Luke 1:26-38 In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, (27) to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin’s name was Mary. (28) And he came to her and said, “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!” (29) But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be. (30) And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. (31) And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. (32) He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, (33) and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” (34) And Mary said to the angel, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?” (35) And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God. (36) And behold, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. (37) For nothing will be impossible with God.” (38) And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.
As Zechariah and Elizabeth await the birth of the son proclaimed by the angel Gabriel, that same angel comes to Mary in Nazareth of Galilee. Upon receiving the news of God’s favor and her role in carrying and delivering the messiah into the world, she responds with a question which sounds similar to Zechariahs’ question. He was rebuked for his unbelief and his voice was taken away for a time. But Mary is not expressing disbelief in the ability of God but amazement that this could be God’s plan at all. The heart of her question is very different from that of Zechariah.
She, though a virgin, would conceive and bear a son. Eternal God will attach to humanity in her womb but he is God the Son. He is not in Adam, he is the second Adam. He has come to set things right. Adam’s sin had so corrupted mankind that all share in his sin nature so it is important that Jesus came outside of that.
Luke 1:39-56 In those days Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a town in Judah, (40) and she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. (41) And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, (42) and she exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! (43) And why is this granted to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me? (44) For behold, when the sound of your greeting came to my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. (45) And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.” (46) And Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Lord, (47) and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, (48) for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant. For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed; (49) for he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name. (50) And his mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation. (51) He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts; (52) he has brought down the mighty from their thrones and exalted those of humble estate; (53) he has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent away empty. (54) He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, (55) as he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his offspring forever.” (56) And Mary remained with her about three months and returned to her home.
As God the son emptied himself of the glories of heaven and came to grow within a womb, the infinite giver of life took on frailty and dependence upon his mother. The incarnation is miraculous and amazing to consider. Mary rejoiced. Elizabeth rejoiced. And John, within the womb of his own mother leaped with excitement at the coming of the savior.
As we anticipate and remember this miracle, let us join our voices to theirs in worship and praise. Let us bring our questions to God not in doubt but in awe and amazement. Let us glorify and praise him forever.