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  • Chad Werkhoven

Luke 1:26-38 - Controversial Since Day 1

Jesus Christ has been controversial since the moment He was conceived.

Read / Listen

Read Luke 1:26-38

Listen to passage & devotional:


Heidelberg Catechism Q&A 35

Q. What does it mean that he

“was conceived by the Holy Spirit

and born of the virgin Mary”?

A. That the eternal Son of God,

who is and remains

true and eternal God,

took to himself,

through the working of the Holy Spirit,

from the flesh and blood of the virgin Mary,

a truly human nature

so that he might become David’s true descendant,

like his brothers in every way except for sin.



Imagine how terrified Mary, probably 11 or 12 years old here, felt when Gabriel, one of God's chief angels, appeared before her. Luke, who is somewhat known for his dry sense of humor in how he reported the facts in his gospel and the book of Acts, writes that Mary was 'greatly troubled' and that she 'wondered what kind of greeting this might be.' I'll bet she wondered!

My guess is that Gabriel's announcement that she was 'highly favored' and that the 'Lord is with you' didn't immediately take root in her mind. She was probably too flabbergasted for it to register.

But as if those opening announcements weren't shocking enough, the next thing Gabriel said would have pushed most people completely over the edge. Mary would bear a child - but not just an ordinary child - one who would be called 'the Son of the Most High.'

Somehow Mary is able to gather her wits at this point and push back on Gabriel a bit. Everything she'd been taught about the birds and the bees argued against what she was being told. She was a virgin, and this sort of thing doesn't happen to girls like her!

Gabriel's reply probably made sense to him, but imagine what it would be like for Mary to hear that she would become pregnant when the power of the Holy Spirit of the Most High would overshadowed her. I wonder, did those words comfort her or terrify her more?

But Gabriel still has one more shock for Mary. It turns out that barren old Aunt Elizabeth had been pregnant for six months now.

Dig Deeper

The doctrine of the virgin birth is one of the most doubted and disbelieved in all of Christian history. Some people have denied it because they deny all of the supernatural and miraculous claims the Bible makes, but others seem to be willing to accept many of the Bible's miracles, but draw the line at a virgin conceiving a child.

No doubt young Mary struggled with these doubts as well. Think of how she must of tossed and turned at night wondering who in the world would believe her story. It was even too much for Joseph, until Gabriel showed up to set him straight at least.

As we're going to see this week, the doctrine of the virgin birth is not just some Biblical oddity that you can take or leave. In fact, your entire salvation depends on this bizarre sounding account being true.

Mary's resolve seems to strengthen upon hearing the last thing Gabriel said to her:

For no word from God will ever fail (v37)

Look at how Mary aligns her life with God's will after hearing this. "I am the Lord's servant," she said. Make sure your life models Mary's faithfulness, even when God's will seems shocking or contrary to everything you thought you knew.

  • ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: Our Father, whose will often looks so different than what we expect.

  • ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Pray the words Mary prays upon hearing this shocking news: "May your word to me be fulfilled."



Read the New Testament in a year, a chapter a day - James 3

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