I Shall Give My Self

Title: I Shall Give My Self

Bible Book: Luke 1 : 26-49

Author: David E. Owen

Subject: Jesus, Birth of; Dedication; Commitment; Christmas



Last Sunday, we considered Zacharias and Elizabeth who could well have said, “We Shall Give This King Our Son.”

Then on Wednesday, we dealt with the message of the angel Gabriel in Luke chapter 1. And Gabriel could well have said, “I Shall Give This King My Service.”

Today, we are looking again at Gabriel’s message to Mary in Luke 2. But we are focusing on this account with Mary in mind. And Mary could well have said, “I Shall Give This King My Self.”

Throughout church history, there has been a great deal of debate about Mary and her role in God’s plan of redemption. Much of the variation in viewpoints has existed between Protestants and Catholics.

Dr. Timothy George, who is the Dean and Professor of Divinity at the Beeson Divinity School wrote…

We find no biblical warrant for the kind of devotion to Mary that flourishes among many of the Catholic faithful. Mary’s perpetual virginity (the belief that she had no children after Jesus and remained a virgin throughout her life), immaculate conception (that she was born without the stain of original sin), and bodily assumption (that she was taken body and soul into heaven after she died without seeing corruption) are extra-biblical beliefs that cannot be traced to the earliest historical memory of the church.

One article entitled “There’s Something About Mary” said…

Protestants pay a lot of attention to Jesus’ mother at Christmas but she is largely forgotten the rest of the year … but (her) model of total trustful devotion has lessons to teach all Christians

Tom Oden, who with J.I. Packer contributed to this article, goes on to say

It is very speculative, but my own view is that the mother of Jesus was quite important to the earliest church – the church during the writing of the gospel of Luke. It was probably written in Ephesus during the middle part of the first century, and there is a very good chance that Mary was living there at that time.

Mary, being involved in the early church according to Acts 1:14, was no doubt the source of information for the early chapters of Matthew and Luke’s gospels as well as the account of the wedding in Cana of Galilee and some of the information pertaining to our Lord’s crucifixion.

Mary’s part in God’s plan NEVER involved her being a so-called “mediatrix” (a mediator in heaven like Christ), or a so-called “Co-redemptrix” (one involved in the process of redemption at nearly the same level of importance as Christ)! However, hers is an important part in God’s plan. She would be the channel through which Jesus would enter the world in human form. And Galatians 4:4 indicates that the genetic and organic material that comprised the human body of Jesus came from Mary. As Paul said, “God sent forth His Son, made of a woman.”

We are first introduced to this special individual in Luke 1:26-27 where the Bible says…

And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary.

There are verses in Matthew chapter 12 and chapter 13 that refute the idea of Mary’s perpetual virginity, but when we she is first mentioned in Luke 1, she was at that time a virgin who was espoused to a man named Joseph.

I read about a ten-year old girl who, under the tutelage of her grandmother, was becoming quite knowledgeable about the Bible. Then, one day, she floored her grandmother by asking, “Which Virgin was the mother of Jesus? The Virgin Mary or the King James Virgin?”

There’s another little story about a first grade teacher that was having her class draw a Nativity scene after learning the song, Silent Night. She was making her way around the room to view the drawings of the children and came across a picture that had a strange addition to it. She began by saying, “Such a beautiful drawing, George. I see that you have Mary and baby Jesus, the animals, Joseph and the shepherds, but I’m not sure who this very round and robust character is in the middle?” The child responded, “Oh, That’s Round John Virgin!” The teacher said, “What?” And the child said, “You know … Round John Virgin, mother and child.”

In the course of Gabriel’s visit with the virgin named Mary, he informs her of God’s wonderful plan and how she would miraculously conceive and have a son named Jesus who would actually be the promised Messiah.

After the amazing announcement, she makes a statement that is quite remarkable. In her statement, “Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word” (Luke 1:38), she is giving herself to God

Dean Church said…

It was the answer of profound and humble obedience to the greatest call ever addressed from heaven to a mortal creature. … But whatever passed before the thought of that blessed one while the angel’s words were setting before her the lot to which she had been appointed, and the place she was to fill in the eternal history, her instant expression of character was that of absolute self-surrender to all that she was called to – of perfect readiness for all that might be required of her. “Behold the handmaid of the Lord.” (From The Biblical Illustrator)

In giving herself to God…

I. Mary Gave Her Fears To God

A. Let’s Notice The Environment Of Her Fear

1. She Was Living In An Unappreciated Situation

(Luke 1:26-27) And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, {27} To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary.

Warren Wiersbe said…

The people in Judah disdained the Jews in Galilee and claimed they were not “kosher” because of their contacts with the Gentiles there (Matthew 4:15). They especially despised the people from Nazareth (John 1:45-46). But God in His grace chose a girl from Nazareth in Galilee to be the mother of the promised Messiah!

Cf. (John 1:45-46) Philip findeth Nathanael, and saith unto him, We have found him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph. {46} And Nathanael said unto him, Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth? Philip saith unto him, Come and see.

2. She Was Listening To An Unexpected Statement

(Luke 1:28) And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.

Craig Keener said…

Greetings (like “hail”) were normal, but rank and status within society determined whom one should greet and with what words. As both a woman and a young person (perhaps twelve or fourteen years old) not yet married, Mary had virtually no social status. Neither the title (“favored” or “graced one”) nor the promise (“The Lord is with you”) was traditional in greetings, even had she been a person of status.

(From the IVP Bible Background Commentary)

Timothy George wrote…

She is called blessed not because of her virginity or even her humility, but because she was chosen as the person and place where God’s glory would enter most deeply into the human story.

B. Let’s Notice The Evidence Of Her Fear

(Luke 1:29) And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be.

1. We Are Told That She Was Troubled By The Salutation

troubled – Greek 1298. diatarasso, dee-at-ar-as'-so; from G1223 (dia – through) and G5015 (tarasso – to stir or agitate; churn water); to disturb wholly, i.e. agitate (with alarm):--trouble.

2. We Are Told That She Was Thinking About The Salutation

cast in her mind – Greek 1260. dialogizomai, dee-al-og-id'-zom-ahee; from G1223 and G3049; to reckon thoroughly, i.e. (gen.) to deliberate (by reflection or discussion):-- consider, dispute, muse, reason, think.

‎A. T. Robertson said that this is a “Common verb for reckoning up different reasons.” And it indicates that “She was both upset and puzzled.”

“What manner of salutation” suggests what kind of greeting this was; and what it meant. Perhaps she thought to herself, “Have I done something wrong?” or “Have I done something right?” Maybe she wondered, “Perhaps he’s come to the wrong person.” or “What if he has come to the right person?”

C. Let’s Notice The Elimination Of Her Fear

1. The Angel’s Message Of Consolation Alleviated Her Fear

(Luke 1:30) And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God.

This is the message that repeatedly accompanies the advent of Christ’s birth…

Luke 1:30; Matthew 1:20; Luke 2:10

When Adam sinned and hid himself in the garden, he did so because he was afraid (Genesis 3:10). The first manifested result of sin was fear. But when the Savior comes to deal with sin, His herald message is “Fear Not.”

2. The Angel’s Message Of Christ Alleviated Her Fear

(Luke 1:31-33) And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. {32} He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: {33} And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.

In his great hymn, “O For A Thousand Tongues To Sing,” Charles Wesley wrote…

Jesus! the name that charms (or calms) our fears, That bids our sorrows cease;

’Tis music in the sinner’s ears, ’Tis life, and health, and peace.

II. Mary Gave Her Frailty To God

(Luke 1:34) Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?

how – Greek 4459. pos, poce; adv. from the base of G4426; an interrogative particle of manner; in what way? (sometimes the question is indirect, how?); also as exclamation, how much!:--how, after (by) what manner (means), that.

The Bible Knowledge Commentary says…

Mary did not seem surprised that the Messiah was to come. Rather, she was surprised that she would be His mother since she was a virgin (lit., “since I do not know a man”). But the angel did not rebuke Mary, as he had rebuked Zechariah (v. 20). This indicates that Mary did not doubt the angel’s words but merely wanted to know how such an event would be accomplished.

She herself did not have the ability to make this miracle happen. She recognized her own frailty, but…

A. The Angel Helped Her Through The Explanation That He Shared – God Has The Plan

(Luke 1:35) And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.

1. Gabriel Explained That This Miracle Would Happen By God’s Glory – By His Ability

The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee

come upon – Greek 1904. eperchomai, ep-er'-khom-ahee; from G1909 and G2064; to supervene, i.e. arrive, occur, impend, attack, (fig.) influence:--come (in, upon).

supervene – to follow or come about unexpectedly, usually interrupting or changing what is going on.

power – Greek 1411. dunamis, doo'-nam-is; from G1410; force (lit. or fig.); spec. miraculous power (usually by impl. a miracle itself):--ability, abundance, meaning, might (-ily, -y, -y deed), (worker of) miracle (-s), power, strength, violence, mighty (wonderful) work.

Highest – Greek 5310. hupsistos, hoop'-sis-tos; superl. from the base of G5311; highest, i.e. (masc. sing.) the Supreme (God), or (neut. plur.) the heavens:--most high, highest.

overshadow – Greek 1982. episkiazo, ep-ee-skee-ad'-zo; from G1909 and a der. of G4639; to cast a shade upon, i.e. (by anal.) to envelop in a haze of brilliancy; fig. to invest with preternatural (exceeding what is normal in nature) influence:--overshadow.

So the miracle working power of the Supreme God would envelop her in a haze of brilliancy and exert a supernatural influence on her.

A. T. Robertson indicated that the phrase “Shall overshadow thee” (episkiasei) points to…

A figure of a cloud coming upon her. Common in ancient Greek in the sense of obscuring. … But we have seen it used of the shining bright cloud at the Transfiguration of Jesus (Matthew 17:5; Mark 9:7; Luke 9:34). Here it is like the Shekinah glory which suggests it (Exodus 40:38) where the cloud of glory represents the presence and power of God. (From Robertson’s Word Pictures in the New Testament)

2. Gabriel Explained That This Miracle Would Happen For God’s Glory – For His Acclaim

that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God

In 431 A.D., the Catholic church held what is called “the Council of Ephesus” and affirmed that Mary was “Theotokos” – the mother of God. But Gabriel didn’t say that this miraculous birth was about exalting Mary as “Theotokos,” the mother of God or “Christotokos,” the mother of Christ. He didn’t say this holy child would be called the Son of Mary. He said He would be called “the Son of God!”

And at the Transfiguration, the overshadowing cloud of God’s presence showed up and said “That’s my boy (the Son of God) and I’m proud of Him!”

(Matthew 17:5) While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him.

B. The Angel Helped Her Through The Example That He Shared – God Has The Proof

(Luke 1:36) And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren.

1. This Was An Accessible Example For Mary Of God’s Intervention

thy cousin Elisabeth

The Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary says of the term “cousin” that it means…

‘Relative’ [sungenees]; for how nearly they were related the word does not decide. Though Elizabeth was of the tribe of Levi and Mary of Judah, as will afterward appear, they might still be related, as inter-marriage among the tribes was permitted.

Mary did not have to rely on some distant, detached example of God’s intervention in maternal miracles such as Sarah or Rebekah or Hannah or the mother of Samson. But God gave her a recognizable, close example. And it’s amazing how God puts people in our path that can encourage us; people who have been through similar situations and they make themselves available to us.

2. This Was An Amazing Example For Mary Of God’s Intervention

she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren

I have thought on many occasions that this word of proof was offered because if God can cultivate life in a void (barren) womb, then He can create life in a virgin womb.

C. The Angel Helped Her Through The Exclamation That He Shared – God Has The Power

(Luke 1:37) For with God nothing shall be impossible.

1. Let’s Think About God And His Ancient Question

(Genesis 18:14) Is any thing too hard for the LORD? At the time appointed I will return unto thee, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son.

(Jeremiah 32:26-27) Then came the word of the LORD unto Jeremiah, saying, {27} Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh: is there any thing too hard for me?

In the case of Abraham, the question came 19 centuries before Christ. In the case of Jeremiah, the question came 600 years before Christ. And after all this time, there comes a definitive, declarative answer … “With God nothing shall be impossible!”

2. Let’s Think About God And How He Is Absolutely Qualified

(Luke 1:37) For with God nothing shall be impossible.

impossible – Greek 101. adunateo, ad-oo-nat-eh'-o; from G102; to be unable, i.e. (pass.) impossible:--be impossible.

The Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary says that…

The future tense (is) here employed [adunateesei], “shall be impossible,” (and) is designed to express an enduring principle: ‘With God nothing ever has been nor ever shall be impossible.’

The obstacles that we tend to emphasize are no match for God’s plan and proof and power!

III. Mary Gave Her Future To God

A. Notice The Acceptance Of Her Future

1. Her Testimony Revealed An Acceptance Of God’s Plan For Her Life

(Luke 1:38) And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.

The term “handmaid” is the Greek term doule (Strong’s #1399), which means “a female slave.” The term also suggests one who worships God and submits to Him; one who gives themselves completely to the will of another.

2. Her Trip Revealed An Acceptance Of God’s Plan For Her Life

(Luke 1:39-40) And Mary arose in those days, and went into the hill country with haste, into a city of Juda; {40} And entered into the house of Zacharias, and saluted Elisabeth.

Gabriel had suggested that she “Behold … Elizabeth,” so Mary takes him at his word and goes “with haste” to see God’s offering of proof.

haste – Greek 4710. spoude, spoo-day’; from G4692; “speed”, i.e. (by impl.) despatch, eagerness, earnestness:--business, (earnest) care (-fulness), diligence forwardness, haste.

B. Notice The Assurance Of Her Future

1. Elizabeth’s Perceptive Words Must Have Assured Mary

(Luke 1:41-43) And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost: {42} And she spake out with a loud voice, and said, Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. {43} And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?

Mary has not informed Elizabeth of her conception at this point. So Elizabeth, being filled with the Holy Ghost has perceived this miracle.

2. Elizabeth’s Positive Words Must Have Assured Mary

(Luke 1:44-45) For, lo, as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in mine ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy. {45} And blessed is she that believed: for there shall be a performance of those things which were told her from the Lord.

performance – Greek 5050. teleiosis, tel-i'-o-sis; from G5448; (the act) completion, i.e. (of prophecy) verification, or (of expiation) absolution:--perfection, performance.

C. Notice The Acknowledgment Of Her Future

1. She Acknowledges This By Saying, “I Am Bragging On God”

(Luke 1:46-47) And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord, {47} And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.

Albert Barnes said…

To “magnify” means to “make great,” and then to “extol,” to “praise,” to “celebrate.” It does not mean here strictly to “make great,” but to increase “in our estimation” - that is, to praise or extol.

rejoiced – Greek 21. agalliao, ag-al-lee-ah'-o; from agan (much) and G242; prop. to jump for joy, i.e. exult:--be (exceeding) glad, with exceeding joy, rejoice (greatly).

2. She Acknowledges This By Saying, “I Am Blessed By God”

(Luke 1:48-49) For he hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden: for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed. {49} For he that is mighty hath done to me great things; and holy is his name.

Barnes paraphrased her words by saying…

‘Pronounce me highly favored or happy in being the mother of the Messiah.’ It is therefore right to consider her as highly favored or happy.

blessed – Greek 3106. makarizo, mak-ar-id'-zo; from G3107 (supremely blest); to beatify, i.e. pronounce (or esteem) fortunate:--call blessed, count happy.


Mary gave herself to God. And though none of us will be called upon to give ourselves the same way that Mary did, as believers we have all been called to total commitment. Consider the words of Paul…

(Romans 12:1) I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.

Frances Havergal wrote these well know words…

I gave My life for thee, My precious blood I shed,

That thou might ransomed be, and raised up from the dead

I gave, I gave My life for thee, what hast thou given for Me?

I gave, I gave My life for thee, what hast thou given for Me?


The Lord Jesus gave His life for us. Should we not give our lives for Him; in His service?

Let us make the commitment with Mary…

(Luke 1:38) And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.

Here is a possible tie-in illustration with the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering…

There are countless examples that would serve to illustrate the commitment that Mary exhibited in yielding herself to God and His awesome plan for her life and thus for the world, but as Southern Baptists think at this time of the year about the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions, let us look at the example of Lottie Moon.

She was born in 1840, the third child in a family of five girls and two boys on the family’s fifteen-hundred-acre tobacco plantation in Albemarle County, Virginia.

The Moon family valued education, and at age fourteen Lottie went to school at the Virginia Female Seminary [e.g. high school] and later the Albemarle Female Institute, where she earned both her bachelor’s and Master of Arts degree in teaching. A spirited and outspoken girl, Lottie was indifferent to her Southern Baptist upbringing until her late teens, when God touched her heart during a spiritual revival at Albemarle.

After the Civil War, Lottie taught at female academies first in Danville, Kentucky, and later helped set up Cartersville Female High School in Cartersville, Georgia. The school was thriving academically under her leadership as associate principal when she felt a quite different call: to go to China as a missionary.

When she set sail for China, Lottie was 32 years old. She had turned down a marriage proposal and left her job, home and family to follow God’s lead. Her path wasn’t typical for an educated woman from a wealthy Southern family. But Lottie did not serve a typical God. He had gripped her with the Chinese peoples’ need for a Savior. For 39 years Lottie labored, chiefly in Tengchow and P’ingtu. She adopted traditional Chinese dress, and she learned China’s language and customs. Lottie didn’t just serve the people of China; she identified with them. There were those who eventually accepted her. And many accepted her Savior.

Lottie’s vision wasn’t just for the people of China. It reached to her fellow Southern Baptists in the United States. Like today’s missionaries, she wrote letters home, detailing China’s hunger for truth and the struggle of so few missionaries sharing the gospel with so many people – 472 million Chinese in her day. She shared another timely message, too: the urgent need for more workers and for Southern Baptists passionately supporting them through prayer and giving. In 1912 at the age of 72, during a time of war and famine, Lottie silently starved, knowing that her beloved Chinese didn’t have enough food. Her fellow Christians saw the ultimate sign of love: giving her life for others. On Christmas Eve, Lottie died on a ship bound for the United States.

Information about Lottie Moon compiled from the following websites…



Like Mary, Lottie Moon gave herself to God. And so should we.


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