Annunciation of the Birth of Jesus.
(at Nazareth, b.c. 5.)
C Luke I. 26–38.
c 26 Now in the sixth month [this is the passage
from which we learn that John was six months older than Jesus] the angel
Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth [Luke
alone tells us where Mary lived before the birth of Jesus. That Nazareth was an
unimportant town is shown by the fact that it is mentioned nowhere in the Old
Testament, nor in the Talmud, nor in Josephus, who mentions two hundred four
towns and cities of Galilee. The way in which Luke introduces Galilee and
Nazareth shows that he wrote to those unfamiliar with Palestine. Compare the
conversation at John i. 45, 46. Galilee
comprised the lands of Zebulun, Naphtali, Issachar and Asher. It was rich in
trees and pastures. Its people were hardy and warlike], 27 to a
virgin betrothed to a man [In the East, the betrothal or engagement was
entered into with much ceremony, and usually took place a year before the
marriage. It was so sacred that the parties entering into it could not be
separated save by a bill of divorcement—Matt.
i. 19] to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David
[that is, Joseph was of the house of David]; and the virgin's name
was Mary. [The same as Miriam—Ex. xv.
20.] 28 And he came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art
highly favored, the Lord is with
thee. 29 But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and cast in
her mind what manner of salutation this might be. [Whether it meant a
present sorrow or joy, for God's salutations all
mean joy, but
usually is in the distant future—Heb. xii.
11; II. Cor. iv. 17, 18.] 30 And the angel said unto her, Fear
not [the gospel is full of “Fear nots”; it teaches us that
perfect love which casts out fear—I. John
iv. 18], for thou hast found favour with God.
31 And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and
shalt call his name JESUS. [The same as Hoshea (
Num. xiii. 8), Joshua, and Jeshua (Zech.
iii. 1). It means the “salvation of Jehovah.” It was one
of the most common Jewish names, but was given to Jesus by divine direction
because of its fitness—Matt. i. 21
.] 32 He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Most High [A
common Hebrew way of saying “He shall be.” Even the evil spirits
called Jesus by this name—Mark v. 7
]: and the Lord God shall give unto him [he shall not receive his
kingdom as a bribe from Satan (Matt. iv. 9
), nor win it by force of arms (John xviii. 10,
11, 36; Matt. xxvi. 53), but as the gift of God—Acts ii. 32–36; Phil. ii. 9–11; Matt. xxviii.
18] the throne [see Ps. cxxxii.
11] of his father David [this must refer to Mary's descent
from David, for she is expressly told in verse
35 that her son would have no earthly father]: 33 and he
shall reign over the house of Jacob [That is, over the family or
descendants of Jacob; but the expression includes his spiritual, rather than
his carnal, descendants (Gal. iii. 7, 28,
29). This name therefore includes the Gentiles as the name of a
river includes the rivers which flow into it] forever [Dan. ii. 44; vii. 13, 14, 27; Mic. iv. 7; Ps. xlv. 6; Heb. i.
8; Rev. xi. 15]; and of his kingdom there shall be no
end. [Isa. vii. 9. Christ shall
resign his mediatorial kingdom to the Father at the close of this dispensation
(I. Cor. xv. 24–28); but as
being one with his Father he shall rule forever.] 34 And Mary unto the
angel, How shall this be [Her question indicates surprise, not disbelief.
Unlike Zacharias, she asked no sign. The youthful village maiden, amid her
humble daily duties, shows a more ready faith in the far more startling message
than the aged priest in the holy place of the temple in the atmosphere
of the sacred incense], seeing I know not a man?
35 And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Spirit shall come upon
thee, and the power of the Most High shall overshadow [the Spirit of God is
thus spoken of as “brooding over” or overshadowing creation to
develop it—Gen. i. 2] thee
[This indicates that the Holy Spirit himself created the body of Christ
(Heb. x. 5). The spirit, or divine
nature, of Christ was from the beginning, and was unbegotten—that is, in
the sense of being created]: wherefore also the holy thing. [the
body of Jesus—Heb. vii. 26; I. Pet. ii.
22] which is begotten [Gal. iv.
4] shall be called the Son of God. [As the Evangelist is here
talking about the bodily and human nature of Jesus, it is possible that he may
here speak of Jesus as the Son of God in the same sense in which he called Adam
the son of God (ch. iii. 38); that is,
his body and human nature were the direct and miraculous production of the
divine power. If so, we find Jesus called the Son of God in three several
senses: 1. Here, because he was born into the world in a supernatural manner.
2. Elsewhere, because by his resurrection he was begotten from the dead
(Rom. i. 4; Acts xiii. 33; Ps. ii. 7). 3.
Also elsewhere, because of the eternal, immutable, and unparalleled
relationship which he sustains to the Father—
John i. 1, 14, 18.] 36 And behold, Elisabeth thy kinswoman, she
also hath conceived a son in her old age. [The angel tells of Elisabeth's
condition, that it may encourage the faith of Mary, and lead her to trust in
Him with whom nothing is impossible—Jer.
xxxii. 17, 27; Gen. xviii. 14; Matt. xix. 26.] 37 For no word
from God shall be void of power. [Isa. lv.
11.] 38 And Mary said, Behold, the handmaid [Literally,
“slave” or “bondservant.” It is the feminine form of
the word which Paul so often applies to himself (
Rom. i. 1; Tit. i. 1). Mary uses it to indicate her submissive and
obedient spirit] of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. [In
great faith she not only believes the promise, but prays for its fulfillment.
She bowed to the will of God like
I. Sam. iii. 18), and became the mother of Him who prayed,
“Not my will, but thine, be done”—Luke xxii. 42.] And the angel departed from her.