We pick up when Elizabeth is six months pregnant and Gabriel has just arrived back on the scene. He has shown up in Galilee, in the city of Nazareth, to a young girl of about 15 (so says tradition), named Mary. Now Mary was a virgin who was engaged to be married to Joseph. The wedding plans were in the works and life was busy.
Gabriel appeared to Mary and said, “Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!” But when Mary saw him, she was “troubled.”
I’ve often wondered about Mary. There is not much description about her character except that God highly favored her and that out of all the women in Israel, God chose her to birth his Son. That is huge!
Maybe the word “troubled” gives us a clue. Most people in scripture reacted like Zacharias did when they met an angelic visitor; they were filled with fear. But not Mary. She is described as “troubled.” She was uneasy. Maybe her knees knocked and she trembled, but she didn’t turn white faced, fall down and faint from fear.
Now I’m just guessing here, but I think when most people meet an angel, they think, this is it. I’m going to die! Even if Mary had thought that, she clearly wasn’t overwhelmed with fear of dying. I think that Mary was more concerned with living life fully before God—whatever that cost. I think that she knew God, knew His character and she trusted Him with her life and with death. I think her attitude was something like: I’m all in with you God. It’s all yours… my life, my stuff, my future marriage. It’s all nothing compared to knowing you and doing life with you. She trusted God with everyday living and she trusted God with life (and death).
Then Gabriel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call his name Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest, and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.”
In other words, God is about to change the world and you, Mary, are going to be at the epicenter!