3) God always fulfills His promises (Luke 1:21-33).