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005a The Angel Gabriel Appears
to Mary Luke 1:26-38
“And in the sixth month”,
that is to say the sixth month after Elizabeth’s conception; that’s how long
John the Baptist was conceived before Jesus, and how long he was born before
Jesus. It would also seem that’s
how long it was between John’s public ministry and the public ministry of
Jesus. John came before Christ as
His forerunner on Earth; however, Jesus existed before John, as the eternal Son
of God. We looked at John the
Baptizer as the forerunner when we started studying the book of John.
In the sixth month of
Elizabeth’s pregnancy, the angel Gabriel was sent or dispatched. The angel Gabriel was sent to Daniel 500 years earlier to
give him the time of the Messiah’s coming, and he was sent six months earlier
to acquaint Zechariah with the conception, birth, character, and office of the
forerunner of the Messiah.
name Gabriel means “man of God”. Gabriel
is the messenger of peace and restoration.
Gabriel gave Daniel the explanation of his two visions in Daniel 8:16 and
9:21. The only other angel of God
that is mentioned by name in Scripture is Michael, who is the destroyer, the
champion of God against evil; he’s the minister of wrath.
Michael is the forerunner of Jehovah the judge; Gabriel is the forerunner
of Jehovah the savior. If you think
back to Daniel 12:13, which says, “But
the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days: but, lo,
Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me; and I remained there with
the kings of Persia”, you will see that sometimes it takes the two most
powerful angels of God to withstand Satan.
If the two chief angels had trouble resisting Satan, don’t think that
you can resist him by yourself.
in this verse that in the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent.
This verb is from “apostellO”, from which we get the word
“apostle”. The angel Gabriel is
God’s messenger to Mary, just as he was God’s messenger to Zechariah in Luke
1:19. [Luke 1:19]
The angel Gabriel gave the annunciation or announcing of the incarnation
of Jesus Christ. (The church
observes the annunciation on March 25, although there is no reason to think that
Jesus was actually born on December 25th.)
Now, here in verse 26, it says that the angel Gabriel was
dispatched to a city of Galilee, which is named Nazareth.
Why were they in Nazareth? Since
Joseph and Mary were both of the family of David, wasn’t their estate in
Bethlehem? It seems that they should have been there and not in
Nazareth. Even after the return
from captivity, the Bible tells us that the families went to reside in the
cities in which they originally belonged.
I think that it is probable that they moved to Galilee
for fear of making Herod Jealous. Herod
had usurped that throne, even though others had an indisputable right to it.
By keeping out of the way, they avoided the effects of Herod’s
The whole country of Galilee was mean, which means that it
was contemptible, at least with the Jews. In
John 7:52, they observe that no prophet arose out of it.
It says, “They answered and said unto him, Art thou also of Galilee?
Search, and look: for out of Galilee ariseth no prophet.”
They were either lying when they said that, or they were terribly
mistaken. Jonah was of Gathhepher,
which was in the tribe of Zebulun, which tribe was in Galilee.
The Jews themselves say that Jonah, the son of Amittai was of Zebulun,
and that his father was of Zebulun and his mother was of Asher, of which both
tribes were in Galilee. Besides,
just because one had not yet arisen in Galilee, that doesn’t mean that one
should not arise; does Scripture say that one won’t arise?
[Isaiah 9:1] A prophet and
even the Messiah, the great light should arise in Galilee!
Nazareth was particularly despicable among the Jews.
That’s why we have the words of Nathanael in John 1:46, “can any good
thing come out of Nazareth? Yet an angel was sent there with a message and Nazareth is
where the mother of our Lord dwelt.
In Matthew 2, we see that Joseph in returning from Egypt
was going to Judea, where he belonged, but he turned aside to go back to
Nazareth again, taking Mary and Jesus with him. There could be no mistaking that that which the prophets
spoke was fulfilled: He would be
called a Nazarene. That’s where
He was conceived (notice that’s where life begins), that’s where He grew up;
He was a Nazarene.
The angel Gabriel was dispatched to the city of Nazareth to
a virgin who was espoused or betrothed. There
was usually 10 months to a year between the contract of marriage and the
celebration of the nuptials. The
nature of this engagement was so binding that unfaithfulness between the two was
considered adultery and was punishable by death.
A virgin is pure and clean.
Nothing in Scriptures is more completely and guardedly presented than the virgin birth of our Lord. The great issues involved were not merely the reputation of His mother, but the value of His relationship to both God and man; and those relationships depend greatly upon the question of His paternity. Once we see that He had no human father, the miracle of His sinless life, the value of His sacrificial death, and the secrets of His Sonship are all revealed. No man, descended on both sides from Adam, has ever approached a sinless life. Everyone deserves death, and no one can save himself; much less others. There must be a cause for His unapproachable perfection, and it is found only in the fact that He was born, not of bloods, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
Jesus is born within wedlock, to protect the name of Mary
as well as to link Him with the regal line of David, and Joseph, the husband, is
assured of the facts in a dream that is presented in Matthew 1:20.
Mary is presented as virtuous and chaste and God-fearing, but her most
blessed place among women is not awarded to her as if it’s something she
earned, but it’s presented as divine favor.
[Isaiah 7:14] You
don’t ask for a sign for a pledge from God, but God gave them one any way.
This word “virgin” properly means a girl, maiden, virgin or young
woman who is unmarried and is of marriageable age.
The word is derived from the verb “alam”, which means to conceal, to
hide, or to cover. (Think about the
way they wore veils to conceal themselves, and the way the Muslims still do.)
This word that is translated here as “virgin” is applied to Rebekah
in Genesis 24:43, and to Miriam, the sister of Moses in Exodus 2:8.
This word occurs only in seven places in the OT.
Besides these two already mentioned, it is found in Psalm 68:25, Song of
Solomon 1:3, Song of Solomon 6:8 and Proverbs 30:19.
In all these places, except perhaps in Proverbs, it is used
in its obvious natural sense, to denote a young, unmarried female.
In the Syriac, this word means to grow up.
Therefore, the derivatives are applied to youth (both young men and young
women) who are “growing up”.
The etymology of the word requires us to suppose that it
means one who is growing up to a marriageable state, or the age of puberty.
The word “maiden” or “virgin” expresses the correct idea.
The Hebrews usually employed the word that is used here to denote a pure
virgin. Isaiah tells us that there
would be a sign, and back in Luke, it’s time for that sign to occur.
The time has come to give a son to a virgin, a savior to
the world, a pattern to mankind, a sacrifice for sinners…
Praise God! The angel
Gabriel is sent from God, not to the palaces of the great and rich, but to a
poor maiden who was the espoused wife of a carpenter.
The Son of God comes to humble the proud, and to honor poverty, weakness
and contemptibleness. God has chosen an obscure place for the birth of the Messiah;
for His sufferings and death, He will choose the greatest city.
Gabriel was sent to a virgin, who was espoused to Joseph,
of the house of David. The
grammatical construction of the sentence lets the phrase “of the house of
David” be attached either to the virgin or to Joseph, and in fact, it’s true
of both of them. We studied this in
the study of the genealogy of Jesus.
The Messiah would be born to the house of David, and the
house of David, at least in this case, consisted of a poor carpenter and a poor
virgin (we’ll see just how poor later), and they lived in the lowly city of
Nazareth in the despised area of Galilee.
The virgin’s name was Mary, or more appropriately,
Miriam. Miriam was a common name
among the Jews, and was the name of the sister of Moses and Aaron.
Verse 28: And
entering in unto her, into her house, into her room, the angel said, “Hail, thou
that art highly favored, the Lord is
with thee”. “Hail”, is
literally “rejoice!” and as a greeting, it means, all
health, happiness, and prosperity attend thee; this can be found in Matthew
28:9, and is simply a joyous greeting.
“Thou that art
highly favored”, is from [a perfect, passive, participle of ] the Greek word
“charitoO”, and means endowed with grace or enriched with grace.
It does not mean full of grace, as some may say.
[Ephesians 1:6] “Wherin He
has made us accepted,” is the same word.
Literally, it says, “To
the praise of the glory of his grace, which graces us in
“Hail! Thou that
are endowed with grace, the Lord is with you.”
The Lord is with you. In
Judges 6:12, that’s what the angel said to Gideon.
And the angel of the LORD appeared unto him, and said unto him,
The LORD is with thee, thou mighty man of
valor. And in Ruth 2:4, Boaz used
the phrase with the reapers: “And,
behold, Boaz came from Bethlehem, and said unto the reapers, The LORD be
with you. And they answered him, The LORD bless thee.”
If the Lord is with you, who can be against you?
Many will be against you, but none will prevail.
“Blessed art thou among women”, isn’t in the oldest and best manuscripts
here, but it is down in verse 42. And,
we’ll find later in 11:27 that she’s pronounced as blessed among women by
another woman. You can cross it out
in your Bibles, or you can leave it there.
The Holy Spirit didn’t put there originally, but it doesn’t detract
from the passage.
“And when she saw
him”, or literally, when she perceived it, “she was troubled at his
saying”; she was agitated, “and cast in her mind
what manner of salutation this should be.”
“Cast in her mind”, is a common
verb for reckoning up different reasons. She was both upset and puzzled.
She might be wondering if she were seeing things, or perhaps she thought
she was having a dream. (Although,
it’s interesting that God comes in dreams quite often, even sending the
messenger to Joseph in a dream.) She
may have been wondering if this were truly a messenger from God.
Why would she have been upset and puzzled?
“What manner of salutation this should be.”
It was not usual with the Jews for a man to use any salutation to a
woman; with them it was not lawful to be done in any shape or form; not by a
messenger; not even by her own husband. So
Mary might well have good reason to be thrown into some concern of what should
be the meaning of this; and especially, that she should be addressed in such
language, and saluted as a favorite of God. This
was just not typical behavior, and I would venture to say that dealing with an
angel just wasn’t all that common, either.
[Luke 1:30] “And
the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favor with God.”
Remember, back in verse 13, the angel perceived that Zechariah was
troubled and had to calm him down a little.
Here, the angel perceives that Mary is troubled, with everything that is
going through her mind, and so he says, “Fear not”.
“Fear not, Mary.” He
calls her by name. Those who are
righteous are known to angels by name.
Why does he tell her not to fear?
Because she has found favor with God.
She’s found grace with God.
the same root as “chairO” which means rejoice and “charitoO”, which we
looked at just a moment ago. The
expression, “To find favor” is a common OT phrase.
The root is very ancient and a very common word with a variety of applied
Primarily, it means, “that which gives joy or pleasure”, and
hence it often is talking about outward beauty, loveliness, or something that
delights the beholder.
All of these
meanings come from the notion of sweetness, charm, loveliness, joy, and delight,
like words of grace (Luke 4:22), growing grace (Ephesians 4:29), with grace
(Colossians 4:6). The notion of kindness is in it also, especially of God
towards men. In
Acts 20:24, we read about the Gospel of the grace of God in contrast with law or
works (John 1:16).
Homer, of Ulysses
going to the assembly: “Athene shed down manly grace or beauty upon
him” (Odyssey, ii, 12); and the Septuagint, in Psalms 45:2 says, “Thou
art fairer than the children of men: grace is poured into thy lips: therefore
God hath blessed thee for ever.”
This word “grace” can also be found in Proverbs 1:9 and 3:22.
The same idea is conveyed in Luke 4:22, which says, “they wondered at
the gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth”, literally, the words of
grace, which were uttered by Jesus. Also, in Ephesians 4:29, which says,
“Let no corrupt
communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of
edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.”
Grace can be used
as a sentiment of kindness, favor or goodwill expressed toward another.
You can find this in 2 Corinthians 8:6,7, and 9, and in 9:8.
You can also find it in Luke 1:30, 2:40 and 2:47.
Also, it’s used for thankfulness, as in Luke 6:32,33, and 34, as well
as 17:9, but it’s especially used in the sentiment of thanks to God, as it is
in Romans 6:17, 1 Corinthians 15:57, 2 Corinthians 2:14 and 2 Timothy 1:3.
Christian significance of the word is based on the emphasis of freeness in the
gift or favor (particularly in the NT, denoting the free, absolute, and loving
kindness of God toward men), is sharply contrasted with debt, law, works and
sin. Interestingly, the word does
not occur in the books of Matthew and Mark.
behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call
his name JESUS.” “Thou shalt
conceive” is the same verb used with Elizabeth, but adding “in thy womb”
to it. Isaiah 7:14 tells us, “Therefore
the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and
bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.”
The angel is telling
Mary that she’s going to conceive in her womb, a virgin womb; that in itself
is a miracle that was understood even then.
The angel is telling Mary that she’s going to give birth to the
Messiah. She’s going to bring
forth a son and she’s to call his name Jesus.
the same thing that Joseph is told in Matthew 1:21, except there, the angel
adds, “for he shall save his people from their sins.”
Mary apparently didn’t need that additional explanation.
The angel told her that she’s going to conceive in her virgin womb and
bring forth a son; she knows that he will save his people
from their sins.
It’s interesting that the exact same word is used in
Matthew 1:21 as it is here in Luke 1:31. In
both cases, the person to whom the angel is speaking, simply tells them they
that they “shall call” his name Jesus. Although we know that Joseph had a choice, the angel knew the
outcome of that choice. In Matthew,
the angel basically committed Joseph to the office of a father.
The name Jesus is the Greek form of a Hebrew name, which
had been the names of two notorious individuals in Jewish history.
One was Joshua, the successor of Moses, and the other was Jeshua, the
high-priest who worked with Zerubbabel in the re-establishment of the civil and
religious political body of the Jews when they returned from Babylon.
The original form of the name is Jehoshua, and was
contracted to Joshua or Jeshua. Joshua,
the son of Nun, who was the successor of Moses, was originally name Hoshea,
which means “saving”, but was altered by Moses into Jehoshua, which means
“Jehovah, our Salvation”. (Numbers
13:16) The meaning of the name is
quite appropriate when expressed as the title “Savior”, which is
appropriately applied to our Lord. (Luke
1:47; Luke 2:11; John 4:42)
Joshua, the son of Nun, is a type of Christ in his office
of captain and deliverer of his people, in the military aspect of his saving
work, just as Jesus is presented in Revelation 19:11-16.
Just as God’s revelation to Moses was in the character of a lawgiver,
his revelation to Joshua was in that of the Lord of Hosts, in Joshua 5:13,14.
Under Joshua, the enemies of Israel were conquered and the Israelites
were established in the land flowing with milk and honey.
So Jesus leads his people in the fight with sin and temptation.
Jesus is the leader of the faith that overcomes the world, and if we
follow Him, we will enter into rest.
The priestly office of Jesus is foreshadowed in the high
priest Jeshua, who appears in the vision of Zechariah in court before God, under
accusation of Satan, and clad in filthy garments.
Jeshua stands not only for himself, but also as the representative of
sinning and suffering Israel. Satan
is defeated. The Lord rebukes him, and declares that he will redeem and
restore this erring people; and in token thereof he commands that the accused
priest be clad in clean robes and crowned with a priestly mitre.
(Zechariah 3:1-10, compare to Ezra 2:2)
So, in Jeshua,
we have a type of our “Great High Priest”, who knows our infirmities and in
all points was tested as we are. He
confronted Satan in the wilderness. His
royal robes were left behind. He
counts not “equality with God a thing to be grasped at”, but took the form
of a servant and humbled himself and was obedient even unto death.
(Philippians 2:6,7) He who
knew no sin was made to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the
righteousness of God in him. (2
Corinthians 5:21) He is both a
priest and a victim. He pleads for
sinful man before God’s throne. He
will redeem man. He will rebuke
Satan and cast him down. He will
raise and save and purify men of weak natures, rebellious wills, and furious
passions. He will take deniers like Peter and persecutors like Saul of
Tarsus and make them witnesses of his grace and preachers of his love and power.
His Kingdom shall be a kingdom of Priests.
The song of his redeemed church shall be, “Unto him that loveth us, and
loosed us from our sins by his own blood, and made us to be a kingdom, to be
priests unto his God and Father; to him be the glory and the dominion forever
and ever. Amen.”
“And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and
bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS.” Jesus. Our
savior and our great high priest. He’s
prophet, priest and king. Verse 32:
“He shall be great.” No
ifs, ands, or buts there. “He
shall be great, and shall be called Son of the Most High.”
It doesn’t actually say the Son
of the Most High here, although we already know the ending and know that He is the
Son. There is no definite article
in the Greek in this verse. However,
down in verse 35, we do see that He is he is the Holy Son of God.
[Luke 6:35] We too can be
sons of God.
Not just children of God. The Greek
word τέκνον/teknon (child) is often used
interchangeably with the Greek word υιου/huios (son), but is
never applied to Jesus. While in teknon is implied dependence upon the relationship
with the parents, huios focuses on the person himself. It suggests individuality instead of descent, but if used for
descent, brings out the fact that the descendent was worthy of the parent.
In Luke 1, we see that Jesus is worthy to be called son, and in Luke 6,
we see that we can also be worthy, based upon our obedience.
word huios marks the son-like relation as carrying with it privileges,
dignity and freedom. Therefore, it
is the only term that is appropriate to describe Jesus’ sonship.
A verse we’re all familiar with says, “For God so loved the world
that He gave His only begotten son (huios) that whosever is believing in Him may
not perish, but have age-lasting life.” [Romans
whoever are being led by God's
spirit, these are sons of God.] Through Christ, the
dignity of sons is bestowed upon mature believers, those who are obedient, so
that the same word is appropriate: Sons
of God; mature children. I pray
that we all strive to be mature. We’re
to be Christ-like, and that’s what it means to be a Christian.