Meditations on Luke
“In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.” Luke 1:26 – 28, NIV
After twenty-five verses, Luke finally introduces, Mary, the mother of Jesus. In these three verses, Luke is very specific and inserts many details. He does not want us to miss a thing.
The first detail Luke shares is that in Elizabeth’s sixth month of pregnancy God sends Gabriel to the town of Nazareth. The second piece we learn is that Gabriel is sent to a virgin who is pledged to be married. Third, the virgin’s betrothed is a man by the name of Joseph, who descends from the line of David.
Notice Luke does not reveal the woman’s name yet. All these other details take precedence before giving the virgin’s name. He wants us to first know with certainty the details surrounding John the Baptist’s conception as well as the time and location of Gabriel’s appearance. Of greater importance, he wants us to know without question, that Gabriel was sent to a virgin and the virgin’s fiancé descended from a specific lineage.
It is paramount that Luke establishes the woman is a virgin so to leave no doubt to Jesus’s divine conception. After all, it is a bedrock of the Christian faith that Jesus is both man and the Son of God. It is also important to showcase that Joseph, the virgin’s betrothed, is descended from the line of David. This is a critical detail because Jesus needed to descend from David’s line in order to fulfill prophecy and serve as the kinsmen redeemer for all humanity.
Historically in Jewish culture, a kinsman redeemer could redeem property, land, and items of debt, even close relatives. The kinsman redeemer has the right to restore and make whole. However, to qualify as a kinsmen redeemer, one must be a close blood relative, able to pay the price or purchase the debt, and willing to do so. As such, Jesus had to descend from David’s line and be clothed in human flesh to qualify as a close, blood relative. Likewise, Christ’s immaculate conception is equally pivotal because it clearly points to His deity as the Son of God. Thus, as the perfect Son of God clothed in human flesh and descended from the line of David, Jesus Christ is the only one able and willing to pay the price for the redemption of mankind.
Luke finishes the background details by revealing the virgin’s name, Mary. He now turns his focus on the good news Gabriel was sent to tell. “Greeting, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.” Not only is Gabriel issuing a greeting to Mary, but he is simultaneously pronouncing a blessing. Where in verse 25, Elizabeth is praising God for His favor, here, favor is being bestowed directly from God’s own personal messenger, Gabriel. Moreover, Mary learns she is not only favored by God but highly favored by Him. What an incredible humbling and awe-inspiring moment this must have been for her. How Mary must have treasured these words in her heart.
Gabriel’s words, “The Lord is with you,” brings a smile to my face. Why? These words are not only declared as a greeting of blessing, but they are also a foreshadowing of what Gabriel is about to share. This gets me so excited. Does anyone else see parallels between Gabriel’s words and the name of Christ, Emmanuel. The name Emmanuel means “God with us,” which closely corresponds with Gabriel’s greeting, “the Lord is with you.” And as many of us well know, the very purpose of Gabriel’s visit is to announce the coming of Emmanuel. Indulge my speculation. Might it even be possible that Gabriel was announcing that the Lord was literally and physically with Mary in her womb?
Whether or not Jesus was in Mary’s womb the moment Gabriel appeared, the awesome truth is that Christ is Emmanuel. He is God with us. The Son of God came down to earth, humbled Himself in human form, and willingly paid the price for our sins that we may be redeemed and restored back to Him. Because of His shed blood for us, God is with us in every moment of our lives. He is before us, behind us, beside us, all around us, and within us. Praise God! The Lord is with us.