In the letter Dr. Luke is writing to Theophilus, he first tells of the announcement of John the Baptist’s birth and then follows it with the announcement of Jesus’ birth. John the Baptist was to be born first to create excitement and get the people ready for the arrival of the Messiah – he was like the opening act for the Son of God. “Ladies and Gentlemen – who you’ve all been waiting for – JESUS!” (crowd roars)
Since both Luke and Theophilus are skeptics of miraculous conceptions, the doctor gave special attention to how Jesus was born. Did a virgin really have a son? According to the Old Testament, are the prophecies really coming to reality?
Elizabeth was 6 months pregnant with John the Baptist when Mary was visited by the Angel Gabriel. Mary is believed to be somewhere around 12-14 years old at that time. She was betrothed to Joseph, a carpenter or mason, a descendant of King David. In those years, betrothed was different from engaged. It was similar to already being married, you can’t break it off unless you get a divorce, and could only divorce for sexual immorality.
Mary didn’t understand Gabriel’s greeting. Why was she chosen out of all the women? God just favored her. She asked how she would conceive since she was still a virgin. There is no “unbelief” in her question, it was built on faith. (vs. Zecharias that had no faith and was muted) Gabriel advised her The Holy Spirit would come upon her. Disregarding the social pressures she would face, and whether Joseph would marry her, she rejoiced. Mary was committed to God’s will. “however you want to use me…okay…let’s go!”
Why send Jesus? God needed to communicate with us on our level, in human form, to lead by example. To set up his church. Here’s a thought to ponder: So when God calls upon us, will we react like Zacharias (unbelief requesting a sign) or Mary (happy to do God’s will and rejoice)?
Study Luke 1:26-38 (ESV) / TFAB / Pastor Loren video