A. The Announcement to Mary
Scripture: Luke 1:26-56
Notes: It is hard to imagine how shocking must have been the angelic visit and the message concerning the child to be born to her. But consider the cost to be borne by Mary. It was an awful disgrace in that culture to conceive a child before the wedding day. All of the joy and delights of the wedding day, anticipated by every young woman, would be forfeited by Mary. Much was being offered her, but much was being asked of her as well.
- About how old was Mary when the angel appeared to her?
- Notice that Mary was betrothed to Joseph. In that culture, they were legally and permanently man and wife, but for the period of the betrothal they did not come together physically. During that period the groom's job was to prepare a home where they would live; the bride's was to make herself beautiful for her wedding day. On the wedding day the groom would simply fetch his bride and take her to the home he had prepared (amidst much rejoicing and merry-making).
- The song sung by Mary is one of the most remarkable expressions of theologically informed praise and delight in all of literature. Notice the degree to which she deliberately patterns her response after that of Hannah (1 Samuel 1).
B. The Announcement to Joseph
Scripture: Matthew 1:18-25
Notes: This appearance to Joseph is timely. Mary has been "found to be with child." She would have been hard pressed to convince her betrothed husband of what had, in fact, happened; thus, the angelic intervention.
- Joseph's family home was Bethlehem (south of Jerusalem); his family of artisans had probably re-settled in Nazareth (in Galilee, to the north) because work was readily found nearby (probably in the burgeoning town of Sepphoris just down the hill).
- Notice the significance of the name to be given to the child to be born to Mary - and the significance of that name as defined by the angel.