A Walk through the Book of Luke
February 24, 2023
The Birth of Jesus Foretold
“You’re going to have a baby!”
“You’re going to have a baby.”
In previous devotions, I’ve told the story of my daughter Heather’s adoption several times. Simply said, it was almost 36 years ago now when we adopted her. For whatever reason, Kathy and I could not have our own children, so we decided to adopt. Eight and a half months after we first pursued adopting a child, Heather was in our arms, in our home.
Kathy and I could not plan too far ahead for the birth of Heather. But, it isn’t easy to plan for the baby’s arrival until the birth mother signs the papers and releases custody of her child (usually a day or two after the birth).
Mary, the mother of Jesus, had time to plan for the birth of her child. Everything was pretty normal. She got pregnant and had nine months to prepare for her child’s arrival, right? Well, except for the part that Mary was a virgin and bore God’s Son.
Many theologians believe Mary was only 14 years old when she was visited by the angel Gabriel. So, as you read the passage below, remember that the “woman” that Gabriel is speaking to is a young teenager.
In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”
Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”
“How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”
The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So, the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. Even Elizabeth, your relative, is going to have a child in her old age, and she, who was said to be unable to conceive, is in her sixth month. For no word from God will ever fail.”
“I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her.” Luke 1:26-38
Less than a year after Gabriel visits Zechariah and tells him that he and his wife will have a son in their advanced years, Gabriel returns to communicate to a teenage (14) Mary that she will have a child and he will be the Son of the Most High.
Let’s look at two points in this passage.
First, let us compare Mary’s reply to Gabriel as opposed to what Zechariah said.
Gabriel appeared to Zechariah in the temple while he was on duty as a priest. Gabriel lays out precisely what will happen. What a delight the child will be, and how he will prepare the people for the coming of the Lord (Jesus). But Zechariah asked, “How can I be sure of this? I am an old man, and my wife is well along in years.”
Zechariah did not take the angel Gabriel at his word; he asked for reassurance. Some six months later, Gabriel visits Mary and tells her she will give birth to the Son of God. Mary, too, asked a question, but Gabriel was not harsh with her as he was with Zechariah (taking away his ability to speak for the duration of Elizabeth’s pregnancy).
Mary asked, “How will this be since I am a virgin.” This a valid question from a 14-year-old girl. The angel replied to her, saying, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.”
In other words, you will be made pregnant by God, and you will give birth to His Son, Jesus.
Here is my second point. You’re an adult female or male. We know and understand how people get pregnant and how babies are made, right? So, the first time you heard this story, did it ring true, or did your mind say, “yeah, right.”
We only have to read two lines further when Gabriel tells Mary about her cousin Elizabeth. Even though she had been unable to bear children, Elizabeth was now 6 months pregnant.
Here’s the line that reinforces the angel Gabriel’s words,
“For nothing is impossible with God,”
Nothing is impossible when God is in the equation. Not for a young couple who adopted their daughter almost 36 years ago, not for a 14-year-old girl to become pregnant and give birth to God’s Son. No, nothing is impossible for God.