When God came into the word: Scripture: Luke 1:26-33
The most significant event that ever happened in this world is the event when God came into the world. God the Son entered the world to provide salvation for all who believe. This is the high point of God’s redemptive plan. Paul stated in Galatians 4:4-5 4But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, 5to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship.
How did God come into this world? What were the circumstances when God came? What were the means God used when God came to mankind?
Luke, the historian unfolds for us that great moment when God came.
26In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, 27to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”
29Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 30But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. 31You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. 32He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”
In this narrative, Luke records to us the circumstances surrounding God’s visitation to the earth. First of all, we find that when God came, God used a divine messenger for the announcement.
The divine messenger: Gabriel.
Luke 1:26 In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee
Nobody had seen an angel in over 400 years. Eventually, an angel called Gabriel appeared to a man named Zachariah. Zachariah was a humble priest from the hill country of Judea doing his duty down in the temple, a couple of weeks a year. Gabriel announced to Zechariah that he would go home and have a son with his wife.
This is a shocking announcement because both of them were either in their 70s or 80s, they were old. His wife, Elizabeth was barren. About six months into Elizabeth’s pregnancy Gabriel came back again. The divine messenger came to an obscure town called Nazareth in Galilee.
Thus, we understand from this divine messenger that God communicates to man. If God has to communicate something to man, he will surely find a way to communicate it. In the scripture God spoke directly to the Patriarchs. God spoke to Joseph and Pharaoh through a dream. Moses heard the voice of God in a burning bush. God spoke to Balaam through a donkey. The prophets spoke God’s oracles. God spoke through his angel Gabriel to Daniel, Zechariah, and Elizabeth. Jesus spoke to Paul on the Damascus road.
By the way, how does God communicate to his people today? Through His Word, the scriptures.
Today, God speaks through his word. Coming back, the divine messenger in this text is angel Gabriel.
The divine Choice: Mary.
Luke 1:27b The virgin’s name was Mary.
Specifically, see the stress on the virginity of Mary twice here. Hold on, I will soon come back to Mary’s virginity.
Gabriel came from the presence of Almighty God, down all the way to the land of Israel, the little town of Nazareth, down to a little house where he came in and pronounced the divine blessing to a virgin named Mary. Now, God chose this girl called Mary, probably 13-14 years old, engaged to a young man named Joseph.
Engagement was a legal binding then. Joseph had paid a dowry, a price to her father but the actually wedding was in the future. The engagement period lasted a year and during that period the girl would prove her faithfulness by staying in her father’s house and the boy would prepare a home for them, usually, an addition to his father’s house.
Genealogy of Jesus in Matthew
Now, Joseph was from the bloodline of King David, the great king of Israel. Matthew Chapter 1 gives us the genealogy of Jesus. Now in this genealogy in Matthew, we have what we call a descending record from Abraham through Joseph to Jesus. It comes right on down from David and Abraham, descending down through Joseph to Jesus. Prophesy stated that from David’s line the Messiah, the savior could come. Jesus was Joseph’s son by adoption, no a physical father but a legal father.
Now the virgin’s name is Mary.
Genealogy of Jesus in Luke
Luke records the genealogy of Jesus in his gospel. But the genealogy in Luke is the reverse. It is an ascending genealogy. It starts with Jesus and goes back through Mary all the way back to David and Abraham, finishing in Adam. So in Matthew you have a genealogy coming down through Joseph and in Luke you have a genealogy going back through Mary. One begins with Jesus, the other ends with Jesus. It’s as if the Spirit of God says, “Any way you cut the genealogy through Adam and the seed of the woman through Abraham, Jesus is the one.”
Now, Matthew is showing the legal descent of Jesus as the King of Israel. Luke is showing the lineal or blood descent. In other words, Matthew shows us the royal line, whereas Luke shows us the blood line. You say, “What’s the difference?” The difference is this. The father gives the royal line. It always came through the father. But Jesus had no human father. So in order to have the blood line to reign, he had to be a descendant of David through his mother, as well.
Matthew follows the royal line through David and Solomon, David’s son. Matthew follows it all the way down, he gets to David and then the royal line went through Solomon. But David had other sons, one was Nathan. And Mary’s line came through Nathan. So what you have is one line coming down through David, and then it goes this way through Solomon. Through Nathan you come to Mary and through Solomon you come to Joseph. Both of them of the seed of David.
Friends, Jesus is not just any mythical figure.
So we have the divine choice, Mary, the virgin.
The Divine Blessing: God’s Favor.
Luke 1:28 The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”
God has come down with a message through this angel to this girl. She is God’s choice. Mary has God’s favor. The Lord is with her. There was nothing special about Mary. She was just a virgin and engaged.
So what was the favor Mary received?
Luke 1:28-29 28The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.” 29Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be.
The address of the angel troubled Mary. Luke 1:30 But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. 31You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus.
Just because Gabriel called Mary highly favored and she gave birth to Jesus, many have attributed a divine status to Mary and worship her. We get a glimpse of such thought right in the ministry of Jesus. In Luke 11, a mystery woman in the crowd called Mary blessed when Jesus was talking about the evil spirit and how the evil spirit operates. Luke 11:27 As Jesus was saying these things, a woman in the crowd called out, “Blessed is the mother who gave you birth and nursed you.”
This woman believed that Mary had some divine connotation to her. Jesus immediately corrected her. See Jesus’ response: Luke 11:28 He replied, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.”
Worship of Mary is not Biblical
In a single sentence Jesus was protecting Mary’s true blessedness and protecting us from worshipping Mary. Conceiving and delivering Jesus was definitely a favor no other woman received, but that is not the high favor. Blessedness or to be favored or to be graced is not in the conception and delivery of the Son, rather blessedness is in believing the Son.
So, what was the diving blessing upon Mary?
The greatest favor Mary received was that her sins were forgiven by the child that was in her womb. This child could bring Mary back to God.
The greatest favor I can receive is to have my sins forgiven through repentance and baptism. Acts 2:38 Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins.
Matthew 1:21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins. This is the favor. Jesus will save Mary from her sins.
Luke 1:34 “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?” She only knew one way to conceive and that was to have a relationship with a man. She had never had a relationship with a man, she was a virgin. Now Mary affirms her virginity here in verse 34.
Note: Friends, the Bible gives great emphasis on virginity for men and women and loss of virginity before marriage is sin or adultery before God.
Virginity allows greater usability.
What if Mary had compromised? Mary would never have been the mother of Jesus.
The Pregnant Virgin.
Luke 1:35 35The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.”
Utterly unimaginable, utterly impossible. Luke 1:37 For nothing is impossible with God.”
Friends, this has been prophesied in the Bible. Isaiah 7:14 The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel. The prophet said there will come a day when God will be born in a virgin.
Luke does not refer to Isaiah but Matthew refers to the prophesy of Isaiah when God was dealing regarding the virgin birth to Joseph. Joseph found out Mary was pregnant. He said, “How could Mary do this?”
When Joseph found out Mary was pregnant, his initial reaction was desperation. How could she do this? To be pregnant out of wedlock, to violate an engagement would constitute adultery was punishable by death.
19Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly. 20But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”
22All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 23“The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”). 24When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. 25But he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.
So you have divine blessing, God’s favour upon Mary.
Favor of God is that this child would cleanse Mary from her sins.
God’s favor was that Mary will be the first disciple of Jesus.
Mary’s consent was very important for the virgin birth. Mary had a choice to accept or reject. But God’s favor comes at a cost. It cost Mary to have Jesus in her life. She had the face the ridicule of harsh society because who always kept mocking her because of the virgin birth. Mary had to see her son suffer and die on the cross, it was definitely painful. Discipleship comes at a high cost.
Therefore, the most significant event that ever happened in this world is the event when God came into the world. How did God come into this world? What were the means God used when God came to mankind? We have a divine messenger come to a divine choice, Mary; with a divine message of God’s favor that a divine child will be born to this virgin Mary.