It often is said that good things come in small packages. This passage adds a twist to that theme. For the announcement of Jesus' birth shows that wonderful things come in surprising packages. God does not always do things the way we would do them.
The announcement to Mary sets up a parallel to John's birth and mirrors a number of birth announcements in the Old Testament. But this passage's mood is very different from the Zechariah account. A simple calmness rules the exchange between Mary and Gabriel. Where Zechariah was in the midst of activity before the whole nation in its religious center, this announcement comes to the future childbearer privately, in the country. Had we designed these events, pomp and circumstance probably would have attended the announcement and birth of Jesus, but God chose to use an average young woman and to announce his intentions in quiet obscurity. The fulfillment of God's promise came to earth in an unadorned package of human innocence, without any pomp, far away from any palace. The promised one entered human life as he still seeks to meet it: at the level of everyday experience with everyday people.
IVP New Testament Commentaries are made available by the generosity of InterVarsity Press.
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