The first thing we need to note about Mary’s response to the announcement by the angel Gabriel that she would have a child is that although she was probably no older than 14, she was no naive child. She knew what it took to have a baby, and so she immediately proclaimed, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?” Gabriel responds by telling her that the conception will be miraculous by the power of the Holy Spirit.
I doubt that Mary had any idea what that meant — just as we cannot fully understand it today — but nonetheless, knowing it would highly complicate her life and her relationship with Joseph, she responded, “I am the Lord’s servant, so do to me as you please.” That, my friends, was an incredibly brave statement of faith.
But Mary’s response is not the only evidence of her innocence. Further evidence can be found in Luke’s account. Let’s continue reading:
39 Without delay, Miryam set out and hurried to the town in the hill country of Y’hudah
40 where Z’kharyah lived, entered his house and greeted Elisheva.
41 When Elisheva heard Miryam’s greeting, the baby in her womb stirred. Elisheva was filled with the Ruach HaKodesh
42 and spoke up in a loud voice, “How blessed are you among women! And how blessed is the child in your womb!
43 “But who am I that the mother of my Lord should come to me?
44 “For as soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy!
45 “Indeed you are blessed, because you have trusted that the promise Adonai has made to you will be fulfilled.”
Notice that the innocence of Mary is attested to over and over again in these particular verses. For example, the first thing they tell us is that Mary ran to a relative, Elizabeth, to share with her the good news of her pregnancy. Let me ask you, how many pregnant unwed girls have you ever seen behave in that manner? They are normally overwhelmed with shame, and the last people they want to know about their situation are their relatives!
And her innocence is further confirmed by the fact that she chose a priestly family to share the news with! The significance of this is that Elizabeth’s husband, Zacharias, was a priest. If Mary were pregnant by fornication, it would have been the responsibility of Zacharias to report her and have her tried and stoned to death.
I think Mary’s innocence is also confirmed by the reaction of Elizabeth when she cried out “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!” She did that before Mary could even tell her the purpose of her visit!
The passage says she did it under the anointing of the Holy Spirit. In other words, Elizabeth was given a supernatural word of knowledge, and this must have served as a confirmation to Mary of the message that Gabriel had given her.
And further confirmation is supplied by John the Baptist who at that time was still in the womb of his mother, Elizabeth. He began to leap with joy in his mother’s womb when Mary arrived, because he sensed the presence of the Messiah!
What other clues do the Scriptures give us that show Mary was innocent? We’ll look at them and some of the world’s objections in the next installment of this “Truth of the Virgin Birth” series.