Getting the news that you’re pregnant can release a wide range of emotions.
If you’re a married couple that has been trying, perhaps with some difficulty, to start a family, then those words will unleash exuberant joy. The thing for which you’ve been praying and working is now at hand. Hallelujah!!! You’re pregnant!
If you’re a married couple that thought your days of raising children were behind you, but your intimacy has resulted in a surprise coming to your later years, then those words may come with some trepidation. Planning a baby shower in your forties pretty much says it all, doesn’t it? Surprise !!! You’re pregnant!
If you’re an unwed woman who discovers she is with child, there will be a lot of questions and fears. I know of no one who has deliberately decided to create an obligation likely to run two decades or more, especially given the enormous difficulties being an unwed mother faces in so many ways. Raising a child on your own is an overwhelming challenge at best, and can be a nightmare. Oops! You’re pregnant!
But if you’re a teenage girl from a nice Jewish family in ancient Nazareth, you’ve got a whole other set of problems.
And that brings us to today’s verse.
THE LORD HIMSELF WILL GIVE YOU A SIGN:
THE VIRGIN WILL CONCEIVE AND GIVE BIRTH TO A SON AND WILL CALL HIM IMMANUEL
Nazareth was a small village in Mary’s day. We know the living area of Nazareth was only about 30 acres, since the graves from the village mark the outskirts. Nazareth was no New York, Naples or Nairobi; it was tiny. A village that size would hold no more than 300-400 people. Only a few clans. In other words, everyone knew everyone else. Nazareth is famous for only one thing. If Jesus hadn’t been born there it would be like hundreds of other villages from that region whose name no one knows.
THE LORD HIMSELF WILL GIVE YOU A SIGN
Into this tiny, unknown village the angel Gabriel descends with news that will rock Mary’s world, then her family’s and finally ours.
When Gabriel appeared to Zechariah the priest, the mere appearance of the angel struck fear into his heart. For Mary, it was his calling her the favored one of God that troubled her; she couldn’t figure out what he meant by it. One thing’s for sure, no matter how much time she’d contemplated the meaning of the greeting she’d never have guessed it!
THE VIRGIN WILL CONCEIVE
When Gabriel laid out God’s plan for her to become pregnant with a child who would be called “the Son of the Most High” she was dumbfounded. Mary’s question to Gabriel let’s us know that she was old enough to be aware of the mechanics of the process. Mary’s response to Gabriel’s reply let’s us know that she was willing to sacrifice everything she had on the altar of obedience.
When Mary agreed to the Lord’s plan, everything she had of value was up for grabs. Mary didn’t know if her father and mother would believe her explanation, but she could be fairly certain that most of the village would not. Close behind her concerns for her parents would be questions about the man betrothed to become her husband. Naturally, he would have grave doubts. But they would be the only “natural” thing about this entire situation.
The next thing we know, Mary is arising with haste and heading into the hill country to a town in Judah. Luke doesn’t describe why she left so quickly. I’ve wondered if it was to get out of town before she needed to explain what was happening within her young body. That’s pure speculation, of course.
AND GIVE BIRTH TO A SON
When Mary arrives at the home of her relative Elizabeth, we learn of another miracle. Inexplicably, Elizabeth knows Mary is pregnant, she knows that the child to be born will become her Lord, and she knows that it was the word of the Lord spoken to her that was the cause of her condition. All this before Facebook! (Sorry, couldn’t resist.)
AND WILL CALL HIM IMMANUEL
We also learn that at some point between Gabriel’s greeting and Elizabeth’s, Mary has begun to come to grips with her situation. She says, “From now on all generations will call me blessed; for He who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is His name.”
She knows she’s a young, single girl who’s pregnant.
She knows that when she returns to Nazareth in a few months, that will be obvious.
She knows her father and mother will demand answers.
She knows her fiance could demand her death by stoning, or publicly divorce her.
But Mary also knows that God is faithful. She knows He is mighty. She has nothing else to hold onto but the promise of His faithfulness in the midst of a situation that could still go horribly wrong. Everything she held dear – her reputation, her family, her marriage and her future – they could all be gone as soon as her belly betrayed her condition to Nazareth. But she chose to trust that the Father would care for His only Son. so Mary declares “From now on all generations will call me blessed.”
It’s Matthew who let’s us in on Joseph’s dilemma as he wrestles with Mary’s condition. Stoning someone for this crime was actually rare, and Joseph had no intent to pursue that route. He was unwilling to increase her shame, so a public divorce in the center of the town was not in his plans either.
Either Mary hadn’t told Joseph about her angelic encounter or Joseph didn’t believe her. (Lay your halo aside for a moment, let’s not over-spiritualize this. If your daughter or fiancee was obviously pregnant – would YOU believe the explanation Mary had to offer?? I think not.)
Either way, it took another angelic visitation to set Joseph straight. But all that did was add Joseph into the mix; entering into this marriage would be viewed as a tacit admission of his own guilt.
Both Joseph and Mary embraced the call of God and ignored anything else.
Because God was involved, they were pregnant with destiny. The son to be born was a person of purpose. There could be no mistaking that.
Here’s something for you to consider. Because He was born, because He has invited you into His family – you TOO are a person of purpose. You, my friend, are pregnant.
You are pregnant with destiny. He has a plan for your life. He has gifts prepared for you, and has designed good works for you to walk in.
Congratulations. You’re pregnant!