What would your response be if an angel appeared before you and began to speak?

There are two encounters with angels in the first chapter of Luke’s gospel. Both Zechariah, the father of John the Baptist, and Mary, the mother of Jesus, are surprised to encounter angels. Both are in the middle of ordinary days. Both are startled and reassured by the angel Gabriel not to be afraid. Both respond with questions. However, the manner of their response made all the difference.

Zechariah’s response to the angel Gabriel, just months prior, was also a question, but with a different undertone. Zechariah’s question doesn’t come from a place of curiosity of how but from a lack of faith. “How can I be sure this will happen?” (Luke 1:18). The declaration the angel makes to Zechariah is also a miracle — to father a child in his old age — but Zechariah doesn’t take the angel’s word for it. Zechariah wants proof.

In contrast, Mary doesn’t doubt that it would happen. Instead, she is curious as to how she can become pregnant, considering she is a virgin. The angel explains that the child’s father will be God Himself. Thus He will be called the Son of God.

Mary responds with humble, thankful faith. She proclaims, “I am the Lord’s servant… May it be to me as you have said.”

Mary doesn’t doubt God’s message as to what He will do in her life. She trusts.

How about you?

Father God, thank you for sending Jesus, the Son of God to save us from our sins. Thank you that Mary received the reassurance to not be afraid and responded in faith, believing the promise of the angel. Lord, may I likewise respond in faith to Your promises and believe what you say. Amen.

Go Deeper — Read through the gospels and look for Mary’s responses throughout Jesus’ life and death. “But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.” (Luke 2:19)

Tags: Nativity Luke 1
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