The Best Birth Announcement Ever
BIG IDEA | “Will you trust the promise and power of God?”
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Hundreds of years before the nativity scene we are all familiar with, God made a promise to His people through the prophet Isaiah. He promised to send a Savior who would deliver all humanity from sin and oppression, bring peace to a war-torn world, and rule with justice and righteousness forever.
Through this promise, hope was instilled in the hearts of God’s people and the waiting and anticipation began. But time went by and the generation to whom the promise was made had long died. Many surely wondered if God would keep His promise and if so, when?
Then something majestic happened, as told in the first chapter of Luke.
"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.” (v. 26-27)
The significance of this appearance is huge. Gabriel is one of only two angels ever named in the Bible. He had established his credibility earlier in this same chapter when he announced to the priest Zachariah, “I stand in the presence of God.”
Mary, on the other hand, is an ordinary girl in the obscure village of Nazareth. She is a virgin, betrothed to a man named Joseph. According to the custom of that day, this would have made her most likely no more than about 12 years old.
God sends a blazing heavenly being to deliver the most amazing news imaginable not to a religious or political leader in a large city, but to a humble child!
“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.” (v. 28-29)
Mary wasn’t nearly as shocked by Gabriel’s appearance as she was by his greeting to her. How could she – a nobody from a nothing town – be favored by God? She was understandably confused.
“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.’ ” (v. 30-33)
Gabriel doesn’t leave her in suspense but explains why she is favored, speaking words that are almost identical to the promise God had made through Isaiah all those years ago.
“And Mary said to the angel, ‘How will this be, since I am a virgin?’” (v. 34)
To her credit, Mary doesn’t doubt. She believes the power of God, but wonders about the details; how will this come about?
“And the angel answered her, ‘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 called holy—the Son of God. And behold, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. For nothing will be impossible with God.’” (v. 35-37)
Gabriel explains that the Holy Spirit will supernaturally conceive this baby inside her womb. To underscore God’s capability to accomplish this, he tells her that her relative, Elizabeth, whom Mary would have known to be barren and past her child-bearing years, is six months pregnant. He closes his announcement with an amazing testament to God’s power: “For nothing will be impossible with God."
Three times throughout this passage, the text notes that Mary is a virgin. This is an important, though mysterious, detail in the account of Christ’s conception. It is impossible for us to humanly explain which has made it a stumbling block for many.
However, the virgin birth is the primary factor pointing to Jesus’ holiness. If Jesus had an earthly biological father, He wouldn’t be the son of God that verse 37 claims He is. If discount or dismiss the virgin birth we lose the credibility of the Bible and we deny Christ’s divinity.
“And Mary said, ‘Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.’ And the angel departed from her.” (v. 38)
What a staggering demonstration of trust - from a child! And yet, the story is not ultimately about Mary, but about our trustworthy God. As we reflect on this story, we see three things about God that invite our own trust:
1. God always keeps His promises.
In His timing, He came through as He said He would by sending Christ. He does the same for us, keeping every promise in His perfect timing.
2. God uses unlikely and undeserving people.
Just like God used Mary, the last person anyone would have expected, so He wants to use us. His choice is not based on our worth. In fact, He chooses us precisely because we aren’t worthy but Jesus is.
3. God is infinitely powerful.
If He can make a barren woman become pregnant in her 60s, and cause a 12-year old virgin to conceive, there is nothing He can’t do. He can handle anything we’re going through; He can turn it and use it for good.
We must choose to trust and relate to God as He is presented in the Bible. As seen in the incarnation story, He has gone to amazing lengths in order to call us His own. We can trust that He will return for us and put all things right.
Will you trust the promise and power of God?
When do you find it most difficult to trust God? Join the conversation and leave a comment here...