Summary: Mary sets a great example for us when it comes to our obeying the call of God.
We read here of how Mary was called to obey God; and her response. The story of Mary’s response to God’s call to bear the Messiah beautifully illustrates what our response should be to God’s call in our lives. When we recognize that God is calling us to obey, we should:
1. Rest assured of God’s blessing - vs. 28-33
Mary’s first reaction to the words of the angel was to worry about what he wanted. But the angel told her not to fear, for God’s intent was to bless. Likewise, when we sense God’s call, we often are fearful. But let us rest assured that God’s intent is always only to bless.
A. There are blessings God wants to bring to us - v. 28
Gabriel said two things to Mary that God wants every believer to realize are also true of each of us.
1) She was highly favored - v. 28
This is also true of us as believers.
“So we praise God for the glorious grace he has poured out on us who belong to his dear Son.” - Ephesians 1:6 (NLT)
2) The Lord was with her - v. 28
This is also true of us as believers.
“I am with you all the days (perpetually, uniformly, and on every occasion), to the [very] close and consummation of the age.” - Matthew 28:20 (Amplified)
The angel didn’t say if Mary obeyed God then she would be blessed. No, she was already blessed, but would learn all the more how blessed she was as she obeyed God’s call. Likewise, God doesn’t call us to obey in order to receive His blessings; but he calls us to obey in order to discover His blessings. As believers, we couldn’t be more blessed!
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.” - Ephesians 1:3 (NIV)
However God calls us to obey, is first for our benefit, so that we might discover through our experience the reality of God’s blessings to us.
“[And I pray] that the participation in and sharing of your faith may produce and promote full recognition and appreciation and understanding and precise knowledge of every good [thing] that is ours in [our identification with] Christ Jesus [and unto His glory].” - Philemon 6 (Amplified)
B. There are blessings God wants to bring through us - vs. 31-33
The entire world would be blessed through the child that Mary would give birth to. Her child would be great in the sight of God, and called the “son of the Most High” (v. 32). He would reign forever on the throne of his father David (vs. 32-33). The angel told Mary that the son she would bear would bless the world because:
1) His life would bring the world inspiration;
2) His death would bring the world salvation;
3) His reign would bring the world transformation.
Mary’s obedience would enable people to receive inspiration, salvation and transformation; and God wants to work through us to bless others with inspiration, salvation and transformation as our obedience points them to Christ. Just like God used Mary as a channel through which His blessings might come into the world, He wants to use us. May our prayer reflect the words of the hymn: Make me a channel of blessing today, Make me a channel of blessing, I pray; My life possessing, my service blessing, Make me a channel of blessing today.
When God calls you to obey, rest assured that He wants to lead you to discover how you are blessed and how He can use you to bless others.
2. Rely completely on God’s power - vs. 34-37
Mary asks a question of the angel, for the purpose of clarification, not confirmation. She is committed to cooperating with the Lord in doing his will. Gabriel explained that she would not need to do anything, that the conception in her womb would be the result of God’s miraculous intervention. It was to be a miraculous virgin conception. Therefore, the child will be called the “Son of God” (v. 35).
In his commentary, David Guzik points out: “Gabriel answered that the power of the Highest, in the Person of the Holy Spirit, would overshadow Mary. The word overshadow means ‘to cover with a cloud,’ like the cloud of Shekinah glory (Exodus 16:10, 19:9, 24:16, 34:5, 40:34) or the cloud of transfiguration (Matthew 17:5, Mark 9:7, Luke 9:34). This cloud is a visible manifestation of the glory and presence of God; this means that the same power of God that was with Moses and others in the Old Testament is now going to do a unique work in the life of Mary.”
As a further encouragement, Gabriel told Mary that her elderly relative, Elizabeth, was in her sixth month of pregnancy (vs. 36-37). So, in response to Mary’s question of “how,” the angel told her about how the power of God that would enable her this thing to come to pass. He reminded her that “nothing is impossible with God.”