Mary, Gabriel & the Birth of Jesus

By Harrison Woodard

And the Word (Christ) became flesh (human, incarnate) and tabernacled (fixed His tent of flesh, lived awhile) among us; and we [actually] saw His glory (His honor, His majesty), such glory as an only begotten son receives from his father, full of grace (favor, loving-kindness) and truth. — John 1:14 AMP

“This is the meaning of the parable: The seed is the word of God. The seeds along the path are those who have heard. Then the Devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved. And the seeds on the rock are those who, when they hear, welcome the word with joy. Having no root, these believe for a while and depart in a time of testing. As for the seed that fell among thorns, these are the ones who, when they have heard, go on their way and are choked with worries, riches, and pleasures of life, and produce no mature fruit. But the seed in the good ground—these are the ones who, having heard the word with an honest and good heart, hold on to it and by enduring, bear fruit.” — Luke 8:11-15 HCSB

Based on Luke 1:26-56

In the village of Nazareth in Galilee, there lived a young virgin named Mary. She was engaged to Joseph, a descendant of King David.

One day God sent the angel Gabriel to visit Mary. He appeared to her and announced,

“Congratulations, Mary! The Lord is with you. You are truly blessed!”

Mary was confused by what he said.

“Don’t be scared, Mary,” said Gabriel. “God has wonderfully blessed you. You will give birth to a baby boy. You will name him Jesus. He shall be called the Son of God. God will give him the throne of David and his Kingdom will never end!”

“How can I have a baby without a husband?” asked Mary.*

Gabriel replied, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you and overshadow you. And God’s Word will become a baby inside of you. The child will be the perfect, sinless Son of God.”

“As further proof, your relative Elizabeth, who was barren, is now six months pregnant in her old age. For with God, nothing is impossible!” added Gabriel.

“I am the servant of God,” said Mary. “Let everything happen just as you have said.”

And then Gabriel disappeared.

A few days later, Mary traveled to Judea to visit Elizabeth. At the sound of Mary’s greeting, Elizabeth’s child leaped within her and she was filled with the Holy Spirit.

“Blessed are you among all women. And blessed is your child who is destined for God’s greatest praise!” declared Elizabeth. “What an honor that the mother of my Lord would visit me! The moment I heard your voice, my child leaped for joy! You believed God would do what He said. That is why God has blessed you with this child!”

Mary added, “Praise the Lord! I rejoice in God my Savior! He loves me and has done a wonderful thing for me. God’s love is upon all those that love Him, from generation to generation. He raises the humble and topples the mighty. He feeds the hungry and sends the selfish away. God has not forgotten His promise to Israel to be merciful to them forever!”

Mary stayed with Elizabeth for three months and then returned to her home.

Some Things To Think About

Why was Mary blessed? We are blessed, or empowered to prosper, when we believe God’s Word. Mary heard God’s Word from Gabriel and accepted it as true. Unlike Zacharias, who doubted Gabriel’s announcement, Mary’s simple question of how came out of awe or curiosity and not doubt or unbelief. After Gabriel left she immediately left to visit Elizabeth so they both could share the joy of God’s Word in action. Although Mary had no outward sign that she would have a child, she believed it was true. Elizabeth’s Holy Spirit inspired declaration that Mary was the mother of her Lord further confirmed this truth. What a wonderful joy to accept God’s Word as truth even when circumstances seem to contradict what we know and believe. If we have that kind of faith, we are also truly blessed.

Gabriel announced that nothing is impossible with God. What a wonderful truth that we must all remember. God can do anything. To suggest otherwise is a terrible disservice to Him. Religion sometimes wants to make excuses for why God can’t or will not do something. We should instead believe that all things are possible and then search God’s Word and learn how to receive our needs and desires the Kingdom way.

How did Mary, a virgin, conceive? The best explanation can be found in the Gospel of John (1:14). In John, we find that the “Word became flesh.” When Mary heard Gabriel’s announcement, she received God’s Word into her spirit and eventually a child was created. When we receive God’s Word it builds faith and that faith can be used to tap into God’s supernatural power. God’s Word, THE seed was planted inside Mary and in time there was a harvest of salvation for all of us.

 

Faith Building Exercise

Faith comes by continually hearing God’s Word. When you confess (speak) God’s Word out loud you are planting God’s incorruptible seed in your heart (spirit). In time, God’s Word will take root in your spirit (heart) and produce a plentiful harvest of all God’s blessings and promises in your life.

Confess these out loud every day until you believe them in your spirit. They will build your faith. Look up these verses and read them as they appear in your Bible. You can always trust God’s Word because He cannot lie.

 

I believe, therefore I speak in agreement to God’s Word.
(2 Corinthians 4:13)

God’s Word is sown in my heart and I understand it. The evil one cannot snatch it from me. It yields a bountiful harvest of good fruit.
(Matthew 16:19-23)

I have faith as a seed and nothing is impossible for me.
(Matthew 17:20)

My righteousness is based on faith in Jesus. The Word is near me. It is on my lips and in my heart.
(Romans 10:6-8)

God’s Word is spirit and life.
(John 6:63)

God’s Word grows mightily inside me and prevails over all the circumstances in my life.
(Acts 19:20)

All things are possible with God.
(Mark 10:27)

The words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart are acceptable to God.
(Psalm 19:14)

All things are possible with God. Everything is possible because I believe.
(Matthew 19:26; Mark 9:23)

God’s Word is in me. Whatever I ask is given to me.
(John 15:7)

 

 

*A few readers have taken issue with this line. This is a paraphrase of the story intended for all people. However, many of my readers are children. This verse is translated many different ways (see 17 different translations here  – Luke 1:34), also the Amplified Bible (AMP) does a great job revealing the meaning of the original Greek – Luke 1. Mary’s question was a modest way of asking about conceiving a baby without intimacy with a man. She was engaged (betrothed) to Joseph, but still a virgin as per the custom of her day. The AMP, Weymouth and Young used “husband” in their translations. I followed their lead in this paraphrase to make it easier for young minds to understand, without unnecessarily opening the door to a multitude of questions on human sexuality. The Greek renders her question as how would this happen without intimacy with a man. Mary was a virgin who was engaged to Joseph. And there is plenty of evidence from scripture that they were both righteous Jews living under the Law. Sexual intimacy would not happen until after the marriage ceremony, and in this circumstance, not until after the birth of Jesus too. My goal is not to start a theological debate. My prayer is that this will help visitors obtain a deeper appreciation and love for God’s Word. The takeaway from this story should be that Mary heard the Word of God, and most importantly, she believed it.
See also: Matthew 1:18-25
And a knowledge of Jewish marriage customs and symbolism in the Bible is helpful as well: 
The Messiah and the Jewish Wedding; Jewish Wedding Customs and the Bride of Messiah
And filling in some gaps between Matthew & Luke’s account, I found this article helpful: The Birth of Jesus
 

 

To learn more, click here: Christmas and Nativity of Jesus

 

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