Summary: Three assertions about the incarnation
Celebrating the Incarnation
Woodlawn Baptist Church
December 10, 2006
Show the video, “Mary Did You Know?” by Mark Lowry.
What a moving song about the great child born in Bethlehem to the virgin Mary! Did she know? We know that she didn’t know. She knew He was destined for greatness, but she had no idea at his birth that His greatness would ultimately put Him on a cross to pay for her sins. In fact, Scripture seems to indicate that none of His family understood it, and most of them didn’t even accept Him to be the Savior until after the resurrection.
From our view 2,000 years after the fact we like to think that we would have believed; that we would have understood. We like to think that had we been around in that day we would have recognized Jesus as the Son of God: as the Lamb of God, but I’m not so sure we would have. One writer asked the question this way:
What have you heard and seen this Christmas? Oh, you say, had I been there at Bethlehem that night I would have seen. I would have understood. I would have known it was the Christ child. Would you? There is one way of knowing: Ask yourself what you have seen and heard this Christmas Season.
· When you watched the news last night did you see chaos and strife, or did you see sheep without a shepherd?
· When you went out to do your shopping did you see only hordes of people in the stores, or did you notice the worried expressions on some of their faces—worried because they are facing this Christmas without employment or enough money and they don’t know how they are going to make ends meet?
It really is a question to ponder, not whether any of us would have recognized Jesus in His day. Do we recognize the Incarnation today? Do we understand how marvelous God was and is because of what He did in sending Christ to earth? All the other great religions of the world insist that you aspire to be like their gods through your righteousness, but the Bible insists that God became like us so we could obtain His righteousness!
That’s what Christmas is about. The world says that Christmas is good when there are plenty of presents under the tree. It says that Christmas is great when we have lots of family and good health and a turkey on the table. But I want to tell you that none of that is necessary for you to celebrate Christmas. In fact, you may be going through difficult times right now. You may be struggling to make ends meet in addition to the pressure of buying gifts. You may be hurting over having to spend Christmas without some loved one.
Christmas can be a dark time for some, but even in our darkest hours, perhaps especially in our darkest hours we have great reason to celebrate the incarnation of Christ. I hope to demonstrate that to you today and remind us all of some reasons to celebrate it this Christmas. There are three assertions about the Incarnation found in this passage I want you to consider.
Read Matthew 1:18-25.
The Incarnation Was A Planned Event
Matthew 1:18 says,
“Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit.”
I like Luke’s rendering of what happened. Luke 1:26-38 tell us that an angel of God visited Mary and told her that the Lord was with her and she was blessed among women. The appearance and announcement of the angel scared Mary, so the angel reassured her that she had found favor with God, then he said to her, “And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus.” He went on to tell her about Jesus, but she asked the natural question,
“How can this be, since I do not know a man? And the angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God.”
When Mary was found to be pregnant everyone was surprised. Mary was surprised. She had never had sex with any man. Joseph was surprised. His fiancée was pregnant! Mary’s family had to have been surprised as well as those in the community. The pregnancy would have been the talk of the town, but I want you to know her pregnancy was no accident – it was the greatest planned pregnancy the world has ever known!