I have to admit, I used to think of Mary as a fragile little girl. A timid young thing who was unwittingly plunged into this miraculous Messianic event. That’s what I used to think.
The other day I reread the passage in Luke chapter one when she was met by the angel Gabriel. That’s when it hit me. The angel’s appearance didn’t faze her. It may have caused her to wonder what was going on, but she’s wasn’t terrified or overwhelmed with awe. Consider Joshua the warrior. When he met an angel before the battle of Jericho, he fell on his face. The shepherds in Luke 2 were also paralyzed with fear. Isaiah thought he would die when he was confronted by an vision of the Lord.
Not Mary. She exudes inner strength. By her response to this miraculous meeting, you know she can handle herself even in the most unusual circumstances.
Later on, Gabriel tells her about this amazing boy she’s about to have. He’s going to be called ‘Son of the Most High’. He’s going to be given the throne of David. He’s going to rule on that throne forever. And his name’s going to be Jesus. Mary doesn’t marvel at all this. In fact, her first response is amazing.
‘How’s this going to happen?’ she asks. (My own paraphrase.)
She asks about logistics. She doesn’t question Gabriel’s message, like Moses, Gideon or others did. She trusts what Gabriel says. What she’s concerned with is the practicality of the thing.
Mary is a young woman with faith and gumption. That’s a lethal combination. Not only does she believe what the angel tells her, she’s got the chutzpah to make it happen. Those are not characteristics of a frail, timid little girl. Those are qualities of a powerful young woman.
Perhaps that’s why she was chosen.