Luke 1 and 2 are some of the most gripping chapters I ever read in the Bible. First, an angel appears to Zachariah, a man well advanced in years who has no child with his wife of many years. The angel says his wife, Elizabeth will be pregnant. Then Zach is rendered mute because he doesn't believe the angel. Next, the same angel appears to a virgin, Mary to say she will have a son. This girl Mary, and Zachariah's wife Elizabeth happen to be cousins. In the sixth month of Elizabeth's pregnancy, Mary visits her. And the things that happen there are so mind-blowing. From when the angel appears to Mary, to the birth of Jesus Christ and his early days, a series of fascinating things happen. Here are fifteen of them:
1. An angel appeared to a virgin. Just think about this for a minute. An angel appeared to her. How did this happen? Did the angel zoom in through the door of fly through the roof? Or did she just notice an angel in front of her? This happened in real life. An angel appeared unto her. This is extraordinary.
2. The angel spoke. Perhaps when Mary saw the angel, she thought she was hallucinating. But this unusual being right before her SPOKE.
3. The angel said she will become pregnant not through intimacy with a man but when the Holy Spirit overshadows her like a cloud. Whaaaaaaaa?? What was she going to tell her to-be husband, Joe?
4. Mary, after asking how this was going to happen and getting the (strange) answer that explained that the Holy Spirit would "overshadow" her, accepted what the angel said. She said,
"Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; may it be done to me according to your word."
This is nothing short of fascinating. If I were Mary, I would probably have asked the angel to give me time to process everything. Or perhaps I would have asked to see a psychiatrist.
5. When Mary visited Elizabeth and greeted her, the baby in her womb 'leaped". Wait, a baby that wasn't even born yet responded to Mary's greeting? Wow!
6. Elizabeth was "filled with the Holy Spirit and empowered by Him" then she declared to Mary:
“Blessed [worthy to be praised] are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! And how has it happened to me, that the mother of my Lord would come to me? For behold, when the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed [spiritually fortunate and favored by God] is she who believed and confidently trusted that there would be a fulfillment of the things that were spoken to her [by the angel sent] from the Lord.”
7. Elizabeth called Mary "the mother of my Lord", How did she know this? By the power of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is real.
8. Mary, in response to Elizabeth's proclamation, spoke the beautiful words that are today known as the "Magnificat". She declared,
"For behold, from now on all generations will count me blessed and happy and favored by God!" She said all generations from that time will call her blessed. How did she know this? By the power of the Holy Spirit.
9. Mary stayed with Elizabeth for about three months before returning to her home. I always thought the visit lasted just a few hours. See Luke 1: 56. Elizabeth probably helped her through the first trimester woes, that's if she had any.
10. When Mary gave birth to Jesus, there was no private room for them in the inn where they were in Bethlehem. So she wrapped Him in swaddling clothes and put Him in a manger. Wait, how come the King of kings had no special room prepared for Him to make a grandiose entry into the world? Humble beginnings.
11. An angel of the Lord AGAIN appeared to shepherds in the same region where Jesus was born to announce His birth. In this story, angels were just appearing left and right.
12. As the angel made his announcement to the angels, suddenly, there appeared with him "a multitude of the heavenly host (angelic army) praising God" Just think about this. A multitude of angels appeared right before humans and they were praising God!
13. The name Jesus was given to Him by angel Gabriel even before He was conceived. Who names a child that isn't even in a womb yet? The Holy Spirit does.
14. A man named Simeon recognised Jesus as the Messiah when He was only eight days old! See Luke 2:25-35
15. Anna a widow at the temple also confirmed Jesus to be the Anointed One.
How great is our Lord! May we never lose sight of how awesome Jesus is, how great His birth was and how humble He lived.
For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6