New Defender's Study Bible Notes
1:26 sixth month. That is, the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy (Luke 1:36).
1:26 Gabriel. The angel Gabriel is only mentioned by name in connection with his missions to Daniel (Daniel 8:16; 9:21), to Zacharias (Luke 1:19), and here to Mary. He is evidently one of the highest angels in God’s hierarchy, standing in God’s very presence (Luke 1:19). The only other angel (except for the fallen angel Lucifer) mentioned by name in Scripture is Michael (Daniel 10:13,21; 12:1; Jude 9; Revelation 12:7), who is called “the archangel” by Jude, but only “one of the chief princes” by Daniel. The latter implies that Gabriel also has the rank of archangel (that is, “principal angel”).
1:27 virgin. Mary is called “a virgin” by both Luke and Matthew, the Greek word being parthenos, a word which can mean nothing else.
1:28 highly favoured. Mary was “highly favored” and “blessed among women,” because she had been given the privilege of fulfilling the ancient promise made by God to Mother Eve (Genesis 3:15), the promise of choosing a woman who would bear the promised Seed who would come to crush the old Serpent and all his evil plans. However, this blessing, given to a godly young virgin in Israel, in no way warrants us to worship her as the “Mother of God,” on essentially the same level as God Himself. Unfortunately, in later times many people unknowingly tended to replace the ancient pagan worship of the “goddess” (known as Ishtar, Astarte, Venus, etc., in various languages) with “Mariolatry.”
1:30 favour. The Greek word for “favor” is the word normally translated “grace,” and this is actually the first mention of grace in the New Testament. The first mention of grace in the Old Testament is Genesis 6:8, “Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.” In both cases, a human believer was selected by God’s grace to bring, as it were, a new beginning into the world: Noah brought the post-Flood economy that would follow the judgment of the Flood on the worldwide sin of the world, and Mary brought forth the Savior, who through the judgment of the cross would carry away the sin of the world (John 1:29). Note also how these two first mentions of grace define the very word itself. Grace is not a reward that is earned from God, but a gift from God that is found. And it is found, not by working or searching but “through faith” (Ephesians 2:8). Both Mary and Noah believed—and therefore obeyed—the word of God.
1:31 conceive in thy womb. The miraculous conception was unusual in that it took place directly in the womb rather than first in the tubes, but it was uniquely miraculous in that no man was involved. “That holy thing” was placed directly in Mary’s womb by God “the Holy Ghost” (Luke 1:35) and thus was uniquely “the seed” of the woman (Genesis 3:15). Just as the body of the first Adam was directly formed by God (Genesis 2:7), with no genetic connection to either father or mother, so the body of “the last Adam” (I Corinthians 15:45) was directly formed by God (Hebrews 10:5), with no genetic connection to either parent. Since the very “ground” was brought under God’s curse because of sin (Genesis 3:17), all the elements of the ground (i.e., “the dust of the earth”), out of which the bodies of Adam and Eve and all their descendants had been formed, were contaminated with the “bondage of corruption” (or decay—Romans 8:21-22). This was just as true of Mary’s body as of Joseph’s, so there could have been no natural genetic connection of Jesus’ body to that of Mary, any more than to Joseph’s. The “holy thing” placed in Mary’s womb by the Holy Spirit could have been nothing less than a special creation—just as was the body of Adam! Otherwise, like all men born of women, Jesus would have inherited both physical defects and the sin-nature of Adam and Eve. This could only have been prevented by a miraculous cleansing of the conceptus, and this, of course, would be a special creation. Jesus was the only begotten Son of God, as well as the son of Mary, but He was not the Son of God and Mary.
1:32 throne of his father David. Jesus was the legal son of His father David (as adopted by Joseph when he took Mary as his wife) but He was, of course, not his biological son. As legal son, however, He did have the legal right (as well as spiritual and prophetic right) to the Davidic kingdom.
1:34 How shall this be. Mary was not doubting the word of Gabriel (Luke 1:38), as had Zacharias (Luke 1:20), but inquiring as to how He might bring about such a “new thing in the earth” (Jeremiah 31:22), and Gabriel answered her question in his next statement.
1:35 overshadow thee. This marvelous work of God can be nothing less than direct creation. Some have suggested such quasi-naturalistic hypotheses as parthenogenesis or artificial insemination, or perhaps that the Holy Spirit somehow fertilized Mary’s naturally produced egg, but such stratagems could only caricature the amazing incarnation—the entrance of the omnipotent, omnipresent, eternal God of creation into finite human flesh. We cannot comprehend the mechanics of such a miracle; we can only believe God’s Word.
1:35 holy thing. It is striking that the embryonic Jesus in Mary’s womb must be called “that holy thing”—not “the babe” or “the child” or something else. There is no human word to fit. Actually the word “thing” is not in the original—just “the holy,” or perhaps “the holy [One].”
1:35 Son of God. Thus Mary was the very first to hear the words “the Son of God” as applied to that Holy One who would enter her womb.