Mary is about 13 when the angel Gabriel announces to her that she is the Mother of God. No wonder this young maiden glorifies God, no wonder her spirit is filled with joy in God. No wonder she recognizes that despite her lowliness, God looks upon her with His grace. Mary’s humility is unmatched. Despite stating that she is blessed above all other women, she recognizes that her blessedness is not due to any action of her own, but only due to God’s own glory.
“And Mary said, My soul magnifies the Lord; my spirit has found joy in God, who is my Saviour, because he has looked graciously upon the lowliness of his handmaid. Behold, from this day forward all generations will count me blessed; because he who is mighty, he whose name is holy, has wrought for me his wonders.”
We ought to take our cue from Mary. She never speaks of herself as a spiritual giant; she never says to another that she is holy. Rather, she glorifies God.
God glorifies Himself through Mary, making her the ultimate vessel for the Holy Spirit in the form of the Christ child.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve got some issues with believing a dream! I view my dreams with great suspicion, always considering them as NOT prophetic.
In Joseph’s case, his betrothed is visited by Gabriel, whose words to her confirm Joseph’s dream. (Luke 1: 26 – 33)
Where two are gathered in [His] Name, there He is also. (Matthew 18: 20)
Gabriel, who is the angel of the Lord, refers to the prophet Isaiah, who writes: “Behold, the virgin will conceive and bear a son, and they shall call His Name Immanuel.” (Matthew 1: 23)
Gabriel tells Joseph to name his son Jesus, “for He will save His people from their sins.” (Matthew 1: 21)
Like Mary before him, Joseph believes. I do think he confirms this dream with Mary, speaking with her later, hearing her report of Gabriel’s visit and the angel’s words to her. Gabriel’s visit to Mary comes before she “is found to be with child from the Holy Spirit.” (Matthew 1: 18) Gabriel tells her beforehand not to be afraid, that the Holy Spirit will come upon her, overshadow her and give her the baby who is Jesus. She keeps this to herself, sharing it later with Elizabeth. I see her not sharing it with Joseph, perhaps out of fear. After all, she knows she may be stoned to death, outside the city gate. But when Joseph finds Mary pregnant, he is just and decides “to divorce her quietly.” (Matthew 1: 19) He is kind and does not want Mary to die. Perhaps he also does not want her unborn child to die.
When Gabriel tells Joseph to take Mary to be his wife, Joseph confirms the dream with Mary. All that Mary has stored in her heart now comes out. I imagine her relief and her thrill to find that Joseph is also a faithful servant of God; that he also is willing to obey.
Elizabeth is in her sixth month of pregnancy when the angel Gabriel comes to Mary to tell her that she is favored to be the mother of God.
“How will this be, since I am a virgin?” is the only question Mary asks of Gabriel. (Luke 1: 34)
Gabriel’s response is simple, “For nothing will be impossible with God.” (Luke 1: 37)
Mary says, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” (Luke 1: 38)
In this exchange, Mary shows herself to be completely trusting of her God. What Gabriel has told her is impossible by any stretch of the imagination. She does not ask how “the Holy Spirit will come upon” her or how “the power of the Most High will overshadow” her. (Luke 1: 35) She does not question that her son “will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High.” (Luke 1: 32) She does not protest when Gabriel tells her that Elizabeth, who is old and thought barren, will also have a son and that she is already in her sixth month.
Mary simply accepts, even though she is troubled at first when Gabriel calls her “O favored one.” (Luke 1: 28) The greeting is meaningless to her initially, and only frightens her. Gabriel reassures Mary, telling her that she should not be afraid, that she “has found favor with God.” (Luke 1: 30)
Mary’s response is an acknowledgment that she is God’s servant, that He has favored her. She recognizes that God has chosen her for an unfathomable task — she is to carry God’s Son and name Him Jesus. Mary knows very little at this point except that she will obey.