THE ANNUNCIATION

 

THE ANNUNCIATION

26In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, 27to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin’s name was Mary.

28And he came to her and said, “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you! Blessed are you among women”

29But she was greatly troubled at the saying and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be.

30And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.

31And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. 32He 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, 33and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”

34And Mary said to the angel, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?”

35And 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 borne will be called holy—the Son of God.

36And 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. 37For nothing will be impossible with God.”

38And 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.

LUKE 1:26-38

COMMENTARY

Six months after the conception of John the Baptist, angel Gabriel, was used once more by God Almighty YHWH, to announce to holy Mary of the conception of Lord Jesus.

Angel Gabriel, which the Bible never calls Archangel, was however, a selected angelic being dedicated to communicate great announcements from God. He spoke to Daniel about the last things (Daniel 8:15-26) and also to Zechariah about the birth of the Baptist (Luke 1:19). This time he delivered the greatest message he was ever granted, the incarnation of the Word of God, as a human being.

He came to a young lady, a betrothed woman called Mary of Nazareth. We do not know how old Mary was, or how old was her husband Joseph, but according to the culture of the area and times, she must have been an adolescent, given in marriage as other women of her time. But she was a virgin, a pure woman. A virtuous woman of God.

Certainly, God would not have chosen anyone to be the mother of his son. It was the most sacred mission a human was ever given, and an ongoing endeavor. God needed someone strong in faith, body, and conduct, and He prepared this woman for that job. That is why when Gabriel appeared to her, he greets her:

“Χαρε, κεχαριτωμένη· Κύριος μετ σο· ελογημένη σ ν γυναιξίν.”

“Rejoice, Full of Grace, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!” (Luke 1:28).

Even though the words ‘blessed are you among women’ are not in many manuscripts, they are truthful. No human being, man or woman, has been or ever will be more blessed than holy Mary, elected by God Almighty to carry his begotten son in her womb, and nurture Him during his early years.

That Mary was a pious woman and used to prayer, it is evident by the natural way in which she receives her angelic apparition. She is troubled by the nature of the salute and the reason of the visit, but not from the supernatural appearance. She must have been used to the fact that God, angels, and the spiritual world were real.

The angel calmed her by assuring her that she was in God’s favor, and that she had been chosen to be the mother of a man that will be known as ‘the Son of the Most High’; and that God will sit Him in King David’s throne forever.

Mary asked, ‘How will that happen, since I am a virgin?’ (Luke 1:34).

Up to this point, Mary had no idea of the incarnation. She expected to be the mother of a natural human, but special in the sight of God and with a great mission. It is natural to assume that this was going to take effect through the union with her husband Joseph, specially since Gabriel did not mention when this was going to happen, which will give the idea that it would be later, after the consummation of her marriage.

Why Mary asked this question being a married woman, has given room for much speculation over the centuries to theologians. But in short, this could be for two reasons only. Either St Mary was planning to remain a virgin, even after going to live with Joseph, or simply, but unlikely, she just asked redundantly.

Whatever the reason, she was explained then the mechanics of the incarnation. She will conceive by God’s power, and that is why the baby will be called Son of God. Not just for being someone special, but literally begotten by God (Luke 1:35).

Gabriel, spoke to Mary as God’s command. He did not ask for Mary’s permission. He simply communicated what was going to happen. He assumed Mary’s acceptance. Why?

Because holy Mary was elected and predestined before she was born for this role (Galatians 1:15). God does not risk or plays with his creation. Some blasphemously called Mary co-redemptrix, as if she had helped Jesus to fulfill the atonement, or that without her consent the Savior would not have been born. That is not the case. Had Mary refused, God will have chosen and prepared another woman. Because nobody, absolutely nobody at all, is necessary for God and his purposes.   

However, St Mary, in her free will, accepted her call, and responded to Gabriel:

δο δούλη Κυρίου· γένοιτό μοι κατ τ ῥῆμά σου”

“Behold the slave of the Lord; may it be done to me according to your word." (Luke 1:38).

She accepted the most magnificent mission a human has ever been granted, and with her consent, she sealed her covenant with Lord God YHWH.

Omar Flores.

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