The Conception of the Christ
I still remember the joy I felt when my wife Ranae told me that she was pregnant with our first child. We enjoyed sharing the news. However, not all pregnancies are as joyous as ours. Some are the result of fornication and serve as a reminder of sin. I can think of one pregnancy that had the appearance of illegitimacy but was righteous in reality. As important as our first pregnancy was, it pales in comparison to the significance of the miraculous conception that occurred over 2000 years ago within a woman by the name of Mary!

How did Mary take the news of her pregnancy? Let us consider what Luke 1:26-38 records on the matter, and as we do, imagine what it would have been like to be Mary; how would you have responded to this news? "...the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin's name was Mary. And having come in, the angel said to her, 'Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!' But when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and considered what manner of greeting this was. Then the angel said to her, 'Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name JESUS. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.' Then Mary said to the angel, 'How can this be, since I do not know a man?' And the angel answered and said to her, 'The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God. Now indeed, Elizabeth your relative has also conceived a son in her old age; and this is now the sixth month for her who was called barren. For with God nothing will be impossible.' Then Mary said, 'Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.' And the angel departed from her."

The angel Gabriel honored the virgin Mary with his greeting and told her that she had "found favor with God." She would become the mother of the prophesied Messiah! His name would be Jesus, meaning Savior, and He would be great! He would rule on the throne of David forever in a spiritual sense, not physically (cf. Rev. 11:15; Heb. 1:8; Dan. 2:44).

Mary was puzzled about the conception since she knew she was a virgin (and certainly others would be puzzled also--thinking the worst of her, no doubt). Her question in Luke 1:34 indicated a sense of surprise, not unbelief. Unlike Zacharias, she did not ask for a sign (cf. Luke 1:18). This young maiden, among her daily duties, showed a more ready faith in receiving a far more startling message than the elderly priest did in the Holy Place of the temple in an atmosphere of sacred incense!

Christ would have a human mother, but God would be His Father. The "power" of God (not some physical manifestation) would overshadow Mary and result in the conception of Jesus (there is nothing sensuous or crude involved in this event).

Gabriel concluded by stating - "For with God nothing will be impossible" (Luke 1:37). God's message is always true--no matter how contrary to natural law or to the reasoning of men it might seem. Gabriel told Mary of Elizabeth's pregnancy to encourage her faith and lead her to trust in Him with whom all things are possible.

Mary indicated her submissive spirit and great faith in that she not only believed the promise but also prayed for its fulfillment! This is quite fitting for the mother of Him who said - "Not my will, but Yours, be done" (Luke 22:42). Friends, is your faith strong like hers was? Do you have a spirit that is submissive to the Lord's will no matter what direction it may take your life?