Gordon-Conwell Blog

Advent Devotional Day 12: When Mary Encountered the Angel

December 14, 2017

2017 Gordon-Conwell Advent Devotional

Day 12 | When Mary Encountered the Angel

Luke 1:26-38


According to Luke 1:26-28, when the angel Gabriel came to announce to Mary that she was going to give birth to Jesus, she was greatly troubled. Unprepared for such an encounter with God’s messenger, she was obviously overwhelmed by something as physically impossible and as socially scandalous as this. Then she began to ask one question after another.

This is an all too human response. Encountering God and hearing his calling, we are sometimes confused and even shocked, and want to do exactly what Mary did: bring our questions to God. But we sometimes hesitate to ask God a question, because that sounds challenging and like an act of disobedience. You know what? It is all right to ask God questions. As a loving heavenly father, God is patient with us, and always walks with us in our struggle. When Mary asked questions, the angel explained all she needed to know. 

But Mary asked her questions in great faith and humility. And she truly believed what the angel said: “For with God nothing will be impossible,” (Luke 1:37). And her answer is equally memorable: “I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your Word,” (Luke 1:38). Mary might not get all the answers for her questions, and she might still wonder what would exactly happen. But she knows who God is, and she is very clear about her own identity and her relationship with God. The only ultimate goal of a handmaid’s life is to serve her master. Once she puts her life under the control of her master, everything will be all right eventually. And the result is Mary’s unshakable trust in God’s promise and total surrender of herself to God.

In our Christian life, we often find ourselves in Mary’s position. In the season of Advent, may Mary’s encounter with the angel set an example for us. May we also answer to God’s call on our life in the same fashion.





     Dr. Xiyi (Kevin) Yao
     Chair, Mission Oversight Team;

     Associate Professor of World Christianity and Asian Studies


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