She could have said “no,” you understand. It was a sacrifice unheard of — a call to trust and submission unprecedented in human history. This young Jewish virgin sees an angel, who tells her that she will miraculously conceive the Son of God who will reign on David’s throne (Luke 1:26-35). But who will believe her? Joseph, to whom she is betrothed? Her parents? The villagers in Nazareth? Rumors will fly. There will be furtive looks — and obvious stares. A virginal conception. Right. But Mary is full of faith. “Behold, the bondslave of the LORD,” she replies. “Be it done to me according to your word” (Luke 1:38).
Mary personified the righteous remnant in Israel who waited for Messiah — “the virgin daughter of Zion” (Isa. 62:1-5, 10-12; Zech. 2:10; 9:9). She is the symbol of the faithful in all ages, portrayed in Revelation as the Woman Clothed with the Sun (Rev. 12:1-6). Because Jesus is God incarnate (the greatest miracle in the story — the virgin birth is merely the method), Mary is theotokos, mother of deity (Matt. 1:22-23). She is also mother, in some sense, of those who follow her Son. On the cross, Jesus said to his disciple: “Behold your mother” (John 19:27).
The Bible does not teach that Mary was exempt from sin — whether Adam’s or her own. It does not teach that she remained a virgin after Jesus’ birth, or that she ascended into heaven, or that she is co-mediatrix with Christ. Like us, she was a sinner who also needed a Savior. Yet, next to her Son, who saved her and us, Mary might present the greatest example of self-yielding faith this darkened world has seen. So with the angel Gabriel, we may joyfully say: “Hail, favored one! the LORD is with you” (Luke 1:28). And with Elizabeth, we may exclaim: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!” (Luke 1:42). “From this time on,” Mary herself prophesied, “all generations will count me blessed” (Luke 1:48). May it be so.