Gabriel carried a message to Mary that would change her destiny forever. It wasn’t an easy message. One of carrying a son, which would be good news to anyone who was married, but she wasn’t yet married. This news would be scandalous, she would be ostracised, disgraced and shunned by friends’, family and neighbours. In Jewish law being pregnant outside of marriage was a stonable offense. Even her fiancé would need Gabriel’s intervention to prevent him from sending her away so she wouldn’t be disgraced or worse.
What did Mary feel as she digested the news? The angel Gabriel’s news wasn’t one where everything would be ok, if anything the news put Mary into an extremely awkward position that threatened her life and reputation. Mary’s answer though was to believe the angel and with a simple ‘I am God’s servant, let it be done to me as you have said’ (Luke 1:38).
Maybe Mary’s servant heart towards God is what He saw in this rural teenage girl, her humble attitude to say to God, 'even if it costs me and my reputation is ruined and my life is threatened, I will obey you because You say you love me’.
Gabriel’s opening statement to Mary was one of surprise; ‘Greetings favoured one!’ (Luke 1:28) this warm greeting would have taken anyone by surprised. It implies not only has God thought about Mary, but He favours her, He’s taken the time to see her and has a fondness for her.
As a woman who had not had relations with a man, let alone her fiancé, this must have been more than puzzling for Mary. Why would the coming King, the angel talked about, be required to be born of a virgin?
Unlike their male counterparts, women weren't required to learn the scriptures. Most were illiterate, but there was opportunity for women to hear God’s word at synagogue. Had Mary heard where in scriptures several hundred years prior Isaiah proclaimed:
"Therefore, the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son and will call him Immanuel" (Isaiah 7:14).
Jesus’ birth to a virgin teenage girl in rural Israel surprised most and is still shocking today. God took the tradesman’s entrance into the world He created. By humble means, the Saviour not conceived by the corrupted sinful seed of man but pure and clean of the Holy Spirit, produced the coming Saviour and King bringing God’s coming kingdom into the world.
If we could ask Mary today what lessons she learned from her life as a servant of God, maybe just maybe she would say ‘Obey God and leave all the consequences to Him’.