Gabriel appears to Zechariah, announcing the birth of John the Baptist. He is sent to Mary announcing the birth of Jesus. An “angel of the Lord” —likely Gabriel—(2.9) appears to the shepherds in the field, announcing the birth of Jesus.
There is reason to think the angels didn’t know about God’s purpose to save through the cross. For the angels, salvation is something “into which angels long to look.” (1 Pt. 1.12)
Gabriel told Mary her son would be “called the Son of the Most High”; God would “give to Him the throne of His father David”; He “would reign over the house of Jacob forever”; His kingdom would have “no end.” (Lk.1.31-33). Not a word about the cross.
When Jesus is presented at the Temple, old Simeon tells Mary her Son would be ultimately consequential, adding, “and a sword shall pierce through your own soul also.” (Lk. 2.35) Still, nothing specific about the cross.
After Jesus began His public ministry Mary and His siblings felt a need to pull Jesus back. (Mk. 3.21-35). Jesus chooses: family is more than blood. Family is shared passion for God.
Imagine you are Mary. You remember the powerful promises of Gabriel! You watched your miracle son lay down his carpenter’s tools to … preach. You pled with Him to rejoin you, presumably for His safety. He didn’t. Now you stand a yard from Him as He bleeds out and suffocates on the cross. How did it come to this?
You loved Him when you didn’t understand Him. You remember. The Shepherds. The boy in the Temple. You remember His public rejection of you. You remember it all. Yet Gabriel’s promises will achieve a different meaning, and soon.
You are Mary. Yet your mother’s love will deepen. Soon your love for Jesus will be love for your Savior. You will be counted among His followers (Acts 1.14). For you, alone, Jesus your Savior is also Jesus your Son. You remember. You remember it all.