From Luke 1:39-55, we learn some important lessons on communication. The reaction or effect a piece of communication generates depends on how the information given through that communication is processed.
Mary was a virgin and pregnancy or childbirth should, therefore, be good news, but to her, it should be through her would-be husband. The response to her enquiry about her status as a virgin and childbirth should, therefore, have been that, the Lord will bless her marriage to Joseph with the fruit of the womb.
She had heard of the wonders of the God of her forefathers, but pregnancy by the Holy Spirit was unprecedented. What would be the natural reaction to such a sweet and sour message?
“What would people say about me”? My family name, the community, should I pre-empt them by sharing the angel’s message? or perhaps find an excuse to travel abroad… what about Joseph, will I lose him… will his parents allow him to marry me afterwards? Many follow-up questions to Angel Gabriel would have been in order!
Should I trick Joseph into bed?
How did Mary react?
Contrary to ordinary human behaviour, Mary, in total belief in the Word of God and chilrespondrust founded on her fore-knowledge of God, responds positively to an otherwise scary message!
To Angel Gabriel - Instead of further questions to clarify the strange message, she affirms it!!! “I am the Lord’s servant… be it unto me according to your word” (Luke1:38). She knew of the great wonders of God from her forefathers, Sarah and Hannah who both bore “wonder children”, but both were through the biological means even though they were children promised and given by God (Genesis 17:15-16, 18:10-15; 1 Samuel 1).
Yet, Mary was confident that, the Lord’s mercy towards those who fear Him abounds, therefore, His intention was to bless and honour her (Luke 1:48-50) even though the circumstances point to shame and pain.
To Elizabeth – Joy, gratitude and confidence in a faithful and just God!!! She underscores her heartfelt gratitude and deep-seated belief in the song of praise known as the MAGNIFICAT (Luke 1: 46-55)
Hurried off to a confidante to share the news, not from a confused and anxious posture, but from one of gratitude and strong belief that God meant well (precludes grounds for negativity from the other side – no “pity party”)
Elizabeth (also in the process to bear a “wonder child” but through the biological means), being truly godly affirms the Angel Gabriel’s message by saying “… blessed are you among women and blessed is the child you will bear!” (Luke 1:42)... adding on to the confusion, but perhaps giving Mary some comfort that, at least one person in her family will be on her side.
Elizabeth then clarifies her greeting by saying “blessed is she who has believed that the Lord will fulfil His promises to her!” (Luke 1:45).
This response certainly gave comfort, inspiration and assurance to Mary. Her spontaneous response in the song of praise she sung is therefore not surprising… she had received a further boost in her belief in God’s promise and her affirmation of it.
LESSONS FROM MARY’S REACTION
We must have a humble approach to receiving the Word of God. We must have confidence in the Word of God concerning us even if it does not make meaning logically.
The plan and purpose of God for His children are for good (Jer. 29:11) and will take us to the expected end even if the process is not in line with our expectation). We must be well-grounded in the knowledge of His word to succeed in demonstrating humility and confidence towards His word.
We must sing praises and give thanks to God in all circumstances. In all things, we must joyfully raise our song of praise to the Lord no matter our current circumstances, and with a humble heart and child-like trust, say as Mary did that, “Lord, let it be unto me according to your Word”.