Proof and Confirmation
Have you ever gotten startling news that seemed too good and too bad to be true? That’s exactly what happened to Mary when the angel Gabriel announced that she was going to have a baby. There was wonder in it, as it was impossible because she was a virgin. But I imagine Mary also felt joy at some point, since a new life was coming into the world. The fact that she was chosen to bear and raise the Son of God must have come with fear and trembling. And then there was Joseph, the man to whom she had been promised. How would he take the news?
Once the angel left, did Mary think, or perhaps hope, what she experienced was just a dream? I would love to know what was going on in her head as she made the long journey to visit her cousin Elizabeth. It was so early in her pregnancy, she probably didn’t have any signs or symptoms. Could the Son of God really be growing within her? How could she know for sure?
Now you might be thinking that an angelic visit should be enough to convince Mary that she had conceived a child through the Holy Spirit. But God chose to give her proof that it was so. Luke 1:34-37 recounts part of her encounter with Gabriel:
"How will this be," Mary asked the angel, "since I am a virgin?" 35 The angel answered, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. 36 Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be barren is in her sixth month. 37 For nothing is impossible with God." (NIV)
That passage may be familiar, but look again at v.36. How could Mary wrap her head around what she’d been told? How could she even begin to process or believe it? God gave her a sign. Another impossible conception. Her aged and barren cousin, Elizabeth, was two-thirds the way through her pregnancy. Mary rushed to see her and when she arrived, she received confirmation of what the angel told her. Luke 1:41-45:
When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. 42 In a loud voice she exclaimed: "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! 43 But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44 As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. 45 Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished!" (NIV)
I wonder if during her pregnancy, Mary heard another piece of evidence that proved what was happening to her. One that was pronounced by God seven hundred years earlier. It’s found in Isaiah 7:14:
Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. (ESV)
God promised to send His Son, the Messiah, Who would save His people from their sin. He announced the virgin birth nearly a century before it came to be. When the angel visited Mary, he gave her proof and confirmation that what he said was true. What more could we possibly need to believe that Jesus, whose birth we’re getting ready to celebrate, is the long awaited Savior our Heavenly Father promised?
Just something that confirms what I already know to be true along the way.