We have moved from one surprise in chapter 1 verses 5-25 (the angel appears to Zechariah) to the angel Gabriel appearing to Mary.
When Gabriel appeared to Zechariah, they told him not to be afraid and in this section of the chapter, Gabriel repeats this to Mary. I guess even then if an angel were to suddenly appear in front of you, it would make you jump and run away so this was a necessary phrase for the angel to use.
Just like Gabriel did when announcing the arrival of John to his parents, they went on to say all the great things Jesus would do when He was born – ‘He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give Him the throne of King David, His ancestor. He will rule over the people of Jacob forever and His Kingdom will have no end!’.
Then, the angel goes on to explain that this will happen because the Holy Spirit will come down and the power of God will cover her and make the baby holy – the Son of God.
In a recent session in our house group, we looked at the story of Moses by the burning bush in which Moses tells God he can’t go to the Pharoah and talk to him about God and ask him to let God’s people go because he wasn’t able or confident enough. When the angel Gabriel comes to Mary, she reacts in a similar way, telling them that she is a virgin, therefore, there is no way she could have a baby, but unlike Moses, she is convinced and accepts what is to happen in and with her. ‘I am the servant of the Lord. let this happen to me as you say!’ What an amazing to response to an event that would have sounded completely impossible to Mary, and one that she knew would spread as gossip throughout the area and bring shame on her and her fiance, Joseph.
In the film, Aladdin, there is a scene in which Aladdin falls off a balcony and then appears again stood on a magic carpet. Aladdin reaches out his hand to Jasmine to invite her onto the magic carpet and as he does so, he asks her, “do you trust me?” to which she says “yes” and climbs aboard the carpet with him and they fly off into the distance.
(clip here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eitDnP0_83k) .
Gabriel tells Mary about some of things Jesus will be and do in His life and announces Elizabeth’s surprise pregnancy, ending their speech by telling Mary that God can do anything! This is the God version of ‘Look what I can do, do you trust me?’ and Mary responds “yes”.
I wonder how we would react today to an event like this? An angel, an impossible situation and a prophesy from God. Have you ever experienced something that made you doubt your experience but knew full well despite that, it was real and God was in it? If so, we would love to hear all about it in the comments below!