In a very real way, the angel Gabriel was the first evangelizer. How is that so? An evangelizer is someone who brings the Good News about Jesus Christ to others. After Gabriel greeted Mary, Luke tells us that Mary “was much perplexed by his [Gabriel’s] words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be” (Lk 1:29). Mary was deeply troubled so she asked a question: “How can this be, since I know not man?” Then Gabriel explained: “The Holy Spirit will come upon you and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be holy; he will be called Son of God” (Lk 1:35).
These words that Gabriel used about Jesus are the words that the early Church used to proclaim the Gospel in light of its Easter faith, that is, what the Church came to believe about Jesus because of his resurrection. Gabriel’s words actually reflect a standard formula that was used in early Christian preaching about Jesus. Scripture scholars have shown this by comparing this text to others. For example, a similar text is found in Saint Paul’s letter to the Romans, where he speaks of “the gospel concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh and was declared to be Son of God with power” (Rom 1:3–4). The scholars tell us that by using this formula, Luke’s text shows that Gabriel was actually proclaiming the Gospel to Mary. So we can truly say that Gabriel was an evangelizer. And Mary was the first person to hear the Gospel.