Most major announcements in Jesus’ life were made to women instead of to men.
The angel Gabriel was sent to announce two upcoming births. First he went to Zechariah to tell him that his wife Elizabeth would give birth to a son. That son would be John the Baptizer. Zechariah was surprised when the angel appeared to him, and he asked, “How can I be sure of this? I am an old man, and my wife is well along in years.” The angel answered, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to tell you this good news” (Luke 1:18-19).
After that, the angel Gabriel did something very unusual. He went directly to Mary, who would become the mother of Jesus, to announce the important news of this upcoming miraculous conception and birth.
In Luke 1:26-31, the greatest news of all time, the birth of Jesus, is announced to a woman. “In the sixth month, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, ‘Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.’ Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus.’ ‘How will this be,’ Mary asked the angel, ‘since I am a virgin?’”
It is certain that this young girl had never made an important decision apart from her family in all her life. The culture she lived in guaranteed that. The angel’s announcement required an independent decision on her part. First, she wrestled with the greeting. She questioned how she, a young girl who was a virgin, could give birth to a baby. Gabriel had to convince her. At the end of their conversation she agreed to cooperate with God’s plan. It was after that acceptance that the angel went to Joseph to tell him what was going to happen.
When Sarah was told by the messengers that she would give birth to a son, she laughed but had no voice in the decision. When Elizabeth was told by her husband that she would have a son, it was a done deal. But when Mary was told that God had found favor with her, and that she would miraculously conceive a child who would be the long-awaited Messiah, she was called upon to decide. She questioned, she listened, she considered, and then she made her decision, “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May it be to me as you have said.”
An out of wedlock pregnancy could bring serious consequences upon Mary and her family. The man she was going to marry faced humiliation and could have had her stoned to death as an adulteress. Her father or Joseph most certainly would not have permitted the pregnancy—Messiah or no—had it been up to them. Mary could have deflected responsibility for the decision by telling the angel there was no way she could accept this honor without first asking permission of her father or Joseph, as this was far too significant a decision for a mere woman to make without male advice or permission. But she did not. The angel could have first gone to her father or to Joseph and told them what was going to happen to Mary, just like he had gone to Zechariah. But he did not.
Instead, the angel Gabriel went directly to a young woman, giving her the greatest news that all mankind would ever hear, and left the decision up to her whether or not to accept the honor and the awesome responsibility of becoming the mother of the Messiah.
Male headship is dethroned because God sent the angel Gabriel to a female, who made the decision by herself to accept the honor of becoming the mother of the Messiah.
Note to my readers: This is a chapter in my book Dethroning Male Headship. During the month of December I will be reposting my previous blogs on Christmas. I am busy finalizing my new book Women Equal – no buts. Powered by the same Source which will go direct to Kindle on January 20, 2014.