Just as Luke had the circumcision and naming of John, so too he has the circumcision and naming of Jesus, his cousin. Like John, it takes place on the 8th day after the birth in chapter 1:59. So too, just like John, chapter 1:63, Jesus got his name at his circumcision. Luke said that after eight days had been completed (Καὶ ὅτε ἐπλήσθησαν ἡμέραι ὀκτὼ), it was time to circumcise the child (τοῦ περιτεμεῖν αὐτόν). He was called Jesus (καὶ ἐκλήθη τὸ ὄνομα αὐτοῦ Ἰησοῦς), the name given to him by the angel Gabriel (τὸ κληθὲν ὑπὸ τοῦ ἀγγέλου) before Mary conceived him in the womb (πρὸ τοῦ συλλημφθῆναι αὐτὸν ἐν τῇ κοιλίᾳ) in chapter 1:31. Luke continued these parallel stories of John and Jesus. Both families clearly followed all the Jewish laws and customs about circumcision and naming a child, but John and Jesus were nevertheless special children.
Luke brought this conversation between the Angel Gabriel and Mary to a close. She fully agreed with the plan, so the angel left. Luke indicated that Mary said (εἶπεν δὲ Μαριάμ) that she was a slave of the Lord (Ἰδοὺ ἡ δούλη Κυρίου). Most translations prefer the softer “servant” or “handmaid” rather than “slave,” but the Greek word “ἡ δούλη” indicates a female slave. Mary wanted everything to be done to her just as the angel of God had said (γένοιτό μοι κατὰ τὸ ῥῆμά σου). With that, the Angel Gabriel flew off or left her (καὶ ἀπῆλθεν ἀπ’ αὐτῆς ὁ ἄγγελος), because he had accomplished his mission. The stage was set for the birth of John and Jesus.
Next Luke made the connection between the upcoming birth of Jesus and that of John. Elizabeth, although older, was a relative of Mary. She could have been an aunt of a second cousin. Their age differences would not make them first cousins. Besides, they lived in different areas, Galilee and Judea. Elizabeth was a daughter of Aaron, but there was no such claim for Mary. Was this an attempt to link Mary to the Levitical priesthood via her Levitical relative? Perhaps Luke wanted to show a closer relationship between John and Jesus. Luke indicated that the Angel Gabriel told Mary about his previous mission to Zechariah and Elizabeth. He told Mary that her relative Elizabeth (καὶ ἰδοὺ Ἐλεισάβετ ἡ συγγενίς σου) had also conceived a son (καὶ αὐτὴ συνείληφεν υἱὸν), in her old age (ἐν γήρει αὐτῆς). She was, in fact, already six months pregnant (καὶ οὗτος μὴν ἕκτος ἐστὶν αὐτῇ). Elizabeth had been called barren or sterile (τῇ καλουμένῃ στείρᾳ). The Angel Gabriel concluded that nothing was impossible with God (ὅτι οὐκ ἀδυνατήσει παρὰ τοῦ Θεοῦ πᾶν ῥῆμα). He could overcome old age and virginity to produce a son, just like Sarah in Genesis, chapter 18:14. Now the plan of God was clear to Mary. She had no reason to fear anything.
Luke then has the Angel Gabriel reveal the whole plan. Just as in Matthew, chapter 1:20, the angel told Joseph that the child conceived in Mary was from the Holy Spirit. Luke did the same here. This Angel Gabriel answered Mary (καὶ ἀποκριθεὶς ὁ ἄγγελος εἶπεν αὐτῇ). He said that the Holy Spirit would come over her (Πνεῦμα Ἅγιον ἐπελεύσεται ἐπὶ σέ). The power of the Most High God would overshadow or envelop her (καὶ δύναμις Ὑψίστου ἐπισκιάσει σοι). Her child would come forth or be born holy (διὸ καὶ τὸ γεννώμενον ἅγιον). He would be called the Son of God (κληθήσεται Υἱὸς Θεοῦ). This was a very theological statement uttered by the Angel Gabriel. This child, Jesus would come about because of the Holy Spirit. Elohim, the most high God, would overshadow her, the way that Yahweh had overshadowed the tent of dwelling with the covenant in Exodus, chapter 37:1-9. This presence of God in Mary would make her pregnant through the power of the Holy Spirit. The unique act of Jesus’ conception was a fully Trinitarian action involving the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit within the womb of Mary. Obviously, the Son, her son, Jesus, would be born as a holy human person, clearly and rightfully called the Son of God. This was a very developed theology of Luke, who always stressed the role of the Holy Spirit in his writings.
According to Luke, Mary was a little put off. She asked this Angel Gabriel (εἶπεν δὲ Μαριὰμ πρὸς τὸν ἄγγελον) how was all this going to happen, since she had not known any man sexually as a virgin (Πῶς ἔσται τοῦτο, ἐπεὶ ἄνδρα οὐ γινώσκω)? Was she questioning or confused? She was concerned about what was going to happen next.
Now comes the kicker. This child Jesus would be special, really special. Luke said that the Angel Gabriel told Mary that her child Jesus would be great (οὗτος ἔσται μέγας). He would be called the Son of the Most High (καὶ Υἱὸς Ὑψίστου κληθήσεται). The Lord God (Κύριος ὁ Θεὸς) will give him (καὶ δώσει αὐτῷ) the throne of his ancestor David (τὸν θρόνον Δαυεὶδ τοῦ πατρὸς αὐτοῦ). This Most High indicated Elohim, one the Hebrew titles for God. Jesus would have the Davidic throne because Joseph was a descendant of David. This was really great news.
Luke has the angel Gabriel reveal his message to Mary. She was going to conceive in her womb (καὶ ἰδοὺ συλλήμψῃ ἐν γαστρὶ). She was going to bring forth and produce a son (καὶ τέξῃ υἱόν). She was to call him with the name Jesus (καὶ καλέσεις τὸ ὄνομα αὐτοῦ Ἰησοῦν). That seems like a simple message. Mary would conceive and bear a son named Jesus. The name Jesus means “Yahweh saves”, quite fitting. The Hebrew name would have been Joshua.
Luke, as in Matthew, said that the angel Gabriel was reassuring Mary, just as the angel had reassured Joseph. Gabriel told her (καὶ εἶπεν ὁ ἄγγελος αὐτῇ), Mary, not to be afraid (Μὴ φοβοῦ, Μαριάμ) because she had found favor or grace with God (εὗρες γὰρ χάριν παρὰ τῷ Θεῷ). Everything was going to be okay.
However, Luke pointed out that Mary was confused, troubled, agitated, or perplexed by these words (ἡ δὲ ἐπὶ τῷ λόγῳ διεταράχθη,) of this angel Gabriel. She was pondering or considering what this kind of greeting meant (καὶ διελογίζετο ποταπὸς εἴη ὁ ἀσπασμὸς οὗτος). She was unaccustomed to this kind of greeting from a human, let alone an angel.
Luke said that this angel Gabriel came to Mary (καὶ εἰσελθὼν πρὸς αὐτὴν). He greeted her with the traditional Greek salutation “Hail” or “I am happy to see you” (Χαῖρε). She was the favored one or the one full of grace (κεχαριτωμένη). The “Lord is with you” (ὁ Κύριος μετὰ σοῦ) is an ancient Hebrew greeting found in Ruth, chapter 2:4, 2 Chronicles, chapter 15:2, Numbers, chapter 14:42, and 1 Samuel, chapter 17:37. The impact of this angelic greeting has had a profound effect on Christian prayer life. The famous simple popular prayer to Mary is often called the “Hail Mary” based on this passage. “Hail Mary! Full of grace! the Lord is with you!” This medieval 11th century Marian Latin prayer “Ave Maria” is the Latin translation of these Greek verses as found in the Latin Vulgate. The second line was “full of grace” or “gratia plena” and the third line was “Dominus vobiscum,” or the “Lord be with you.” This later phrase “Dominus vobiscum,” was and is also part of the ancient and contemporary Roman Catholic Eucharistic Mass service, as a priestly greeting to the congregation. These verses serve as the foundational biblical statements for the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception of Mary, not Jesus.