God’s Promise of a Savior
Posted December 18, 2022
Lesson 3 Winter Quarter
Lesson Text: Luke 1:26-38
Golden Text: Luke 1:31
In our lesson last week, we took a look at God’s promise to David about his house (throne) being everlasting. We learned in our lesson last week that David’s house is everlasting through Jesus who came to this world through the lineage of David. Our lesson this week takes a look at God’s promise of a savior through Gabriel’s announcement to Mary.
Gabriel Visits Mary
Our lesson opens in the sixth month with Gabriel being sent by God to Nazareth, a city of Galilee (v.26). The mention of the six month here is not speaking to it being the sixth month of the year of the Hebrew calendar. In fact, when we get near to the end of our lesson, we will see that the sixth month is in regards to Gabriel’s visit to Zacharias and also speaks to how far along Elizabeth is in her pregnancy (v.36).
We will see in the next verse that scripture makes it clear that Mary was a virgin (v.27). The significance of us being told that Mary was a virgin falls back to prophecy and to show that prophecy was being fulfilled. As we saw in our lesson last week, in order for one to be the Messiah, they would have to come through the seed of David.
The prophecy of the virgin birth also plays a very important role for one being able to claim to be the Messiah. The prophecy of the virgin giving birth to the Messiah is found in the book of Isaiah. The prophecy stated, “Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel (Is. 7:14).”
Now, we won’t see it mentioned in this passage of scripture in Luke’s gospel, but in Matthew’s gospel, when Gabriel speaks to Joseph, he spoke of the virgin birth. Gabriel said to Joseph, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins (Matt. 1:20-21).”
Matthew then stated in his writing that all of that which was spoken of to Joseph and then done through Mary was done so that the prophecy of the Messiah might be fulfilled. The name Immanuel, scripture says, translates to mean “God with us” (Matt. 1:22-23). So, again, for Luke to mention that Mary was a virgin, is very significant because it shows the fulfillment of the prophecy of the Messiah.
The Messiah needed to come through the seed (lineage) of David. By marriage to Joseph, Mary and her children could claim to be through David’s lineage; David’s lineage is what is covered in Matthew 1. At the same time, hidden in Luke’s gospel is the lineage of Jesus which is different from what is covered in Matthew’s gospel (Luke 3:23-38). Why is it different? It’s different because this is Mary’s lineage.
Why does Luke give the genealogy of Mary? Well, when you look at this tree, you will see that Mary’s lineage also traces back to David as well! Specifically, Mary’s lineage traces back to David through Nathan, the son of David (Luke 3:31). This is very significant for us to know because there could be no argument made against Jesus’ claim to the throne or being the Messiah, even with Jesus not being born a natural birth.
Gabriel’s announcement to Mary
Gabriel appears before Mary and announces, “Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you (v.28).” I love this announcement from Gabriel here because it touches on a couple of notes for us. Firstly, Gabriel tells Mary that she was both blessed and highly favored. I believe that this says a lot about who Mary was as a person because the Lord did not pick just any virgin, He chose Mary, I believe, because she was in fellowship with the Lord.
What makes me believe that Mary was in fellowship with the Lord? Well, Gabriel said that the Lord was with her. The Lord is with all of those who are in fellowship with Him. Remember the meaning of the name Immanuel – God with us.
Like we saw with Zacharias in our first lesson, Mary was troubled at Gabriel’s saying and the manner of the greeting (v.29). Gabriel warns her not to be afraid because, again, she had found favor with God (v.30). Personally, I believe that Mary was more in shock than being outright afraid when it came to this announcement from Gabriel. I will touch on why I believe it was more shock than fear in a moment.
Gabriel tells Mary that she will conceive and bring forth a Son, and will call His name Jesus (v.31). Gabriel tells her that the Son she brings forth would be called the “Son of the Highest” and the Lord will give Him the throne of His father David (v.32). He would then go on to reign over the house of Jacob (Israel) forever, and His kingdom there will be no end (v.33).
So, if you take a look at Gabriel’s announcement, he essentially goes down the checklist of marking off how Jesus would qualify as both the Messiah and future king of Israel. Gabriel’s announcement puts me in mind of Isaiah prophecy where Isaiah prophesied that a Child would be born and a Son given; His would be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace (Is. 9:6).
Now, if you put yourself in Mary’s shoes, all of this information had to be coming out of left field for her! Mary was just having a normal day and suddenly Gabriel appeared with this announcement of the future. So, I believe Mary was startled at Gabriel’s appearance and then was just left shocked and confused.
Mary asks, “How can this be, since I do not know a man (v.34)?” Now, was Mary being like Zacharias who did not believe what Gabriel announced to him? Absolutely not. Again, Mary was simply confused at how she, a virgin, could give birth to a child. There are many people who cannot understand or refuse to believe that a virgin gave birth.
Well, how can it be? Gabriel told Mary that the Holy Spirit would come upon her and the power of the Highest would overshadow her (v.35). In other words, the Holy Spirit would move upon Mary and through His work, she would conceive and give birth to the Son of God. Christ would be born of a virgin woman through the working of the Holy Spirit.
Now, again, I don’t necessarily think that Mary was doubting this would happen, but just in case she was, Gabriel points out to her that there is no reason to doubt. Gabriel points out that Elizabeth, a relative of Mary’s (her cousin), had conceived a son in her old age (v.36). So, if Mary happened to think that something was impossible, Gabriel tells her that with God, nothing is impossible (v.37).
Ready to accept the call
Throughout scripture, the Lord is shown doing the impossible on a regular basis. I mentioned Abraham and Sarah in the first lesson of this quarter and how Sarah, who was barren all her life, gave birth to Isaac in her old age. It was thought impossible that anybody could be freed from the bondage of Egypt and the Lord easily brought the children of Israel out of that bondage with plagues and miracles along the way.
When you are in fellowship with the Lord, then you know that there is nothing that is impossible for Him to do. Mary, again, I truly believed and walked with the Lord. So, I don’t believe that any of this was beyond believing for Mary. In fact, Mary, we will see, responded, “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word (v.38).” Mary was ready to be used by the Lord!
Yes, of course, we take away from this lesson the announcement of Jesus’ birth, but there is something else I believe we should take away from this lesson. I believe that you and I should come away from this lesson with growing to accept the Lord’s works. Even when things might seem impossible, trust that God is going to move and make the impossible a reality. Be ready to follow and trust in the Lord!