Matthew 1:21, ESV

 She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”


LUKE 1:26-29, NIrV

26 In the sixth month after Elizabeth had become pregnant, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee. 27 He was sent to a virgin. The girl was engaged to a man named Joseph. He came from the family line of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 The angel greeted her and said, “The Lord has blessed you in a special way. He is with you.”

29 Mary was very upset because of his words. She wondered what kind of greeting this could be. 


Last section, we studied the story of Zechariah and Elizabeth. An angel named Gabriel gave them an amazing-to-hear, but hard-to-believe message: though Elizabeth was old enough to be a grandma, she was about to become a mama for the first time! Half a year after Elizabeth became pregnant, that same angel dropped down to our planet again. This time, he came to visit a girl named Mary. As before, Gabriel had a happy message to deliver. And the message he brought for Mary was even more amazing to hear and even harder to believe than the one he delivered to Zechariah and Elizabeth!

+ Who had Mary promised to marry? What town were they from? (vs. 26-27)

+ How did Mary feel about the angel’s greeting? (vs. 29)


LUKE 1:30-33, NIrV

30 But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary. God is very pleased with you. 31 You will become pregnant and give birth to a son. You must call him Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High God. The Lord God will make him a king like his father David of long ago. 33 The Son of the Most High God will rule forever over his people. They are from the family line of Jacob. That kingdom will never end.”


It’s hard to figure out what part of Gabriel’s message would have been the hardest to believe. Perhaps it was when he said Mary would miraculously become pregnant without the help of a man. Or maybe it was the bit about her baby becoming a great king, like David the Giant Killer, who would rule until the end of time? Or how about the fact that this baby’s dad would be none other than the Lord, the God of the Universe? The angel’s message was so unbelievable, you could understand if Mary thought he was kidding. But Gabriel had been sent by God to deliver a message, not play pranks!

+ What did Gabriel tell Mary to name her baby? (vs. 31)

+ Write down two of the things Gabriel said about Mary’s special child. (vs. 32-33)


LUKE 1:34-38, NIrV

34 “How can this happen?” Mary asked the angel. “I am a virgin.”

35 The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come to you. The power of the Most High God will cover you. So the holy one that is born will be called the Son of God. 36 Your relative Elizabeth will have a child even though she is old. People thought she could not have children. But she has been pregnant for six months now. 37 That’s because what God says will always come true.”

38 “I serve the Lord,” Mary answered. “May it happen to me just as you said it would.” Then the angel left her.


I’m sure Mary had lots of questions about Gabriel’s message. But instead of asking who, what, where, when, or why, she only asked, “How?” Mary was no fool. To make a baby, you need both a man and a woman! Gabriel let Mary know her one-of-a-kind child would come about in a one-of-a-kind way. God’s Holy Spirit would visit Mary. His holy power would cause a child to grow inside her. As a result, Mary’s miracle boy would be both God and human at the same time. That explanation was good enough for Mary. She answered, “I’m God’s servant. May everything you said come true!”

+ How would Mary’s child be made differently from ordinary children?

+ What example did Gabriel give to show God can do impossible things? (vs. 36-37)



18 This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about. His mother Mary and Joseph had promised to get married. But before they started to live together, it became clear that she was going to have a baby. She became pregnant by the power of the Holy Spirit. 19 Her husband Joseph was faithful to the law. But he did not want to put her to shame in public. So he planned to divorce her quietly.


Mary and Joseph were “betrothed”: they made a promise to become husband and wife. But there was a big hiccup in their wedding plans – Mary was pregnant with a baby! As readers of this story from the future, you and I know what really happened: Mary’s baby was from the Holy Spirit. But Joseph didn’t know that. He figured, “My Mary has snuck off and made a baby with some other man!” With a broken heart, Joseph planned to divorce Mary, to take back his promise to become her husband. But before that could happen, God sent another angel to pay Joseph a visit!

+ The Bible doesn’t say if Mary told Joseph about her visit from the angel Gabriel. If you were Joseph, would you believe that Mary was telling you the truth? Why or why not?



20But as Joseph was thinking about this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream. The angel said, “Joseph, son of David, don’t be afraid to take Mary home as your wife. The baby inside her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She is going to have a son. You must give him the name Jesus. That’s because he will save his people from their sins.”

22 All this took place to bring about what the Lord had said would happen. He had said through the prophet, 23 “The virgin is going to have a baby. She will give birth to a son. And he will be called Immanuel.” (Isaiah 7:14) The name Immanuel means “God with us.”

24 Joseph woke up. He did what the angel of the Lord commanded him to do. He took Mary home as his wife. 


Before Joseph could follow through with his plan to divorce Mary, he received a surprise midnight visitor. An angel (probably Gabriel again) popped into Joseph’s dreams. He let Joseph know the truth about his soon-to-be wife. Mary had not secretly made a baby with another man like Joseph suspected. Instead, her baby was put there by a miracle of God’s Holy Spirit. The angel told Joseph to give this baby a special name (Jesus) with a special meaning (savior). This name was a perfect choice for Mary’s miracle boy. Jesus meant “savior” and saving the world was what Jesus was born to do!

+ Why did the angel tell Joseph to name the baby “Jesus”? (vs. 21)

+ What did Joseph do after his dream? (vs. 24)



22 All this took place to bring about what the Lord had said would happen. He had said through the prophet, 23 “The virgin is going to have a baby. She will give birth to a son. And he will be called Immanuel.” (Isaiah 7:14) The name Immanuel means “God with us.”


As you read these verses yesterday, did you find yourself thinking, “Immanuel? Virgin? Prophet? What’s this angel talking about?” If you did, you’re in luck! You’re about to learn why the angel spoke such strange words to Joseph in his dream.

In the time of the Bible, a prophet was a person who heard messages from God, then spoke those messages to the people. One of those prophets was a man named Isaiah. He lived about 700 years before Gabriel’s visits to Mary and Joseph. The messages Isaiah spoke were written down in a Bible book called... you guessed it! Isaiah.

In Joseph’s dream, the angel repeated a few words from Isaiah the prophet. You can find them written down in Isaiah chapter 7, verse 14. It begins by saying that a virgin will become pregnant with a baby.

This was a strange thing to say. Why? Because a virgin is a woman who has never come together with a man to make a baby. Saying that a virgin will have a baby makes about as much sense as saying a koala will give birth to a duck-billed platypus!

But that wasn’t all the prophet Isaiah said. He wrote that this virgin-born miracle baby would be called a strange-sounding name: “Immanuel” (pronounced “eee-man-you-ell”). That name comes from the Hebrew language. It means “God with us.”

Are you starting to see why the angel spoke Isaiah's 700-year-old words to Joseph in his dream? He was letting Joseph know, “Mary’s baby is very special. He’s the child Isaiah wrote about 700 years ago!” Mary was the virgin who miraculously and impossibly became pregnant with a baby. And her baby was going to be “Immanuel.” Her baby would be God living among human beings.

All of Isaiah's ancient words came true. Mary's boy Jesus was a unique, one-of-a-kind baby. Every human being who has ever lived (including you and me) popped into existence when a human woman and a human man came together. Everybody, of course, except Jesus! Born from a virgin, he had a human for his mama and God for his daddy.

Because Jesus’ father was God and his mother was Mary, Jesus was the “God-Man.” He was 100% God and 100% human being at the same time! This made Jesus the perfect person to save us from our sins. Since he was a human like us, he could be the one to stand in our place and die for our sins. And since he was God, he had the power to take the punishment for all of us all at once, then rise back to life again on the third day!

+ What does the name “Immanuel” mean? How was Jesus “Immanuel”? (vs. 23)

+ How was Jesus one-of-a-kind compared to all other babies?

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