Summary: An announcement usually has: the baby’s name, date and time of birth, weight , length, and place, siblings, and of course the parents’ names. Let’s look at these things about Jesus that we might understand His birth better.
A Baby on the Way: A Birth Announcement
INTRODUCTION... Howard Hendricks, quoted in Homemade, September, 1989
A little boy asked his mother where he came from, and also where she had come from as a baby. His mother gave him a tall tale about a beautiful white-feathered bird. The boy asked his grandmother the same question and received a variation on the bird story. Outside to his playmate he said, "You know, there hasn’t been a normal birth in our family for three generations."
The Christmas Season is all about the birth of a very special child. We are still a few weeks
away from the day when we celebrate the birth of Christ. In our weeks leading up until Christmas, I would like us to look at the events in Scripture that led up to His birth. There is a baby on the way. One of the things that most parents do when waiting for a child is prepare a birth announcement. The passage that we will look at today, Luke 1:26-38, contains the birth announcement of Jesus, even before it was a reality! Mary receives a message from Gabriel about all the things that would happen. Let’s read!
READ LUKE 1:26-38
READ LUKE 2:1-8
The information that is contained in a birth announcement is pretty much the same no matter the style or where you get the announcement from. Certain information is important that the parents want communicated about the new addition to their family. An announcement usually has: the baby’s name, date and time of birth, weight , length, and place, siblings, and of course the parents’ names. Let’s look at these things about Jesus that we might understand His birth better.
Names are an important part of a baby’s life. We all have one. Names in the time of the Bible were also important. In Jewish families, children were often named for their grandfathers or fathers and most of the time it was the father that did the naming of the child or at least had to approve of the name. The giving of names in our family has always been important.
ILLUSTRATION... Popular names in 2003 (www.ssa.gov)
For boys: Jacob, Michael, Joshua, Matthew, Andrew
For girls: Emily, Emma, Madison, Hannah, Olivia
ILLUSTRATION... Our Family and Our names (p)
As we were having children, I thought it was important to have names for our children that meant something. Maybe you have done the same in your families. You know our kids of course, but maybe not why we chose their names:
Abigail: “My Father’s Joy” and was a wife of King David in the Old Testament
Nathanael: “God Has Given” and was also an apostle of Jesus of whom was said “in whom there is nothing false”
Ian Jeremiah: “God is Gracious” and “God is Exalted”
The name given to this baby in this passage is also quite important. The name given would describe this person for the rest of their lives. There are several names that are given or alluded to in this passage:
1) Jesus: means “God is Salvation” Matthew 1:21 tells us that the name Jesus was given because “He will save His people from their sins.” The very name of this baby, Jesus, spoke of doing wonderful and miraculous things. He would be the Savior of His people.
2) Son of the Most High: We’ll skip this one until later.
3) son of David: this name of the baby would have meant that He came from the royal family of Israel. The prophecies about the Messiah foretold that the Anointed One would be from the line of David and would establish a kingdom that would never pass away.
4) son of Jacob: this name of the baby would have meant that He was directly related to the People of God. He came from the lineage of Jacob, also known as Israel. He came from the line of Abraham who received the covenant from God and to whom was promised “all nations will be blessed through you.” This baby is that blessing and fulfills the promise of God.
The name of this baby speaks volumes about the life that was ahead for Him. The angel promises Mary that this child will be great and will be a Savior and will be a King and will be unlike anyone that has ever come before.
II. Date & Time & Place
We are told in this passage that the baby is on the way, but not when. For when, we need to go further in Luke. Luke 2:1-3 tells us that Jesus was born during a Roman census and was the first one while Quirinius was governor of Syria. The date when all the math and such is completed ends up being about 4 BC. Luke 2:8 tells us that the shepherds were watching their flocks at night and the angelic host came and told them of the birth. Jesus was born late in the evening or at night. The place is also known to us. Luke 2:6-7 tells us that the baby was born while the family was in Bethlehem for the census and that they were in a manger rather than an inn.