Luke 1:26-38 (ESV)
26 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.
Six months after Zechariah was told he would father the Messiah’s forerunner, God sent the same angel, Gabriel, on a mission to Nazareth. The town was so small that Luke’s readers might not have known it, so Luke included its location in Galilee. Gabriel then appeared to a teenaged virgin named Mary, who was engaged, and told her that God favored her. As verse 29 says, “She was greatly troubled at the saying.” The angel repeated himself and let her know this was a “good thing.” He said, “Do not be afraid. You will conceive a son and you will name him Jesus.” The angel added more for Mary: “About the son you will conceive, he will be the Messiah.” Mary replied with, “What??? Wait! I am a virgin. How can I have a son?” Gabriel explained to her that the Holy Spirit would cause a child to conceive in her womb. The child would be the offspring of both Mary and the power of the Holy Spirit, making Jesus fully man and fully God. And as a sign that all this is true, the angel went on, “Your relative Elizabeth is pregnant too!” Gabriel ended with “None of this,” or “nothing” is impossible with God.
Can you imagine what this situation must have been like for Mary? She was engaged, but quite young. In the first century, most Jewish girls married at between 13 and 16 years old. Mary would not have been formally educated. She was from an unknown village, and not wealthy. Couldn’t the Lord have found someone who had a better résumé? When Mary heard these things, though overwhelmed, she responded, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word” (v. 38). She declared herself the servant of God, and willing to do whatever he asked of her. God isn’t looking for age or education or fame or money when selecting people to advance his agenda. No matter where you are in life at this moment, you can choose to demonstrate the same character and attitude as Mary. Does what you are intending to do (or not do) line up with humble servanthood of God? If not, move your confidence from yourself to the Lord. He can do whatever he wants with those who trust in him.