There’s Something About Mary – Part Two

Announcing a child’s birth is a privilege most parents look forward to. And with the advent of personal computers and digital cameras, birth announcements are as fancy as ever. Full-color photos. Customized fonts. You name it. We can print it. At least, nowadays we can.

When my first child was born sixteen years ago, this technology was not as prevalent as it is today. Still, my creative side wanted to send out something special to announce the birth of my firstborn. Simone was born the Sunday before Easter, so I handwrote on each birth announcement:

“On Palm Sunday, we celebrated a little triumphal entry of our own . . .”

They were simple announcements, but I took delight in sharing this joy with everyone I knew.

Two thousand years ago, there were two women who announced their births under very different circumstances. Mary had a much older cousin, Elizabeth, who had never experienced the honor of announcing the birth of a child. During this time in history, women were sadly disgraced if they couldn’t get pregnant. However, a special birth announcement would soon remove Elizabeth’s shame.

When Elizabeth’s husband, Zechariah, was serving as priest, he was chosen by lot to enter the temple and burn incense. Then the archangel Gabriel appeared to him and said:

“Zechariah, your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son” (Luke 1:13).

After all those years, God removes their shame. And He does it in a big way. Zechariah gets a visit from the archangel inside the Holy of Holies, in the temple, in the Holy City of Jerusalem. Not only that, but their baby will be a son, and not just any son, but he will be filled with the Holy Spirit from birth. Their son, John the Baptist, will be great in the sight of the Lord, and he will prepare the way for the coming Messiah.

For Zechariah and Elizabeth, their news was huge!

The announcement of their pending birth was surrounded with pure joy and elation. They could tell everyone they knew. Well, Elizabeth could tell everyone, but Zechariah would have to nod.

When Gabriel told him the news, Zechariah questioned the angel:

“How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is well along in years.”

The angel answered:

I have been sent to speak to you and to tell you this good news. And now you will be silent and not able to speak until the day this happens, because you did not believe my words.” (Luke 1:18-20)

Because you did not believe my words.

Zechariah’s response was one of disbelief.

Contrast this birth announcement with Gabriel’s next big appearance. It’s not in the Holy of Holies, in the temple, in the Holy City of Jerusalem. Rather, it’s in the remote village of Nazareth, a town despised by Jews because it was the location of a Roman garrison.

This time, the angel Gabriel doesn’t appear to a well-respected priest.
Instead, he speaks to a poor girl – someone of no consequence.

Gabriel tells Mary that she will become pregnant – except shame won’t be removed like it was for Elizabeth. This pregnancy will bring shame to both her and her fiancé.

The angel said to her:

“Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus.” (Luke 1:30-33)

Now, Mary did ask a question: “How will this be, since I am a virgin?”

But Mary’s question is not one of disbelief. She does not doubt what the angel said. She was simply curious as to how it will happen.

Gabriel replied:

“The Holy Spirit will come upon 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 barren is in her sixth month. For nothing is impossible with God.” (Luke 1: 35-37)

Humbly, Mary responded: “I am the Lord’s servant. May it be to me as you have said.”

Notice the different responses by Zechariah and Mary.
When Zechariah heard the angel’s words, he did not believe.
When Mary heard the angel’s words, she believed.

Consider, also, the serious consequences Mary faced. This announcement could end her engagement to Joseph. Worse still, Mary could be stoned to death.

Unlike Elizabeth, Mary couldn’t announce her news with quite the same exuberance. But she didn’t doubt. And she didn’t ask for proof. Her only response? “I am the Lord’s servant. May it be to me as you have said.”

There’s something about Mary. Something hidden. Something only God could see. Why did God choose Mary? I believe one thing that made her stand out, if only to Him, was her unwavering belief in God.

Mary believed what God said.

Even when it didn’t make any sense.
Even when it wasn’t possible in human terms.
Even when it meant possible death.

Mary believed.

To be continued . . .

(This is a seven-part series. I will post every Monday-Wednesday-Friday until its completion.)

For further reading, see Luke chapter 1.

 

6 thoughts on “There’s Something About Mary – Part Two

  1. This is very sweet- and powerfully true! If we can just trust Him – really trust Him – He wants to work miracles in our lives- He is working one in mine right now- you can read about our adoption on my page if you'd like 🙂 I'm a new follower- nice to meet you!

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