Zacharias Ministers in the Temple
Luke 1:27 to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary.
There is no doubt according to Scripture that Christ’s birth was a virgin birth, totally without parallel either before or since.
The virgin birth is required for several reasons: (1) to fulfill Old Testament prophecy (Gen 3:15; Isa 7:14; Jer 31:22);
(2) to avoid the Old Testament curse on the seed of Jeconiah (Jer 22:24–30), yet still be able to claim the Throne of David in the kingly line;
(3) to be in accord with the theological implications of the inspiration of the Scriptures and Christ’s sinless humanity. Through the miraculous virgin conception, Christ avoided receiving a sinful nature;
(4) to avoid receiving a human father. Christ already had a Father, and it would be unsuitable to have a second one;
(5) to avoid creating a new person, as is done in all normal conceptions. Mary’s conception of Christ was to be the incarnation of an already existing person.
Luke 1:28 And having come in, the angel said to her, “Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!”
The angel addressed Mary as one who was highly favored, one whom the Lord was visiting with special privilege. Two points should be noted here: (1) The angel did not worship Mary or pray to her; he simply greeted her. (2) He did not say that she was “full of grace,” but highly favored.
Luke 1:29 But when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and considered what manner of greeting this was. :30 Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.
Mary was understandably troubled by this greeting; she wondered what it meant. The angel calmed her fears, then told her that God was choosing her to be the mother of the long-awaited Messiah.
Luke 1:31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus. :32 He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. :33 And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.”
Notice the important truths which are enshrined in the annunciation: The real humanity of the Messiah—you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son.
His deity and His mission as Savior—and shall call His name JESUS (meaning Jehovah is the Savior).
His essential greatness—He will be great, both as to His Person and His work.
His identity as the Son of God—and will be called the Son of the Highest.
His title to the throne of David—the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. This establishes Him as the Messiah.
His everlasting and universal kingdom—He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.
Verses 31 and 32a obviously refer to Christ’s First Advent, whereas verses 32b and 33 describe His Second Coming as King of kings and Lord of lords.
Luke 1:34 Then Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I do not know a man?”
This was a legitimate question, given Mary’s present marital status. Unlike Zechariah’s question in verse 18, Mary expresses no doubt, but rather a humble submission to the will of God. Note verse 38 in this regard also.
Luke 1:35 And the angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God.
These words express the completely miraculous nature of Mary’s conception. It was accomplished by God alone in a unique, never-to-be-repeated way.
But one asks, could not Mary transmit her sinful nature to the one conceived in her womb? Ordinarily this would be the case, but the phrase that holy thing which shall be born of you declares that God supernaturally prevented this from occurring.
Luke 1:36 Now indeed, Elizabeth your relative has also conceived a son in her old age; and this is now the sixth month for her who was called barren. :37 For with God nothing will be impossible.”
The angel then broke the news to Mary that Elizabeth her relative, was in her sixth month of pregnancy—she who had been barren. This miracle should reassure Mary that with God nothing will be impossible.
Luke 1:38 Then Mary said, “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.
In beautiful submission, Mary yielded herself to the Lord for the accomplishment of His wondrous purposes. Then the angel departed from her. What can we learn from this?
Luke 1:39 Now Mary arose in those days and went into the hill country with haste, to a city of Judah, :40 and entered the house of Zacharias and greeted Elizabeth.
We are not told why Mary went to visit Elizabeth at this time. It may have been to avoid the scandal which would inevitably arise in Nazareth when her condition became known. If this is so, then the welcome given by Elizabeth and the kindness shown would have been doubly sweet.
Luke 1:41 And it happened, when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, that the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.
As soon as Elizabeth heard Mary’s voice, the babe leaped in her womb—a mysterious, involuntary response of the unborn forerunner to the arrival of the unborn Messiah. Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, that is, He took control of her, guiding her speech and actions.
Three persons in chapter 1 are said to be filled with the Holy Spirit: John the Baptist (v. 15); Elizabeth (v. 41); and Zacharias (v. 67).
One of the marks of a Spirit-filled life is speaking in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs (Eph. 5:18, 19).
We are not surprised therefore to find three songs in this chapter, as well as two in the next. Four of these songs are generally known by Latin titles, which are taken from the first lines: (1) Elizabeth’s Salutation [1:42– 45]; (2) The Magnificat (it magnifies) [1:46–55]; (3) Benedictus (blessed) [1:68–79]; (4) Gloria in Excelsis Deo (glory to God in the highest) [2:14]; and (5) Nunc Dimittis (now You let depart) [2:29–32].
Luke 1:42 Then she spoke out with a loud voice and said, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! :43 But why is this granted to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? :44 For indeed, as soon as the voice of your greeting sounded in my ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy. :45 Blessed is she who believed, for there will be a fulfillment of those things which were told her from the Lord.”
Speaking by special inspiration, Elizabeth saluted Mary as “the mother of my Lord.”
There was not a trace of jealousy in her heart; only joy and delight that the unborn baby would be her Lord.
Hinson, E. E., & Kroll, W. M. (Eds.). (1994). KJV Bible Commentary (p. 121). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.
MacArthur, J. F., Jr., MacDonald, Farstad, Believers Bible; Hinson, E. E., & Kroll, W. M. (Eds.). (1994). KJV Bible Commentary (p. 2195). Nashville: Thomas Nelson