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Mary and Gabriel. Mary and Gabriel. Mary and Baby Jesus. Luke 1:26-38. The Foretelling of Jesus’ Conception. Luke 1:26-38. The Foretelling of Jesus’ Conception. Luke 1:26-38.

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Mary and Gabriel

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Mary and Gabriel


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Mary and Gabriel


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Mary and Baby Jesus


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Luke 1:26-38

The Foretelling of Jesus’ Conception


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Luke 1:26-38

The Foretelling of Jesus’ Conception


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Luke 1:26-38

  • 26 In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, 27 to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 And he came to her and said, “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.”b29 But she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. 30 The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. 32 He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David. 33 He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” b


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Luke 1:26-38

  • 34 Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?” 35 The angel said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be holy; he will be called Son of God. 36 And now, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month for her who was said to be barren. 37 For nothing will be impossible with God.” 38 Then Mary said, “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.” Then the angel departed from her.


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References Used for This Study

  • Keck, Leander (Ed.), The New Interpreter’s Bible, Volume IX

  • Nolland, John, The Word Biblical Commentary, Volume 35A

  • Craddock, Fred, Interpretation: A Bible Commentary for Teaching and Preaching: Luke.

  • Danker, Frederick, Proclamation Commentaries: Luke

  • Barclay, William, The Daily Study Bible: The Gospel of Luke

  • Anchor Bible Dictionary


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Big Picture of Luke’s Story

  • Introduction (Luke 1:1-4)

  • Infancy Stories of John & Jesus (Luke 1:5-2:52)

  • Preparation for the Ministry of Jesus (Luke 3:1-4:13)

  • The Ministry in Galilee (Luke 4:14-9:50)

  • The Journey to Jerusalem (Luke 9:51-19:27)

  • The Ministry in Jerusalem (Luke 19:28-21:38)

  • The Passion and Resurrection Stories (Luke 22:1-24:53)

    • The New Interpreter’s Bible, Vol IX, page 10


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What Is Luke Up To In the Birth Narratives?

  • 1:1-4Statement of Luke’s Purpose

  • 1:5-2:52Birth Narratives of John & Jesus

    • 1:5-25Elizabeth and Zachariah

    • 1:26-56Mary

    • 1:57-79John’s birth and rearing

    • 2:1-52Jesus’ birth and rearing


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Notice How Similar the Structures Are of the Two Angelic Visits:

  • Angel says “Do Not Be Afraid”

  • Calls recipient by name

  • Assures recipient of God’s favor

  • Announces birth of child

  • Discloses the name of the child

  • Reveals the future role of the child

  • Recipient asks question

  • Sign is given

  • Angel leaves


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How do the two Angelic Visits differ?

  • One is a result of fervant prayer, the other is completely unexpected.

  • One is born to parents past child-bearing age, the other born to a virgin (an even greater miracle)

  • John is going to be “great” but Jesus will not simply be “great” but also be called “Son of the Most High” and “Son of God.”

  • In every point, Jesus is shown to be great than John. Luke wants to clarify their relationship.


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Why Is Mary’s question welcomed whereas Zachariah’s question gets him in trouble?

  • 18 Zechariah said to the angel, “How will I know that this is so? For I am an old man, and my wife is getting on in years.” (NRSV 1:18)

  • 34 Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?” (NRSV1:34)


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Why Is Mary’s question welcomed whereas Zachariah’s question gets him in trouble?

  • Elizabeth declares to Mary: “Blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her by the Lord.” (Luke 1:45)

  • Gabriel tells Zacheriah that he won’t be able to speak because “You did not believe my words.”


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Gabriel Picture


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Gabriel Picture


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Who is Gabriel?

  • Name means “God is my warrior”

  • is one of two angels named in the Hebrew Bible (Dan 8:16; 9:21), the other being Michael (Dan 10:13, 21; 12:1).

  • Along with Michael, Gabriel regularly figures as one of the 4 archangels in Jewish tradition and non-Biblical sources

    • The Anchor Bible Dictionary (2:863). New York: Doubleday.


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Daniel


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Who is Gabriel in Book of Daniel?

  • Gabriel is preeminently an angel of eschatological revelation.

  • He is sent to Daniel to explain a vision of “the time appointed for the end” (8:15–26)

  • and again to reveal the hidden meaning of the words of Jeremiah that Daniel is reading (9:20–27).

  • Gabriel is implicitly the angel who appears to Daniel in Daniel 10–12.

  • Gabriel has other functions in other extra-biblical books, like 1 Enoch and the Qumran Scrolls.


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Daniel Receives Messages About End Time Events From Gabriel

  • 15 When I, Daniel, had seen the vision, I tried to understand it. Then someone appeared standing before me, having the appearance of a man, 16 and I heard a human voice by the Ulai, calling, “Gabriel, help this man understand the vision.”17 So he came near where I stood; and when he came, I became frightened and fell prostrate. But he said to me, “Understand, O mortal, that the vision is for the time of the end.” (Da 8:15)


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Daniel Receives Messages About End Time Events From Gabriel

  • 20 While I was speaking, and was praying and confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my supplication before the Lord my God on behalf of the holy mountain of my God— 21 while I was speaking in prayer, the man Gabriel, whom I had seen before in a vision, came to me in swift flight at the time of the evening sacrifice.22 He came and said to me, “Daniel, I have now come out to give you wisdom and understanding. 23 At the beginning of your supplications a word went out, and I have come to declare it, for you are greatly beloved. So consider the word and understand the vision: (Da 9:20-23)


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Daniel Receives Messages About End Time Events From Gabriel

  • 10 But then a hand touched me and roused me to my hands and knees. 11 He said to me, “Daniel, greatly beloved, pay attention to the words that I am going to speak to you. Stand on your feet, for I have now been sent to you.” So while he was speaking this word to me, I stood up trembling. 12 He said to me, “Do not fear, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words have been heard, and I have come because of your words. 13 But the prince of the kingdom of Persia opposed me twenty-one days. So Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, and I left him there with the prince of the kingdom of Persia,a14 and have come to help you understand what is to happen to your people at the end of days. For there is a further vision for those days.” (NRSV Da 10:10, see also 9:21& 8:16).


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Who is Gabriel in Luke?


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Gabriel Identifies Himself

  • 19 The angel replied, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to bring you this good news (Lk 1:19)


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Who is Gabriel in Luke?

  • The gospel according to Luke identifies Gabriel with “the angel of the Lord” (Luke 1:11, 19, 26; cf. Luke 2:9; Acts 5:19; 8:26; 12:7).

  • Gabriel’s announcements to Zechariah and to Mary of the births of John and Jesus draws on an ancient tradition (cf. the announcement of the birth of Samson in Judges 13).

  • In the Hebrew Bible, however, the angel of the Lord (Heb mal˒ak YHWH) is never named and in general is not conceived of as a distinct, personal being, but is rather the manifestation of God’s presence. The Anchor Bible Dictionary (2:863). New York: Doubleday.


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Who is Mary?


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Who is Mary?

  • A previously unknown figure

  • A young girl probably about 13 years old.

  • Engaged to be married, by custom as arranged by her father, to a man named Joseph

  • There was a 1-year engagement period

  • If Joseph had died during that one year, Mary would be legally considered a widow.

  • Named as a relative to Elizabeth, but not

    named as a cousin in Luke’s Gospel


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The Angels Greeting to Mary:

  • Echoes Hannah, the mother of the prophet Samuel, says “Let your servant find favor in your sight” (1 Samuel 1:18)

  • Echoes assurances of power and favor to the OT judges: “The LORD is with you” (Judges 6:12)


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Who Else In The Bible Has God’s Favor?


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Who finds favor in God’s sight?

  • Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord. (Gen 6:8)

  • Gideon (Judges 6)

  • In Luke, only Jesus is described as having the favor of God besides Mary

  • In Acts, King David has God’s favor in Stephen’s speech

  • “Favor” is the same word as “Grace” in Greek, and so is used in the phrase “The Gospel of God’s Favor/Grace” in Acts 20:24.

  • Having God’s favor seems to suggest that God is going to do something for them or give them something.


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What would you expect from having God’s favor upon you?

  • Good health

  • Comfortable home

  • Your loved one’s around you

  • Wealth

  • Acceptability in your community


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What Did Mary Receive as a Result of God’s favor?

  • A Child to take care of

  • A Child out of wed-lock and all it’s social stigma

  • Ostracism from her community?

  • The promise that “a spear would pierce your own soul too.” (2:35)

  • Watching her son be brutally executed as a criminal, religious outcast, and political threat to the Roman Empire. (though Mary doesn’t appear by name in Luke after 2:34, she may have been among the women who beat their breasts and followed Jesus to the cross (23:27)

  • Ideas from other gospels? Running from Authorities, Experience of a Baby Slaughter, Death Threats, Trip to Egypt, etc.


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What Did Mary Receive as a Result of God’s favor?

  • A role in God’s plan for the salvation of the world and the coming of God’s Kingdom

  • Remembered for all time as the Mother of God


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What is a Virgin?

  • of a young woman of marriageable age, w. or without focus on virginity;

  • one who has never engaged in sexual intercourse,virgin, chaste person


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Is Mary a Virgin in the Modern Sense in Luke’s Story?

  • Mary says in a wooden translation to the English: “I have not known a man”

  • When our English translation translates her response as “How will this be…since I am a virgin”, this is not the same word as in v. 27.

  • in Greek she is clearly saying politely that “I have not had sex with a man.”

  • She does not say, “I am a young woman.”

  • Yes

  • It’s very clear in the Greek text.


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What is the main message from Gabriel?


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How Central Is Jesus’ Identity to the Gospel Story?

  • “Who is this that speaks blasphemies?” (5:21)

  • “Are you the one who is to come, or are we to wait for another?” (7:20)

  • “Who is this that even forgives sins?” (7:49)

  • “Who then is this? He commands…” (8:25)

  • “John I beheaded, but who is this about whom I hear such things.” (9:9)

  • “Who do the crowds say that I am?” (9:18)


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Who in Luke Helps Us Understand Who Jesus Is?

  • Gabriel

  • Mary

  • Elizabeth

  • Zachariah

  • Angels and Shepherds at Bethlehem

  • Simeon

  • Anna

  • Jesus at age 12


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What does “Son of the Most High” mean?

  • This phrase is in parallel with “Son of God” in our text and has the same meaning, whatever it is.


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Who calls Jesus “The Son of God”?

  • Gabriel identifies Jesus as “Son of Most High” and “Son of God” to Mary

  • The Devil tempts Jesus twice with “If you are the Son of God” (4:3,9)

  • Demons who are being cast out declare him to be so (4:41; 8:28)

  • Religious Assembly in examination of Jesus ask him “Are you the Son of God?” (22:70)


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“Son”

  • Jesus at age 12 says, “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” (2:49)

  • At Jesus’ baptism: “You are my Son, my Beloved.” (3:22)

  • At Transfiguration: “This is my Son, my Chosen.” (9:35)


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“Son”

  • In a Parable, Jesus has the owner of the vineyard say “I will send my beloved Son” to the wicked tenants who kill the Son. (20:13)


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“Son”

  • Jesus names himself as Son of the Father: “No one knows who the Son is except the Father, or who the Father is except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him” (10:22)


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What Do We Notice About the Use of “Son of God” in Luke?

  • Title “Son of God” is not used publicly by Jesus in the Gospel of Luke

  • It is part of the privileged communication to the reader and the disciples, and in our text, to Mary.

  • Jesus never used the title directly with the crowds or his opponents. He mostly refers to himself as “Son of Man” and sometimes simply as “The Son.”


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In What Sense is Jesus God’s “Son”

  • Not biological—there is no graphic bodily language here, only metaphorical clouds overshadowing Mary and Holy Spirit

  • It Brings up images of God’s cloud of Glory:

  • “Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. 35 Moses was not able to enter the tent of meeting because the cloud settled upon it, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle.” (Ex 40:34)


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Cloud


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How Will Mary Conceive?

  • The miracle in our text is not that God is a father as Mary is a mother, but that Mary conceives a baby without a human father. And God did this.

  • Barclay argues that Jews commonly saw three agents in every birth: The father, mother, and God’s Spirit. The unusual part of this birth is that the human father was left out. (p. 6-7)


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The Holy Spirit was connected with childbirth in popular thought based on the Greek text of Isaiah 32:15

  • 15     until a spirit from on high is poured out on us, and the wilderness becomes a fruitful field, and the fruitful field is deemed a forest.


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The King as God’s Son

  • I have set my king on Zion, my holy hill.” 7     I will tell of the decree of the Lord: He said to me, “You are my son; today I have begotten you. 8     Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage, and the ends of the earth your possession. 9     You shall break them with a rod of iron, and dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.” (Ps 2:6-9)


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Echoes from God’s Promise to King David

  • 7 Now when the king was settled in his house, and the Lord had given him rest from all his enemies around him, 2 the king said to the prophet Nathan, “See now, I am living in a house of cedar, but the ark of God stays in a tent.”

  • ….that same night the word of the Lord came to Nathan: 5 Go and tell my servant David: Thus says the Lord: Are you the one to build me a house to live in? 6 I have not lived in a house since the day I brought up the people of Israel from Egypt to this day, but I have been moving about in a tent and a tabernacle….(2 Samuel 7:1-6)


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Echoes from God’s Promise to King David

  • 8 Now therefore thus you shall say to my servant David: Thus says the Lord of hosts: I took you from the pasture, from following the sheep to be prince over my people Israel; 9 and I have been with you wherever you went, and have cut off all your enemies from before you; and I will make for you a great name, like the name of the great ones of the earth. 10 And I will appoint a place for my people Israel and will plant them, so that they may live in their own place, and be disturbed no more; and evildoers shall afflict them no more, as formerly, 11 from the time that I appointed judges over my people Israel; and I will give you rest from all your enemies. (2 Samuel 7:8-11)


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Echoes from God’s Promise to King David

  • Moreover the Lord declares to you that the Lord will make you a house. 12 When your days are fulfilled and you lie down with your ancestors, I will raise up your offspring after you, who shall come forth from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. 13 He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. 14 I will be a father to him, and he shall be a son to me. …. 16 Your house and your kingdom shall be made sure forever before me;c your throne shall be established forever.17 In accordance with all these words and with all this vision, Nathan spoke to David. (NRSV 2 Samuel 7:11-17)

  • Nathan’s prophecy was first fulfilled in King David’s son Solomon. Our passage applies this prophecy to Jesus.


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Is Jesus announced as only the ruler of Israel?

  • “The House of Jacob” is used to emphasize that Jesus will rule over all 12 tribes of Israel. The whole of Israel. The emphasis in the announcement to Mary is very much centered on the promise to King David and the Jewish people.

  • But Simeon describes Jesus as “A light for revelation to the Gentiles….”

  • And Angels announce to the Shepherds “good news of great joy that will be for all the people.”


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“What is the Role of the Son of God?”

  • Announces that the Kingdom of God is near

  • Preaches good news to the poor and powerless

  • Heals the sick

  • Raises the dead

  • Controls the wind and the waves

  • Cast out demons

  • Gives sight to the blind

  • Announces release to the captives

  • Forms a community of people who have experienced the nearness of the Kingdom in their life

  • and sends them out to announce the good news and do what Jesus has done.

  • Will rule over Israel


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Can We Be “Sons of The Most High”?

35 But love your enemies, do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return. Your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High; for he is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked. 36 Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. (Luke 6:35-36)

Luke depicts Jesus as The Unique Son of God but also paints the picture that we can join the family when we listen to God’s word, hear, and obey and respond to Jesus’ sending.


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How Might the Reader Respond to the Angel’s Announcement?

How Could You Picture Mary Responding to the Angel?


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What is the sign given to Mary?

  • The 2nd announcement to Mary that her relative Elisabeth is pregnant in her old age and is in her 6th month.

  • Elizabeth has been in seclusion and hasn’t told anyone according to the earlier passage in Luke.


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Mary & Elizabeth


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What is Impossible for God?

  • The Angels say after Sarah laughs: “Is anything too wonderful for the LORD?” Genesis 18:14

  • Jesus says later in Luke, “What is impossible for mortals is possible for God” (18:27)

  • And nothing will be impossible for God: an empty tomb, and empowered church, and a holy and victorious ending to His-story.


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What are other OT Birth Announcements by Angels?

  • Hagar in Genesis 16:7-14 has an angel visit her

  • Sarah in Genesis 17-18 has angels visit her and her husband

  • Mother of Samson in Judges 13:2-23 had an angel visit her and her husband


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What Other Women Have Miraculous Babies in the Bible?

  • Hannah’s Story: She and Mary both believed the word.

  • Then Eli answered, “Go in peace; the God of Israel grant the petition you have made to him.” 18 And she said, “Let your servant find favor in your sight.” Then the woman went to her quarters, ate and drank with her husband, and her countenance was sad no longer. (1 Sa 1:17-18).

  • Mary also sang a song of prayer and praise like Hannah sang (compare 1 Samuel 2:1-10)


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Mary Responds With:

  • “May it be to me as you have said.” (1:38)

  • Mary Responds to the Angel with complete submission and acceptance:


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Let’s Look at Jesus in the Garden:

  • 39 He came out and went, as was his custom, to the Mount of Olives; and the disciples followed him. 40 When he reached the place, he said to them, “Pray that you may not come into the time of trial.”g41 Then he withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, knelt down, and prayed, 42 “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me; yet, not my will but yours be done.” [[43 Then an angel from heaven appeared to him and gave him strength.44 In his anguish he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down on the ground.]] (Lk 22:39-44).


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How is Mary a Mother in More Than One Sense?

  • Then his mother and his brothers came to him, but they could not reach him because of the crowd. 20 And he was told, “Your mother and your brothers are standing outside, wanting to see you.” 21 But he said to them, “My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and do it.”(Lk 8:19)


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Mary as a blessed disciple

  • 27 While he was saying this, a woman in the crowd raised her voice and said to him, “Blessed is the womb that bore you and the breasts that nursed you!” 28 But he said, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it!” (Lk 11:27)


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Aside on Date of Christmas

  • Twice the text mentions that Elizabeth was 6 months pregnant. So, June 24th for John’s Birth and Dec 25th for Jesus’ birth have been the traditional dates since at least the 4th Century.

  • These dates were the pagan celebrations of the summer and winter solstices, so Christians took pagan forms and gave them Christian meaning (Good missionaries do this).

  • Jesus is the beginning of a New Creation, and Dec 25th falls 9 months after March 25th, the traditional day for the first day of creation.

  • Jesus is the Light of the World, and the days start getting longer after December 25th.


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Questions for Reflection

  • What would help our hearts be ready to say “Yes” to the new thing God wants to do through us?

  • What would help us accept being a part of God’s plan even when it leads to suffering?

  • In what ways have we experienced the “Nearness” of the Kingdom of God in our life or in the life of our community?

  • In what ways do we notice the absence of the Kingdom of God in our life and in our community?

  • Who do you say Jesus is? How does this impact your life?

  • How could your prayers be shaped by what you learned in this passage?


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