Luke 1: 38
Gabriel, the archangel, the one who “stands in the presence of God; and is sent to speak unto Mary and to show her glad tidings,” has just left the stage: Left Mary standing in awe. Mary, a simple Jewish girl of the house of David, is now carrying Heaven’s most precious treasure. The angel appeared out of nowhere and said, “Hail, thou that art highly favored, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.” (Luke 1:28) This is the same Gabriel who spoke with Daniel the prophet, telling Daniel he was greatly loved. Also, this heavenly messenger came in response to Daniel’s prayer (Daniel 9:23) and spoke to Zacharias in answer to the prayers of he and his wife. I do not know what Gabriel looked like. I know from other scriptures being in the presence of God changes your appearance (Moses on the mount receiving the commandments and Jesus on the mount speaking face to face with His Father and Moses and Elijah) so I am thinking he appeared “otherworldly,” shining with the radiance of holiness. His words are kind and who would not want to hear, “thou art highly favored?”
Then he drops a bombshell on this young teen. You are going to have a baby, and by the way, He is God’s Son, the long expected Messiah, He will be a king, and you call Him, Jesus. (Luke 1:31-32) Is Mary a girl shaking her head back and forth rapidly so as to clear her head of what could not possibly be happening?
She is a virgin. There is NO WAY on earth she can be pregnant. She is engaged, not yet married. In the eyes of Jewish law, the marriage is already binding but has not been consummated. So, she dares to ask: “Ummm, do you want to tell me just how this is possible?” A reasonable question don’t you think? And how is she going to explain all this to her husband? (Luke 1:27, 34)
Mary then had the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of God, the “cloud” of God, the very Presence of God, come upon her. (Luke 1:35) In the Greek this is “eperchomai,” which means to arrive, to occur, to impend, to attack. It comes to “impart power to set free and to equip one to do the same for others.” (Building a Bridge, Part 2 by Rev Lee Allen Howard) As the Spirit of God came upon her, His Shekinah glory overshadowed or “episkiazo” her (enveloped in a haze of brilliancy). God Himself “opened a portal” to come and dwell among us. Did she take her shoes off? She was standing on very holy ground. Oh, what a holy moment.
Mary was wrapped in God’s love. Her spirit became intimate with the Spirit of God and she was filled with the Son of the Most High God. Did her countenance change? I believe the answer is Absolutely! Any time God’s Presence was faced, the countenance was changed. Was Mary ever the same? No, she was forever changed.
Her response to this moment of time was a simple, “Yes, Lord.” She accepted His desire for her life and in so doing was filled with power and equipped for the task. Because she carried Immanuel, God with us, she was imparting power and equipping others to do the same for all eternity! All that God did is revealed in her Magnificant found in Luke 1:46-54: “the Lord regarded the low estate of His handmaid (slave),….He has done great things,….His mercy is on all generations, ….He has shown His strength,…He has put down the mighty,….He has filled the hungry,…..He helped His servant Israel,…..He has spoken,….He has remembered His mercy (covenant).” Mary praises the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. She has been chosen to be the vessel of the Lord, the long awaited ONE!
What happens when we are “eperchomai” and “episkiazo”: come upon and overshadowed by the Spirit of the Living God? The portal of our heart is opened and He moves in and we are never the same. We become a new creature and old things are passed away. (II Corinthians 5:17) We have God with us! God in us! Our natural response should be, “Yes, Lord, be unto me according to thy Word.” We too become the chosen ones: Sons and daughters of the Most High God!
Josh Groban –O Holy Night