THE STUFF CHRISTMAS IS MADE OF

Christmas is the Birth of a Son

Luke 1:26-38

Jerry A Collins

12/11/05

SCC

 

ō      How was Mary found with favor toward God?

ō      What is significant about the titles given to Jesus?

ō      Anything instructive about Maryís response?

 

We often hear the phrase, I have got to see it to believe it. Usually it refers to something that we simply find very hard to believe. So much so, that we demand first hand knowledge before we are convinced of itís validity. For instance, we might say this after we hear he made a hole in one or the Detroit lions are in the super bowl. In our passage an angel delivers some incredible news to Mary. News that we might think would provoke her to say I have got to see it to believe it. However, Mary stands in stark contrast to most of us, as she humbly receives this news and believes that God will deliver a Son through her as He brings His plan to pass. Christmas is the birth of s Son but not just any son. Human yes, vs 31. But also divine vs 35. The birth of the Son of man and the Son of God both a human and a divine nature united in One person. Several keys relate this incredible news to both Mary and us.

1. THE NEWS OF THIS BIRTH IS DELIVERED BY GABRIEL 26-27

(1) The birth of Jesus is filled with supernatural phenomena. For instance, Mt 1:20 the Lord appears to Joseph in a dream. Mt 2:12 also appears to wan maji, Mt 2:13 appears to Joseph to escape to Egypt, Mt 2:19 appears to Joseph to return to Nazareth, Lk 2:9 appears to shepherds to announce the birth. Gabriel has direct access to God and serves as a special messenger and servant. He delivered the prophecy of the end times to Daniel in Dan 8 and delivered news to Zechariah of Johnís birth. Here the whole narrative is filled with the supernatural, the divine. Godís imprint is al over this event. This is no ordinary birth. (2) Gabriel sent to announce Jesusí birth privately to humble woman in rural village. The tone of the setting of this birth matches the tone of His ministry on earth. Nothing here in the setting that would make Jesus stand out as King of Kings and Lord of Lords. God comes incognito. Na serene unadorned package of simplicity. God can be surprising as we learned with Joseph and Zechariah and Elisabeth. Luke had to pinpoint the setting of this birth for his reader since it was an out of the way place for a king to be born. Gabriel appears to a young virgin affirmed by Mary herself vs 34. She legally belongs to Joseph and he is even called her husband in Mt 1. The point though is that God will do an unprecedented work in this virgin from the backwoods of Israel who is legally bound to a man from the line of David vs 27. All of this info sets up the announcement to come. So the ultimate basis of Christian faith is not independent reason but supernatural revelation. A supernatural word that is spoken and written. To Mary but also to so many others and then to us in the Bible.

2. THE BIRTH WILL BE BY A MIRACULOUS CONCEPTION

First, Gabriel says Mary has found favor with God 28-30. He greets her as a recipient of Gods favor and assures her of Gods presence with her. God is certainly involved with her, at her side, near to her. The announcement has not been made yet but these initial remarks unsettle her as she mulled over what kind of greeting this was. Both Joseph and Mary were told not to be afraid vs 30; Mt 1:20. Both had received startling visitations. Here there is no need to be fearful since she is one who has found favor with God. We know this to be true because God is about to use her in a profound way as He does with others who have found Hs favor like Noah. Jabez prayed that he would find favor with God. God simply acts because of His own kind and benevolent nature toward us. Second, Mary will miraculously conceive a son who will reign as King forever 31-33! Wow! Jesus sojourn here begins by a supernatural conception and ends with a miraculous resurrection. Both the beginning and the end demonstrate the glory, power and honor of God in Christ. Both Joseph and Mary are told to name him Jesus vs 31 and Mt 1:21. Mary received further information about her sons future. 32-33 describe his ministry. (1) He is called simply great. Jesus is an extremely important figure before God but His greatness is really defined by further descriptions in this context. (2) Son of the most high is simply another way to say Son of God. The use of this phrase connects this birth with regal expectations. A king is about to be born. As Jesus birth is announced, regal imagery abounds to describe the coming Messiah. (3) Jesusí origins in King Davidís line and the permanence of His reign receive attention now. He is to receive the throne of his father David. This connection to king David seems to be made thru Jesus relationship with Joseph 1:27. (4) Jesus not only has a regal position vs 32 but also has a realm and an everlasting reign vs 33. The phrase house of Jacob is another way to refer to the nation of Israel, the father of the tribes of that nation. The Davidic king comes to his own whether or not they recognize him. And how this theocratic relationship works itself out, how the nation responds to it, and how God deals with the response is another major burden of Lukeís work. (5) The duration of Jesusí rule is forever. The details are not presented here, only the facts. Nothing will overcome Jesus or bring a halt to his reign. Luke-Acts makes clear that neither official Jewish rejection not crucifixion will stop the plan of God for his Davidic king. We do not worship a babe in a manger but a savior on a throne. We are on the winning side even though these humble origins and remote events ma say otherwise.

3. THE MIRACULOUS WORK OF GOD REQUIRES FAITH

First, Mary asks and learns this birth results from the creative power of God by means of the HS 34-35. Mary was pondering vs 29 and now is puzzled vs 34. She apparently understands this announcement as an immediate pregnancy vs 28 & 30. She raises the question then and Gabriel elaborates (1) that there will be direct divine involvement in the conception vs 35. Godís Spirit is he active and life-giving agent. God can create life without a sexual act. (2) The overshadowing refers to Godís glorious presence before his people as he did when his glory overshadowed the tabernacle in Ex 40. (3) A divine person with both a human and divine nature will be bornóthe Son of God. Second, Mary received confirmation of this birth and submits to God 36-38. Her relatives pregnancy shows nothing is impossible with God 36. Even this announcement is not beyond Godís power 37. Mary responds with submission and obedience 38. It is always obedience to the Word of God. The same is true for today. Such obedience might involve her in potential problems with Joseph and with her reputation. There is risk in agreeing to go Godís way but as the Lordís servant she willingly goes. His job completed the angel departs.

(1) God graciously works to fulfill His promise to delver his people. He did that with the birth and his grace to deliver today is still bound up in His Son, Jesus. The gospel is it! (2) Jesus is the only hope of humanity. His birth points to his uniquenessóhis regal authority, fulfills Godís promise and embodies godís activity on our behalf. (3) Believe that God has the power to bring his plan to pass. God can do great things for his cause and can use anyone or anything to accomplish it.