A message summary of February 25, 2018 from Assistant Pastor Travis Jackson:
In the Garden of Eden, Satan tricked Adam and Eve to eat of the forbidden fruit of the tree of good and evil. Adam and Eve disobeyed and disregarded God’s word to not eat of the tree, and through their disobedience sin, suffering and death entered this world. That was the fall of man; the fall of humanity. Scripture says, “For as in Adam all [died]” (1 Cor. 15:22). And because of Adam’s sin every human is born with a sinful nature; every human is born with a heart that naturally rebel against God. People are spiritually bent towards sin instead of holiness. Regarding Adam and Eve sin, God promised to rectify the damaging effects of the fall of man by sending someone who was to be the second Adam and to “destroy the works of the devil” (1 John 3:8). He made that promised in Genesis 3:15. God said to Satan, who was in the form of a serpent, “I will put enmity between you and the women and, between your [seed] and her [seed]; he shall bruise your head and you shall bruise his heel.” That seed, was a prophecy of the coming Messiah, the coming King, the Suffering Servant, the Son of God, Jesus of Nazareth.
Throughout Scripture, God the Father has repeatedly promised to send his Son. He has made this promised speaking to Moses, saying, “I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers. And I will put my words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him” (Deut. 18:18; Acts 3:22). He has made a promised speaking to David that he will send his Son to sit upon David’s throne forever. He said to David, “I will raise up your offspring after you, who shall come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son” (2 Samuel 7:13-14). In Psalms 2:7-8, the Holy Spirit prophesied through David saying, “The Lord said to me, ‘You are my Son; today I have begotten you. Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage and the ends of the earth your possession.”
Those promises came true. And the last person to hear an announcement of the coming Messiah was a young girl name Mary. She was a participant and bearer of that announcement.
Luke tells us of this promised announcement in his gospel. The story begins in verse 26:
Luke 1:26-33 ESV
In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, ‘Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!’ But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be. And the angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.
As I was reading this passage throughout this week, I found several key themes that are important to acknowledge. 1. The fulfillment of God’s promises. God is bound to fulfill the promises he has made; he cannot go against his word. As I just explained, God promised to send his Son before the beginning of time. Jesus was always the begotten Son of God (cf. Proverbs 8:22-31). Period. In the mind of God, before the foundation of the world, God predestined to send his Son. The fulfillment of God promises is the overarching theme for Luke 1:26-56.
Jesus illustrates the second key theme and how God fulfills his promises. In the last chapter of Luke’s gospel, Luke 24:44 Jesus explained to his disciples that he fulfilled Old Testament scripture. After his resurrection Jesus said to his disciples, “that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” That is, he “interpreted to them . . . all the Scriptures the things concerning himself” (Luke 24:27). The Old Testament speaks of his incarnations, his obedient like, his purpose to suffer upon a cross, his death and resurrections, and ascension into heaven. Therefore, Jesus was willing to be sent to earth, to be born as a human.
According to Luke 1:26, Luke gives us a timeline and location of which Jesus was to be conceived. He writes, “In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth” (Luke 1:26). I have just mentioned to you how God must have fulfilled his promises. One of those promises was to send the Messiah’s forerunner, John the Baptist. John was to prepare the hearts of the people that they may turn to the Lord (Malachi 3:1; Luke 1:17). Therefore, God sent the angel Gabriel to Zechariah the priest telling him that he and his wife, Elizabeth, will conceive in their old age. They were to bear the Lord’s forerunner. Zechariah and Elizabeth were probably in their early 70s or 80s and Elizabeth was barren before she conceived. Despite all odds the were to give birth. It was a miracle. It was something that cannot be explained by scientifically. In their younger life, they prayed for a child, preferably a son, to be the heir of their estate. God used their prayer to kill two birds with one stone. He gave them a child and fulfilled his promised of sending Elijah. He promised that he would send Elijah and he did; he sent John the Baptist in the spirit and power of Elijah, according to chapter 1 verse 17. Zechariah and Elizabeth prayed for a child and God delivered. Like the song writer, Deitrick Haddon sings “God is able to do just what he said he would do. He’s going to fulfill every promise to you. Don’t give up on God, because he won’t give up on you. He is able” If you read verse 24 it says, “Elizabeth conceived, and for five months she kept herself hidden” (Luke 1:24). So, Luke writes, “In the sixth month.” The sixth month simply indicates a time frame of Jesus birth and the length of months of Elizabeth’s pregnancy. This means John was six months older than his cousin, Jesus.
So, God sent Gabriel to Nazareth a month later, on the “the sixth month”, to a virgin named Mary. Gabriel’s ministry was to deliver God’s divine messages to people. Gabriel was like God’s news anchor. This isn’t Gabriel’s first rodeo show. He delivered a message to Daniel concerning the nation of Israel (cf. Daniel 9). Gabriel delivered a message to Zechariah the priest concerning John the Baptist. Now, God sent Gabriel to deliver a message to the virgin Mary who lived in Nazareth—that the Son of God was coming.
Nazareth was not a city or a town. It was a village. It was removed from the Jewish culture; 75 miles away from the capital city of Jerusalem. It was better known as Galilee than Nazareth. Since Luke was writing to Gentile readers they would have quickly identified Galilee as the location of Jesus’ birth instead of Nazareth. Plus, Galilee was called the nation of Gentiles (Isa. 9:1). This is a beautiful imagery. Galilee was the place where Jesus started his ministry. And that small village, a very obscured place, represented salvation for the Jews and the Gentiles. In the words of Isaiah 49:6, “It is too light a thing that you should be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob and to bring back the preserved of Israel; I will make you as a light for the nations, that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth.” This is a beautiful imagery because salvation started in a mundane village called Nazareth and was known as Galilee and it has spread to every home in the world. That is, salvation came from a small village to your very home. How marvelous is that?
When God sent Gabriel, “he . . . sent [him] to a virgin who was betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. God sent Gabriel to one person, Mary. The virgin Mary was betrothed to Joseph. I know the New American Standard Bible says, Mary was engaged to a man name Joseph. And the NIV translation says, the virgin Mary was pledged to be married to a man name Joseph. The words engage and pledge doesn’t do the text justice because engagements and pledges can be broken. Mary and Joseph were legally married. It was a legal biding contract. That is, their families arranged the marriage without the Mary’s permission. And if Joseph died, Mary would’ve been considered a widow (MacArthur, gty.org). Arranged marriages still happen today in many cultures. Sometimes I think we should practice arranged marriages for our kids. This will make it easier for both parents and grandparents. (humor) Unfortunately, we do not practice arranged marriages in our culture.
Well, this is exactly what Mary’s parents did for her; Mary’s consent wasn’t needed. The legal age for a Jewish girl to marry was young as twelve and she would’ve been considered a person coming of age. At age twelve or older, puberty would have come for the girl allowing her to have the ability to birth a child. We consider teenagers legal adults at the age of eighteen. Nonetheless, Mary was married to Joseph, he was probably in his late teens early twenties. The groom’s family would have paid a dowry to the bride’s family. What is a dowry? A dowry is a price for the groom to pay to marry the bride. Men, how many of you gave money to your father-in-law so that you may marry his daughter. Many of us may think paying a dowry is repressive and demeaning towards women. And it can be whenever if it is practice incorrectly. However, whenever a man pays a dowry for his bride, the groom is saying “I will give all that I own to have her” Many middle eastern cultures practice this today, as you know our culture do not; however, God does. Do you know God has paid a dowry for you? Christ is viewed as the groom who has purchase us by dying on the cross for the sins of his bride, the church. 1 Corinthians 6:20 says, “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price.” Nevertheless, Joseph paid a dowry for Mary. They were wedded and there were no sexually relations between them until a year after. Normally the groom would take a year to prepare a house for his bride and then they would consummate the marriage. The only way to break their marriage was divorce.
In Luke 1:27 says, Joseph was of the house of David. This means Joseph was a descendant of David, so was Mary. Here is Joseph, a young man who was not aware that God was using him in a divine way. Joseph was unaware of God’s plan to choose him to be the foster-parent of Jesus, to be Jesus’ step-father. He was a just man according to the Bible standards. God promised beforehand that the Messiah would be a descendant of David. He knew that Joseph was a descendant of David. He had royal blood in his veins. Since God made that promised to David; he knew Joseph was a just man and was willing to accept Jesus as his adopted Son. This made Jesus the legal heir to David’s throne (Matthew 1:16). And Mary was a descendant of David by blood, which made Jesus an heir to the throne by blood. We will develop this thought further in verse 33.
According to Luke 1:28-29, the angel Gabriel came to Mary and said, “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you. But she was greatly troubled at the saying and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be.” This is an interesting encounter between the angel Gabriel and Mary. Do you remember when Gabriel appeared to Zechariah and he said, “Do not be afraid Zechariah” (Luke 1:13). And he was terrified at the sight of Gabriel who was standing on the right side of the altar. He did not know want to say. He couldn’t believe that an angel appeared to him. Therefore, Gabriel said to Zechariah, “Do not be afraid.” But here in verse 28, he said, “Greetings!” He said, “Hello”, Mary. She was afraid at the sight of Gabriel, and she was puzzled. She didn’t know why Gabriel appeared to her. Have you ever thought about the place where Gabriel appeared to Mary? Gabriel appeared to Zechariah inside the temple while he was performing his priestly duties. At first, I thought Gabriel appeared to her while she was traveling to her cousin’s house. At the time, Mary was a young teenager. And like all teenagers growing up in a conservative Jewish culture, she would have been at home. Many of you may be thinking why is this important to know. How would you feel if you found a stranger in your house? What if the angel Gabriel appeared to you while you are at home watching TV or taking a shower? Whatever Mary was doing at the time Gabriel appeared, he simply said, hello, and Mary receive him politely. Scripture says, “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angles” (Hebrews 13:2).
Gabriel said, “Greetings, O favored one.” In the NIV translation says, “Greetings, you who are highly favored.” Saying, “highly favored” is very expressive in describing Mary. My brother Melvin said, the NIV has a dynamic way of communicating Scripture. You will hear Roman Catholics say this prayer to the virgin Mary:
Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the our of our death. Amen.
Roman Catholics believe that Mary was a dispenser of grace; she was the giver of grace. They have given Mary the title co-redemptrix which mean she is a partaker in the redemption of man. That she can save men from their sins since she is the biological mother of Jesus. Therefore, they believe Mary was “full of grace.” But the word favored doesn’t mean that she was filled with grace. It means that God has bestowed grace upon her. He is the giver of grace and he is the one who has blessed Mary. This is how God respond to all people who he favors. Whenever God shows favor upon a person’s life it has nothing to do with the individual. It is even up to the grace of God even when someone asked for salvation. Therefore, Paul said, “for by grace you have being saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9). This applied to Mary. She couldn’t boast to anyone that God favored her. She too needed a savior. In verse 46, Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant” (Luke 1:46-48). There is nothing special about Mary other than fact that she was chosen by God to bring forth God’s Son. In verse 42, Mary cousin, Elizabeth said, “Blessed are you among women.” However, she was blessed because who she was, she was blessed because she was chosen by God to be the mother of the Savior. She was an instrument in God’s hands. One pastor said, “The issue here is not Mary’s worthiness; the issue here is God’s choice. The issue here is not Mary’s merit; the issue here is God’s sovereignty” (MacArthur, gty.org).
As the conversation continued between Gabriel and Mary, verses 30 and 31 says, Gabriel said, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. Mary was afraid, perplex, and confused at what Gabriel was saying. He said, “Mary, . . . you will conceive in your womb and bear a son.” Here is a young girl at home alone receiving news that she will bear a son without knowing a man. She a virgin. Now I believe she knew that the coming Messiah would be born of a virgin, but I don’t think she thought that she would be the virgin chosen by God. Fascinating. Every Jewish person understood the prophecy of the coming Messiah. I am sure she read Isaiah 7:14, which says, “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” Immanuel means God is with us. And Jesus’ name means God saves.
The development of baby inside a woman is a fascinating reality. It is natural but a foreign process. Think about it. Where was that child before he or she started developing in the womb? Why was this child was chosen? Doctors can tell you how babies are conceiving and develop in the womb but they cannot they why it is design the way it is. Overall, the entire process is a mysterious. I told Liz Eaves, whenever Crystal and I have a child and it is time for her to deliver, I will not be down there watching. I will be at Crystal’s shoulder encouraging her on to deliver the baby. I think whenever females give birth to another person, it is otherly. It is natural but an alien process. Another human being is coming into this world. I know that whenever a child delivered its a joyful moment; however, I am glad God designed me to be a man.
The story of the virgin birth is not crucial to know to receive salvation; however, part of the Christian faith hinges on Jesus being born of a virgin. For theological reasons, it is detrimental to understand the virgin birth so that we can comprehend the deity of Christ—the God-man. The word “virgin” is the Greek word parthenos. It means a person who had no sexual relations. This word is never used for married women. Luke mentioned Mary’s virginity two times. But why? I am glad you asked. If Jesus would have been born in the natural way, between a man and a woman he would’ve been only human, not God. Furthermore, he would not have been sinless; he wouldn’t have been betrayed as the spotless lamb of God who took away the sins of the world. Therefore, he would not have been God’s son.
In verse 31, Luke writes, “And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus.” Luke writes about the birth of Christ with straightforward words and he does not use lofty or mysterious words to communicate to his readers. In fact, he communicates to his readers with such simplicity that toddlers and teenagers can understand how Jesus was conceived. “There is nothing man-made about this” (MacArthur, gty.org). There is no mentioning of that the Holy Spirit having sexual relations with Mary. This passage is simple to read; however, it is pact with such profound theological truths that no one will ever understand how God became a man; how the second person of the Trinity allowed himself to be incarnated in human flesh. If we don’t understand the mysterious reality of a child developing in the womb, how do you think we would comprehend how God became a man—the God-man? We must accept this truth as it is which is a mysterious miracle. Paul understood this truth. Paul said, “[Jesus] is the image of the invisible God” (Col. 1:15; 2 Cor. 4:4). Philippians 2:6. The writer of Hebrews understood this truth. He says, “[Jesus] is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature.” Last time I told y’all that God had divinely intervened in the life of Zechariah and Elizabeth, here, he not only intervened in Mary’s life, but in human history. The God-man stepped into time and space to be born of a virgin.
Moreover, here is another reason why today’s sermon is titled: The Promised Announcement. Because God promised David that someone would sit upon his throne forever. This point will be developed further in verse 33
- “Brothers, I may say to you with confidence about the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day.”
- Revelation 21:2-4 speaks about the millennium kingdom of God.