“In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary.” —Luke 1:26-27
The first words of dialogue in Luke’s Gospel are spoken by the angel Gabriel to Zechariah: “Do not be afraid” (Luke 1:13). Later Gabriel will speak these same words to Mary (Luke 1:30). Jewish theologian Elie Wiesel once said that whenever an angel announces, “Be not afraid,” you’d better look out because a big assignment is on the way.
Mary, probably in her early teens, was busy living her life. She had chores to do, people to care for and a wedding ahead. And just like that, Gabriel appeared in her small town of Nazareth in Galilee and interrupted it all. Dear Mary, favored one, I have some good news to share with you….
Didn’t Gabriel understand that this news would put Mary at the center of a scandal, destroy her family’s social reputation, potentially sabotage her upcoming marriage and likely leave her a poor, destitute teenage mother?
After getting over her initial shock, and despite all the ways it would turn her life upside-down, Mary remarkably accepted God’s invitation through Gabriel—“Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word” (Luke 1:38). It is because Gabriel spoke a word from the Lord that Mary had an opportunity to respond.
Biblical scholar Raymond E. Brown reminds us that “the gospel is not good news unless there is someone to hear it.” Throughout Scripture, God uses messengers to share Good News, and He calls us to share in this work of proclamation through prayer, church planting, Bible translation and more.
“…how are they to believe in one of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone to proclaim him?” —Romans 10:14-15
Is there someone within your circles who needs to hear the Good News of God’s love? Will you be His messenger to them?