Sermon Notes & References

Birth Announcement

Luke 1:26-38

December 16, 2018

A. The Context

    1. The Time-Table 1

    2. Mary’s Visit & Magnificat

 

B. Gabriel – verse 26

    1. His Name

    2. His Standing 2

    3. His Destination

 

C. Mary – verse 27

    1. Joseph’s Standing 3

    2. Mary’s Status 4

 

D. Gabriel’s Greeting & Its Effect – verses 28-30

    1. A Propitious Entrance

    2. Mary Ponders

    3. Gabriel’s Assurance

 

E. Jesus Announced – verses 30-33

    1. Terrible & Tremendous News

    2. His Name & Reign 5

 

F. The Difficulty Explained – verses 34-37

    1. An Obvious Question – How?

    2. An Irrefutable Answer – God!

 

G. Mary’s Submission – verse 38

    1. The Lord’s Handmaid

    2. Accepting the Cost

 

H. Some Lessons


1 Luke 1:26-38                                                 Birth Announcement

 

A. The Context

    1. The Time-Table

        a. we could have entitled today’s message ‘Birth Announcements’, in the plural because there are two such announcements in this chapter

        b. the other was to Zacharias, a priest, while he served in the temple

            (A)    we are told that he was of the course of Abijah

            (B)    1 Chronicles 24:10 tells us this is the eighth group of priests, and those in it would serve in about early ‘August’

            (C)   he was told that his wife, Elizabeth, though old and barren, would give birth to a son, to be named John, the forerunner to Messiah

        c. but today we are focussing on the second announcement which took place at least six months later, perhaps the next ‘February or March’

 

    2. Mary’s Visit & Magnificat

        a. then the chapter also covers some events that followed that second announcements, and particularly Mary’s visit to Elizabeth, a cousin

        b. Elizabeth’s testimony

            (A)    when Mary entered & greeted her, Elizabeth cried out

            (B)    why – because the baby had leapt within her

            (C)   & the Holy Spirit revealed to her Mary as the mother of her Lord

            (D)   showing that the second birth announcement was valid indeed

        c. Mary’s Confession

            (A)    this was followed by Mary’s own hymn of praise, the Magnificat

            (B)    in which she implicitly confesses her need of God’s saving work

            (C)   God is her Saviour; she is His a slave; His work in her one of mercy

            (D)   in that hymn, she reveals her knowledge and understanding of the Scriptures, much of it being quotations or allusions to them

        d. with those subsequent facts in mind we can now look at our text

 

B. Gabriel – ‘Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city in Galilee, called Nazareth,’ – verse 26

    1. His Name

        a. one of the Messiah’s names was El Gibbor, « ‘God of might’ »

        b. this angel’s name, Gabriel, is the same in reverse: « ‘mighty one of God’ »

        c. which should right away give us an idea of …

 

    2. His Standing

        a. to emphasise his message to Zecharias, he ‘… answered and said to him, “I am Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God; and I have been sent to speak to you, and to bring you this good news.’ (Luke 1:19)

        b. the only other information of Gabriel is his being sent to Daniel

            (A)    to explaine Daniel’s vision to him (Daniel 8:16), and,

            (B)    in answer to Daniel’s prayer to give understanding (Daniel 9:21)

 

    3. His Destination

        a. the word angel (in Greek and its Hebrew equivalent) means « ‘messenger’ »

        b. and the message he carried was not to the city of Jerusalem

        c. but to the city – little more than a town – of Nazareth

        d. in one of the backwater & ill-considered northern tribes

 

C. Mary – ‘to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the descendants of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary.’ – verse 27

    1. Joseph’s Standing

        a. he was engaged to Mary

            (A)    in Jewish society this was a contract that had the force of law

            (B)    it could only be broken by divorce

            (C)   he was effectively her husband, legally father of her children

        b. he was a direct descendant of David

            (A)    Messiah was promised a descendant of David (2 Samuel 7:12)

            (B)    inheritance of the kingship was always through male line

 

    2. Mary’s Status

        a. she is the de jure wife of Joseph, for the same reason as above

        b. but she is a virgin: the Greek word leaves no other possibility

        c. when Isaiah 7:14, ‘... Behold, a virgin will be with child …’ was translated into Greek, this is the word that was used – so that while technically the Hebrew word could have been translated ‘maiden’, the translators did not, but rendered it according to its use elsewhere in the OT

        d. so Mary qualified to fulfil the prophetic word of God


 

D. Gabriel’s Greeting & Its Effect – ‘And coming in, he said to her, “Hail, favoured one! The Lord is with you.[you are blessed among women]” But she was greatly troubled at this statement, and kept pondering what kind of salutation this might be. And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; for you have found favour with God.’ – verses 28-30

    1. A Propitious Entrance

        a. picture the scene: the angel appears at her door, and with the courtesy of the East, is invited and comes in, and utters these momentous words – I like the casual title Wil Pounds gave to his sermon on this passage: “Gabriel Came by Today”! 2 – don’t be surprised when God acts!

        b. every word he speaks should set Mary’s mind at rest

            (A)    Hail – a greeting but also a command for her to rejoice

            (B)    you are favoured, God is with you, you are highly blessed

            (C)   there is nothing there to raise concerns

 

    2. Mary Ponders

        a. consider how this news would strike Mary

            (A)    she was probably very young

            (B)    being betrothed by the middle teens was the norm for a woman

            (C)   living in Nazareth, a working town, she was not likely rich

        b. so it should be no surprise that she pondered the angel’s words 

            (A)    being called especially favoured

            (B)    being told of God’s special presence with her

            (C)   and how long, I wonder, did it take to sink in that this was no man before her, but the angel of God?

 

    3. Gabriel’s Assurance

        a. ‘Do not fear’ – perhaps with these words, spoken elsewhere by angels, his angelic appearance also became apparent

        b. now he repeats: she has found favour, or grace, with God

        c. the Romanist song, Ave Maria, says quite the opposite: ‘Hail Mary, full of grace’ – as though she was the provider of grace – no, she is instead the humble recipient of God’s grace as her Magnificat makes clear

 

E. Jesus Announced – ‘And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; for you have found favour with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb, and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David; and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever; and His kingdom will have no end.”’ – verses 30-33

    1. Terrible & Tremendous News

        a. Mary, you are going to have a son

        b. no wonder the introduction to prepare her for this news:

            (A)    that she is favoured, favoured by God

            (B)    that God is with her

            (C)   that she is not to be afraid

        c. these are fearful enough words to a father, much more so to this mother to be, Mary, in her innocent state

        d. yes this was certainly a momentous event for this young woman

        e. but there is more to come – this is not just any baby!

 

    2. His Name & Reign

        a. the name of the Son is given

            (A)    without its explanation given later to Joseph, her espoused husband

            (B)    Jesus – or, as it is pronounced in by Jewish Christians, Yeshua‘

                 (1)    that is how they then said the OT name of Joshua

                 (2)    which was but the short form of Yehoshua‘, Yah will save

            (C)   you need not fear, Mary; nor feel shame, for He is your Saviour

        b. He will be great –

            (A)    how great? Great enough to be given another name …

            (B)    … Son of the Most High – the Son of God

            (C)   how great? Given the throne of His ancestor, King David

            (D)   how great? David’s throne was possessed by Herod the Edomite who was nearing his end as king – but this Boy was to reign forever over an everlasting kingdom

        c. but that means this Son, this Boy … is Messiah!

        d. He is the fulfilment of the OT promises:

            (A)    Isaiah 9:7 — He will sit on David’s throne

            (B)    2 Samuel 7:12-13, 16 — He will establish David’s house

            (C)   Micah 4:7 — He will reign over Jacob

            (D)   Daniel 7:14 — His kingdom is eternal

 

F. The Difficulty Explained – ‘And Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?” And the angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy offspring shall be called the Son of God. And behold, even your relative Elizabeth has also conceived a son in her old age; and she who was called barren is now in her sixth month. For nothing will be impossible with God.”’ – verses 34-37

    1. An Obvious Question – How?

        a. Mary was a pure, innocent, chaste young woman; but not naïve

            (A)    the angels announcement puts her in an intellectual quandary

            (B)    she knows her own self

                 (1)    not just the purity of the life that she has followed

                 (2)    but also the purity of the life that she intends to follow

                 (3)    not even the angel’s message will compromise her standards!

            (C)   so she asks, fearfully perhaps, ‘How?’

 

        b. Rev. John Piper comments on her words, “… grace does not always come with a welcome face. The highest and most precious gifts of God do not always come to us in attractive colours. Grace can perplex. Grace can frighten. The grace of healing may have the face, of a hypodermic needle or a surgeon’s knife. The grace of patience may have the face of pain. The grace of humility may have the face of defeat. O, how we need to learn from Mary not to lash out at God for the frightening forms of grace. Instead like her we ought to wait and ‘consider in our minds’ how this strange event might be grace. 3

 

    2. An Irrefutable Answer – God!

        a. Gabriel takes her eyes off of herself and onto God

        b. this is where all those who refuse to admit the virgin birth fall into error

            (A)    they view it from man’s perspective

            (B)    to them a virgin birth is a strange and unnatural thing

            (C)   but since they often also refuse to admit that God is the Creator, it is little wonder they limit His ability

        c. but Gabriel simply focuses attention on God Himself, and we find here the Three Persons of the One God involved:

            (A)    God Himself, the Holy Spirit will accomplish this

            (B)    God Himself, the Highest, the Father has the power

            (C)   God Himself, the Holy One, the Son will, as we said before, will invade time-space, as the man Christ Jesus

            (D)   in that wonderful, pivotal event that we know as the Incarnation, John 1:14 (NAS): And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.

            (E)    and, Mary, if you still have any doubts, look at your kinswoman Elizabeth — you know she is getting on in years; you know that she has been barren; well, Mary, she is having a son; yes, Elizabeth is having a son

        d. “For with God nothing will be impossible.”

 

G. Mary’s Submission – ‘And Mary said, “Behold, the bondslave of the Lord; be it done to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.’ – verse 38

    1. The Lord’s Handmaid

        a. this is a very Jewish expression of submission to God

        b. ‘Let God’s will be done’ – words her Son would echo many years later as He prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane

        c. these words are so simple and easy for us to read this morning,

            (A)    they are beautiful sounding and tug at our hearts and emotions

            (B)    but they show God’s working of grace in this young, Jewish girl

 

    2. Accepting the Cost

        a. Rev. Bruce Goettsche lists the risks she faced 4

            (A)    she was being asked to risk her engagement; and life!

            (B)    she was risking the dowry paid to her father

            (C)   she was risking being cast away and disowned by her father and disgrace to her family

            (D)   she was being asked to give birth to the “Son of the Most High” which is something no one else has ever done.

        b. the words of her fellow villagers later, as well as the rulers’ innuendo spoken to Jesus Himself, shows that those risks were vey real

        c. yet, her response was: ‘God: it’s Your plan; I trust You; I’m ready’

        d. and gained great privilege, being willing to pay the price

 

H. Some Lessons

    1. what an example Mary is to us of faith, trust, submission

    2. we do not worship Mary, but we should honour her

    3. how great is the wisdom of God shown in His choice of this vessel through whom He brought His Son into the world!


Footnotes

Endnotes

1

© 2018 by Garth Hutchinson, Faith Fellowship Baptist Church of Aurora (Ontario): may be distributed or quoted freely, only let this be done to the glory “of the great God and our Saviour, Jesus Christ” (Titus ii.13). Except as noted otherwise, quotations are from the New American Standard version, used by permission. Various other English versions of the Holy Bible may be used in this sermon. Explanatory additions to the Bible text are shown in [braces]. Version identifiers are:

              AV          Authorized (King James) Version of 1769

              NAS        New American Standard version © 1960, 1995 The Lockman Foundation (usually the 1995 edition)

              NIV         New International Version © 1984 by the International Bible Society

              NKJV              New King James Version © 1979 Thomas Nelson Inc., Publishers

       NRSV             New Revised Standard Version © 1989 Division of Christian Education of national Council of Churches of Christ

       JBP         The New Testament in Modern English, J. B. Phillips, Geoffrey Bles Ltd

       UBS        Greek text of the United Bible Societies; particularly that published in 1954 by The British and Foreign Bible Society

       WEY               The New Testament in Modern Speech © 1902, 1912 R. F. Weymouth

Some of the commentaries and resources used in the preparation of this message are identified as follow:

       Barnes –  Notes on the New Testament by Alfred E. Barnes

       Calvin –   Commentaries on the Bible, by Jean Calvin; translated into English & published in the Online Bible.

       EB   -      The Expositor’s Bible, edited by Sir William Robertson Nicoll, C.H., D.D., LL.D., 1903

       EBC             The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, © 1986 Zondervan, Grand Rapids, 49530, MI:

       EGT             The Expositor’s Greek Testament, Hodder & Stoughton; 1903

       Gill       Exposition of the Old Testament, Exposition of the New Testament, by John Gill, D.D.

       JFB  -      Commentary on the Old and New Testaments, Jamieson, Fausset & Brown; S. S. Scranton & Co. 1872

       Kerux –   The sermon & illustration data base compiled by Rev. David Holwick at the web-site, www.holwick.com.

       RWP             Robertson’s Word Pictures of the New Testament, by Dr. A. T. Robertson

2

Message by Rev. Wil Pounds, South McGehee Baptist Church; McGehee, Arkansas – Holwick sermons #15460

3

‘Christ Conceived by the Holy Spirit,’ Rev. John Piper, Bethlehem Baptist Church – Kerux sermons #3577

4

“Christmas Surprises” by Rev. Bruce Goettsche, Union Church ( Congregational); La Harpe, Illinois – Holwick sermons #605