In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary.
Two thousand years ago, a young girl had a divine encounter that changed the course of human history. God had not directly spoken to his people in over 400 years. But at this moment in time, when her cousin was six months pregnant, an angel appeared to Mary.
Mary, which means exalted, was from a small town that bordered Gentile territory. It was nothing special with no reputation for learning or for producing any important people. She was a virgin (she had not yet had sexual relations) but she was engaged to a man named Joseph. In Mary’s day, engagement was taken very seriously. It was legal and binding and could only be dissolved through divorce. In other words, Mary was considered officially married even though she and Joseph were not yet living together. That would happen after the marriage, one year later. And she was probably between 12 and 16 years as girls were typically married at that age.
Mary and Joseph were both descendants of King David. In Hebrew terms, this meant they were equal royalty, but in the current day, they were but common peasants. Their lineage had lost its significance because of all the years of captivity and foreign domination. Mary was not a princess, she was a poor peasant. She was a young, unmarried female.
In a time period in which a woman’s value was determined by who her father was, who her husband was and how many sons she had, Mary was a nobody in the eyes of her world. An ordinary little girl.
And yet Mary was the fulfillment of a prophecy from Isaiah 7:14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel. God knew her, saw her and sent his angel to commission her.
How about you? What are your credentials? Where do you come from? What makes you unique?
Don’t let your location, small town, race, gender, financial status, family background, lack of education, or marital status or anything else cause you to feel disqualified to be called or used of God.
Lord, thank you that you used a lowly peasant girl. Thank you that my credentials do not disqualify me from encountering you and being used by you. I trust that you will be faithful to fulfill your Word through me.
Next: Angelic Greeting
For an edited (and much better written) version of this, please purchase Favored Blessed Pierced: A Fresh Look at Mary of Nazareth, available on Amazon.