While most historians say Mary was no younger than 12 or older than 17 when she gave birth to Jesus Christ, the common thought was that she was 14 years old. One day this 14 year old girl was visited by the Angel Gabriel, one of the 3 archangels, the highest and most powerful of the angel realm. Michael and Lucifer were the other two. Michael, the warrior angel, Gabriel the Messenger Angel appear from time to time in scripture. Lucifer was the other archangel but we know him as Satan, the devil, for he rebelled against God and now was the enemy of God and all mankind. On this day Gabriel was sent from God to announce the coming of Jesus Christ who would defeat Satan and make a way for mankind to come back to God. It was a day longed for since the time Adam and Eve sinned and forfeited eternal life. A promise was given to the devil that the seed of a woman “shall bruise thy head, and thou shall bruise his heel”. That seed was Jesus Christ and that woman was Mary. Isaiah the prophet spoke of this day when he said, “Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Emmanuel”. This was the child to be born and the son that would be given spoken about in Isaiah 9:6,7. And what a son he shall be, the government would be upon his shoulders and he would “be called, Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. He would king of an eternal Kingdom. This would be no ordinary child nor would it be an ordinary birth.
I do not think Mary woke up that morning expecting the Angel Gabriel to appear. For sure, she had no inkling that she was to become the mother of the Son of God. Out of all the women who have ever lived, she would be the one that would give birth to the Saviour of Mankind. To be told “that she was highly favored of the Lord” was the beginning of this dialogue between Mary and Gabriel. That was enough to cause her to be in shock to begin with. As she stood there trembling, the Angel told her to “Fear not….” And the reason being that again, “thou has found favor with God”.
Without waiting for her response, Gabriel begins to tell her that she is going to become pregnant, it will be a boy, his name is Jesus, he shall be great, called the Son of the Highest and the Lord God shall give him the throne of David and he shall reign forever over a kingdom that shall never end. Now remember, she was engaged to a man named Joseph and he was not involved with this conversation. Not only that, he was not going to be the one that would be the father of this child. This was first an encounter between Mary and Gabriel, initiated by God.
The greatest struggle man has with God seems to be to believe Him. Just to completely believe Him to do what He said He would do, to be true to His promises, to be faithful to His word. The first thing God looks for to be able to act on our behalf is faith. Before He tells us what our role is in co-laboring with Him, He wants to know if we are convinced that it can be done because He said He wanted it to happen. God yearns to be trusted, to be believed in. He wants to be Himself, the Mighty Miracle Working God. His personality is miracles, it is His lifestyle so to speak. The birth of His son, the way It happened models the principle of true faith that allows Him to act and perform a miracle, the miracle of miracles, a virgin has a child.
Mary, the 14 year old virgin will remain a virgin and still have the child. That has never happened and it did not happen again. There was a first time for this miracle and there is to be a first time for many, many miracles that defy the natural order and birth the supernatural one. Virgins do not have children. Women do not have children without the help of a man who impregnates her. Joseph was the man but no man can birth the Son of God. God must be the Father. Mary’s response was not one of unbelief. It was just a recognition of the fact that she a woman was being told that she would become pregnant with the son of God, so she asked a logical question.
“How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?”
She had already concluded that this was not going to involve Joseph, she just wanted to know how this was going to happen. She was not doubting, she just wanted some information. She was not denying that she would be the mother, she was just wanting to know the rest of the story. The answer of Gabriel is the foundational understanding we must come into agreement with when seeing the fulfillment of a promise given to us by God.
“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.”
Now this is an amazing statement. The Holy Ghost is coming upon thee, the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee……not a man, not a method, but the Holy Spirit would do something to make this come to pass. We do not know how that happened, exactly what took place when it happened, what it felt like and what it would look like. Mary was given no clue as to any of this, just that the Holy Spirit would come upon her. I wonder how much teaching she had heard about the Holy Spirit or His work among men. I do not think there was any outpouring of God going on in those days or much of the supernatural. Yet somehow she was able to hear all of this.
The Angel Gabriel was not finished yet.
“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. For with God nothing shall be impossible”.
This is turning into quite a day. A virgin is told she will have the son of God and by the Holy Ghost no less and maybe to encourage her faith, she finds out that her cousin who was in her old age and barren nonetheless is 6 months pregnant and her child would be John the Baptist, who Jesus called the greatest prophet who ever lived!! The main lesson of both of these pregnancies is;
“For with God nothing shall be impossible”
No freshly spoken word from God can come to anyone without having within it the abilily to bring it to pass. A virgin has the Messiah, an elderly barren woman has the greatest prophet, impossible deeds performed by God. Barren women cannot open their own wombs, no man can either. Virgins cannot have children without a man and a virgin cannot have a child. These are impossible things. God is trying right here to lay a foundation in our relationship with Him of 100% trust in Him when He declares something when it is impossible in the natural. These are the ways of God.
The response of Mary should be our response;
“Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the Angel departed from her”.
A full embracing and taking personal ownership through her faith of what the Angel said. No doubt. You say I will have the Messiah, you told me how, the Holy Spirit coming upon me, my barren cousin now 6 months pregnant, I believe. Let it be unto me as you have said, I am your servant, I believe. If a virgin can believe to have a baby without a man and that baby be the most incredible and important person in all of history, then we should be able to believe what God says to us. Why” For with God, NOTHING shall be impossible. Absolutely nothing.
The first thing we must do is to say , “Be it unto me according to thy word”. Settle it once and for all that what God promised is yea and amen to them that believe. Remember, the blood of Jesus Christ purchased every promise the Father has ever given to mankind and to honor Him and love Him is to believe Him. Unbelief is partnering with a demon spirit. God will never promise us what we can do, achieve, fulfill in our own strength. Not by anything within us of ourselves, or any effort from ourselves we exert, but by His Spirit saith the Lord, mountains shall be removed. That is why the Angel talked about the Holy Ghost. There must be that deep awareness of the Holy Spirit, a childlike faith in the ability of another, the Spirit of God, a deep dependence and reliance upon being overshadowed by God, God coming upon us and situations to bring the promise to pass.
And what about Joseph? Well, when Mary told him, I imagine it was something he could not even fathom. In Matthew 1:18, it is obvious that she had told her husband to be that she was with child of the Holy Ghost. Who I could imagine Joseph thinking. The Holy Ghost? God was the father of his pregnant wife’s child. Do you think anyone in Israel would ever believe such a thing. Even with some scripture in Isaiah, not a chance. It is interesting he was not interested in his own reputation but the reputation of Mary, because she would be pregnant and everyone would think she sinned. And if they got married, still it would look like she was pregnant before. What about the fact that God’s own son would be born this way, He would let his own son look illegitimate and He planned it that way. It did not bother Him at all, to take an unmarried 14 year old virgin and make her the mother of His own son.
When Mary totally believed this amazing promise, God was then free to bring things into alignment so the promise could come to pass and be preserved. He does watch over His word to perform it and as we believe His power is moving to make sure things happen and also do not happen so the promise comes to pass. In this case, he sent an angel to speak to Joseph in a dream and told him it was all true, go ahead and marry Mary and then told Joseph the name of the child and that he will save his people from their sins and he would be prophecy fulfilled. Now it was Josephs time to believe and he did so, waking up from his sleep and married Mary and had no relations with her until after Jesus was born.
As one believes the promise, ministers faith to God from a heart conviction and also daily releases faith in speech to all around to others, God is working to bring the promise to pass. This is clearly seen when Mary comes to visit Elisabeth when Elisabeth is 6 months pregnant. After John the Baptist leaps in the womb, Elisabeth gets filled with the Holy Ghost and starts blessing Mary and also calling her the mother of her Lord. Then she says the most astounding thing;
“And blessed is she that believed: for there shall be a performance of
Those things which were told her from the Lord”.
“There shall be a performance. Of what. Those things told to her by the Lord. On what grounds? Because she believed! By whom God.
The word performance is a rich word in the greek. It means to carry through until something is completed. To bring to the goal proposed and wanting nothing necessary to complete it. It means consummation and perfection. To accomplish. It means the event which verifies the promise. God will do the performing. He will accomplish what He promised to do. Everything that is needed to complete the promise will be arranged and the event that verifies the promise will take place. Elisabeth under the anointing of the Holy Spirit declares the most incredible truth. BECAUSE she believed what God said, God will be able to perform what He said. Faith released Him to carry out His promise. She was not to perform, she was to believe. God will perform what He says not us perfrom what He said. Faith comes as a result of intimacy with God. It is a person saying something, that person being God and we need to be close enough to know it is Him. This is all about relationship, not about principles you and I do to accomplish a promise. First there must be faith. Convinced He promised something, we then embrace and believe the promise and express that belief to Him, it must be from the heart. The word performance is to set out for a definite goal, which is what He intended, what He purposed, namely the birth of the Son of God. That was the goal. Mary came into agreement with that goal and her role in that goal and believed it. When Mary believed God moved on Joseph and was involved throughout the life of Jesus Christ to make sure he was able to fulfill the goal saving mankind from their sins.
Every word of God, every promise is like one partner in a relationship finding the other partner and being fulfilled. The promise coming to pass is the other partner. There is a scripture in Isaiah that talks about this
“Seek ye out of the book of the LORD, and read: no one of these shall fail, none shall want her mate: for my mouth it hath commanded, and his spirit it hath gathered them”.
The phrase, “none shall want her mate” is the thought. When you look up the Hebrew word for mate, it can be either male or female, so the man will find his partner, his wife, and the wife will find her partner, her husband. It means the word of God, what God says will have a mate, that mate is the fulfillment of the promise. A promise is married to the fulfillment of that promise. And “no one of these shall fail”. Every promise will not come short or lack or fail but will come to pass and that will happen because someone believes. Everything we receive is an exceeding great and precious promise paid for by blood. For God to promise us anything, it cost Him the blood of His son. That is why unbelief is sin, the worst of sins. We can never take lightly the promises of God to our lives. Like Mary we should not even entertain a reason why God cannot do the most amazing and incredible thing in our lives, even if it has never happened in history. It insults God, it grieves God to set limits upon just what He can do. The children of God grieved him it says in Psalms and why was that? Well, the word grieve means to set limits, to scrape in pieces. When someone wants to deeply bless you, it hurts him to be tied up in a strait jacket through our unbelief. He can furnish a table in the wilderness, He can do anything, He is full of creativity and has no lack of venues to perform his heart’s desire and satisfy ours and it is faith that releases and empowers Him to do so. He upholds all things by the word of His power it says in Hebrews and if you and I can just believe, have that settled confident trust in Him alone, then He is entirely gratified. I am sure He was just ministered to by the faith of Mary. The bible is clear that “without faith it is impossible to please God” and rightly so, for with God nothing is impossible but we make it impossible through our unbelief. We carry the promise, the substance, the evidence, just as Mary carried the Messiah those 9 months.
There is always a stigma to believing. God is glorified in our believing and to love Him is to glorify Him and a primary way is to say, “Be it unto me according to thy word”. When the promise seems to not come right away we can always find encouragement in the testimony of Abraham and Sarah. There will always be the test of delay, the test of circumstances, the evidence of the promise becoming more and more impossible all around you to see if you will waver in your faith in what God has said.
This is another place where it talks about God being able to perform the promise.
“And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform.”
Here the word “perform” means simply to do, to carry out, to execute, to make. Abraham was completely convinced and assured that God will make full proof and carry through to the end what He promised which was that he and Sarah would have a son in their old age. He was able it says, and that we get our word dynamite from this word. Abraham believed that God had the power and the ability to do something. He was convinced that God was capable and was strong and mighty to do the promise. These verses are pregnant with insights to why Abraham was the Father of the Faithful.
Once again God gives an outrageous promise that only He can fulfill and waits 25 years to fulfill it. The keys to having faith that allows God to perform are seen in the life of Abraham and they are the same keys that allow us to see God perform His promises in our lives today.