Luke 1:38

ESV And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.
NIV I am the Lord's servant,' Mary answered. 'May your word to me be fulfilled.' Then the angel left her.
NASB And Mary said, 'Behold, the Lord’s bond-servant; may it be done to me according to your word.' And the angel departed from her.
CSB "See, I am the Lord's servant," said Mary. "May it happen to me as you have said." Then the angel left her.
NLT Mary responded, 'I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.' And then the angel left her.
KJV And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.

What does Luke 1:38 mean?

When the angel, Gabriel, first spoke to Mary (Luke 1:27), he referred to her using a specific Greek phrasing. He called her "highly favored" using a passive Greek verb. In clear terms, he said Mary was the recipient of God's favor and grace. Inaccurate translations sometimes render the angel's description as "full of grace," implying something active: that Mary was a source or conduit of God's grace. That has led to and supported many false beliefs about Jesus' earthly mother. In truth, Mary's primary role in Jesus' arrival on earth (Luke 1:31–33) is passive. She is not being called on to perform miracles, declare judgment, preach to crowds, defy kings, or write inspired words.

At the same time, it's important to realize Mary's role is not easy. In that era, a woman who became pregnant while unmarried would have suffered enormous social stigma. Even her betrothed, Joseph, instinctively planned to end their relationship when he first heard she was expecting (Matthew 1:19). Further news from God changed his mind (Matthew 1:20). Being told she would conceive before being married would have been no small point. Decades later, when Jesus is an adult, Scripture records enemies making snide remarks about His birth (John 8:19, 41). It stands to reason Mary endured similar insults throughout her life, from doubters and critics. After Jesus' birth, she will hear a faint hint of the pain she will experience when Jesus dies (Luke 2:34–35; John 19:25–27).

Mary certainly knew what the early years of her task would imply. She would expect judgmental, unkind reactions from most people. She may not have been sure how Joseph would respond. Being charged with raising the very Son of God implied incredible pressure. And yet, her reaction is obedient, accepting faith.

Beyond terrifying people at first sight (Luke 1:13, 29; 2:10; Matthew 28:4; Acts 10:3–4; Numbers 22:31; Judges 6:22–23), angels also seem prone to dramatic exits when their tasks are complete (Acts 12:10; Judges 6:21). In this case, Gabriel's exit leaves Mary eager to visit Elisabeth (Luke 1:36) so they can mutually rejoice over their happy news (Luke 1:39–40).
What is the Gospel?
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