God said to Mary:

Posted on December 16, 2013 · Posted in Godward Orientation

You have found favor with God.

    You will become pregnant and give birth to a Son.
    You will name him Jesus.
    He will be great and ascend to the throne of David.

Mary then asks the obvious question – how can this happen since I am a virgin?  Her question is not one of doubt, but of one of facilitation. She accepted the angel at his word.  She is simply asking how it will happen, because she has no husband and is a virgin. Her response is of a totally different sort than Zechariah’s when he was told of that he would become a father.  Like Mary, Zechariah was troubled and shaken by the sudden appearance of the angel of God.  Like Mary, Zechariah was told of a wonderful birth, a birth that he and his wife had longed for. He was to have a son!  Yet he responded with doubt.  He challenged the angel and asked how can I be sure of this? So, even though he knew the Scriptures, knew of the power of God to grant birth to those who were past the age of childbearing, he doubted and demanded proof so he could believe.  He did not respond in faith.  Sadly, Zechariah’s response was much like our own   – we are not certain of what we do not see.

But Mary simply asked how this would happen.  The angel then revealed news even more stunning news. Mary was told that she would become pregnant by the Spirit of God! There would be no human father for this boy.

Mary was confronted with an even more amazing scenario than Zechariah was.  She would give birth as a virgin.  The angel then said what was obvious to him, but elusive for us – nothing is impossible with God. 

Mary said to God: 

“I am the Lord’s servant, may it be to me as you have said.”

Mary trusted in what she did not see.  She took God at his word. She did not ask how can I be sure?  She simply says may it be to me as you have said.  There can be no doubt that Mary was aware of the disgrace this pregnancy would bring to her. It would surely mean giving up her marriage to Joseph for he would know that he was not the father of the child within her. Her betrothal would end not in the joyous celebration of marriage, but in disgrace and shame. She would become an outcast to the community of which she was a part.  Yet, she viewed herself as the Lord’s servant. What he asked, she would embrace. 

Parents, it should be encouraging to you that this young woman responded in faith.  This faith can reside in your children as well.  I can hear the response – nice idea, but you don’t know my children, that kind of response could never happen with them.  I only ask that you remember the angel’s words – nothing is impossible with God.  Perhaps we don’t expect faith in our children because we doubt. Perhaps we ask how can I be sure? instead of saying may it be to me.  Before we expect a response of faith in our children, we must live in faith ourselves.

Jay Younts
Jay Younts is the Shepherd Press blogger. He is the author of Everyday Talk and other materials on parenting. He has been teaching and speaking on parenting issues for 30 years. Jay and his wife, Ruth, live in Fountain Inn, South Carolina. He serves as a ruling elder at Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Moore, South Carolina. He and Ruth have five adult children.