Jesus’ Birth Announced and Anticipated

Christians rejoice in the birth of Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God.

This lesson is all about events in the life of Mary, the mother of Jesus, before and during the early months of her pregnancy with Jesus. First was the announcement made to Mary by the angel Gabriel, that she would become pregnant with Jesus the Messiah, the son of God, but a miracle from God. After this, Mary traveled about 70 miles south to Judea, where she stayed approximately three months with her relative Elizabeth, who was pregnant with John the Baptist. Then, this lesson concludes with an examination of the Song of Mary (The Magnificat) which she prophesied, magnifying God after she had greeted Elizabeth, and was greeted by Elizabeth.


A. The Highly Favored

Luke 1:26  And in the sixth month (of Elizabeth’s pregnancy with John) the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth,

1:27  To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary.

1:28  And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured (endowed with special honor), the Lord is with thee: blessed (given special grace, praised) art thou among women.

1:29  And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be.

…….Many could think about this event taking place in Mary’s life as such a wonderful blessing it must have been to carry, birth and raise the Son of God. But for Mary, there would be challenging hurdles that she immediately prepared her mind for. Knowing the prophecies of what would have to be fulfilled in the life of the Messiah, her mind became troubled. With this in mind, God knew what He was doing, and He knew how and why He highly favored Mary above others.

B. The Divine Child

1:30  And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour (special honor, pleasure) with God.

…….Gabriel’s compliments and encouragement to Mary were to let her know that God looked at her and not only approved of her character, but found pleasure in watching her life. There aren’t many better feelings than having a plan during a challenging situation, and that plan having great success. Though the Lord knows what He has planned for our lives, just like Mary, it is up to us to set our minds forward in fulfilling those plans. In succeeding these plans, the Lord finds pleasure in us!

1:31  And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS.

1:32  He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David:

1:33  And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.

1:34  Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?

…….After the explanation of Gabriel, Mary had an honest question and concern; how would a virgin give birth to a child? I truly believe she was asking literal instruction of what was to come. Asking God how in an impossible situation is not doubting, but simply saying, I can’t see the answer but I know you have it Lord, so I’m seeking you…

1:35  And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.

1:36  And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren.

1:37  For with God nothing shall be impossible.

1:38  And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.

……. Mary was young, and she had conferred on her by God both favor and responsibility beyond her comprehension, but her complete submission to God‘s will speaks volumes about her faith, and about the depth of her relationship with God. She was spiritually prepared to receive God‘s favor, to become the mother of the Messiah, and to be called blessed among women. Her faith, and the depth of her relationship with God, challenges us to trust God, to continually seek a deeper relationship with God, and to be completely submissive to his will for our lives.


A. Mary and Elizabeth

1:39  And Mary arose in those days, and went into the hill country with haste, into a city of Juda;

1:40  And entered into the house of Zacharias, and saluted Elisabeth.

…….While Joseph and Mary were both of the tribe of Judah, Zacharias and Elizabeth were of the tribe of Levi and we do not know exactly what the family connection was between Mary and Elizabeth, but they were close, as shown by Mary’s remaining with her three months. At this point, both Elizabeth and Mary were pregnant, but neither had yet given birth to their expected sons. However, both were recipients of miracles from God although the miracle for Mary was far greater than that for Elizabeth.

B. Elizabeth’s Spirit-Inspired Words

1:41  And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost:

…….Throughout the Old Testament, prophesying was the normative evidence that a person was filled with the Holy Spirit. This reminds me of the times when people receive an “unction”from the Lord and begin to prophesy and testify. That unction is an inward filling of a word from the Lord. May we never neglect the times when the Spirit chooses to give a word to speak aloud!

1:42  And she spake out with a loud voice, and said, Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb.

1:43  And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?

…….Elizabeth is humbled and gives notice of her humility.

1:44  For, lo, as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in mine ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy.

1:45  And blessed is she that believed: for there shall be a performance of those things which were told her from the Lord.

…….Sometimes, all we need is a little bit of encouragement from someone that we can relate with. Elizabeth was mid stride in the experience of her miracle. She had been in Mary’s same situation and was now the encourager.


A. Mary’s Spirit-Inspired Words

…….While it is not directly stated here that Mary was filled with the Holy Spirit, the language of the angel of Gabriel, “the Holy Ghost shall come upon thee” (v. 35), and the fact that she prophesied, indicates that Mary was filled with the Holy Spirit! This in no way takes away from the significance of her being filled with the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost, when the spirit “had fully come”, and also being filled again with the Holy Spirit with the believers in Jerusalem (Acts 4:31).

1:46  And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord,

1:47  And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.

1:48  For he hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden: for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.

1:49  For he that is mighty hath done to me great things; and holy is his name.

1:50  And his mercy is on them that fear him from generation to generation.

…….Mary’s song is the longest set of words spoken by any woman in the New Testament. In reading her words, we need to keep in mind that she was prophesying, speaking words given to her by the Holy Spirit. Therefore, when she said, “behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed“, she was not engaging in self exaltation, but foretelling the future of her reputation, because God had regarded her “low estate” and done for her “great things“. What God did for Mary is proof that “His mercy is on them that fear Him from generation to generation“.

B. What God Has Done

1:51  He hath shewed strength with his arm; he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.

1:52  He hath put down the mighty from their seats, and exalted them of low degree.

1:53  He hath filled the hungry with good things; and the rich he hath sent empty away.

1:54  He hath holpen (taken hold of) his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy;

1:55  As he spake to our fathers, to Abraham, and to his seed for ever.

1:56  And Mary abode with her about three months, and returned to her own house.

…….While the first half of Mary song is about what God did for her, the second half is about what God has done continually. What God has done, as told in these verses of the song, can be found in numerous events told in the Old Testament. God has revealed his strength on behalf of the righteous by scattering the proud, putting down the mighty from their rulership, and exalting those who, in the eyes of the world are lowly (vv. 51-52). God has filled the hungry with good things, and He has sent the rich away empty (v. 53). God has helped his people (Israel) again and again, “in remembrance of His mercy“ (v. 54). God has fulfilled His promises, made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and their descendants (v. 55). Among these promises was God’s greatest promise, to send the Messiah, Jesus, to be the savior for all people.

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