Summary: From Luke’s gospel, let’s look at the principles for Sanctity of Human Life (First point adapted from this sermon: http://www.sermoncentral.com/sermons/believe-it-or-not-the-virgin-b-irth-rick-gillespie-mobley-sermon-on-virgin-birth-190321.asp)
Francis Schaeffer said that “cultures can be judged in many ways, but eventually every nation in every age must be judged by this test: How did it treat people? Our own is no exception. Those who regard individuals as expendable raw material do battle on many fronts with those who see each person as unique and special, worthwhile, and irreplaceable.”
Today is Sanctity of Human Life Sunday and when we come to this usually think of abortion.
In past sermons and lessons I have said that abortion was a non issue in the NT world. Abortion was deadly to the mother so infanticide was common. If baby was unwanted the mother would give birth to baby and then throw it out to die. This was a common practice and perfectly legal.
After more research on this subject I am wrong. Abortion was also common in the NT world. Correct that infanticide was more widespread in the NT world because today it is illegal. However, abortion was practiced in the Roman Empire with many of the methods of today being used back then. Drugs and poisons were given to women so that they would never conceive or abort when conception did occur. Metal instruments were produced that were used in abortions and some of the writings of the doctors of the time describe them and how they were used. Yes, abortion was more dangerous in the NT world than today. Even so abortion was readily available and widely practiced. Many times a man would force a woman to abort a baby so that his illicit sexual activity would be covered up. Many women sought abortions to preserve their sex appeal because a baby changes a woman’s body. Because of abortion and infanticide the population of the Roman Empire steadily declined. The wealthy did not want to share their wealth with many offspring, while the poor felt unable to support large families. They corrected this with abortion. Abortion was also a corrective to the many inefficient means of contraception of the time. Information from Michael Gorman’s book, Abortion and Early Church.
Since abortion was practiced in the NT culture, it would seem that the NT would talk about such an issue. Unfortunately, the word abortion is not used in the NT. Because of the silence of the NT on this issue, some view this as saying that Christians can support abortion. True that abortion is not mentioned but several principals are discussed that apply.
Of the NT writers, we find some that are well educated. The apostle Paul was well educated. He had much knowledge and education under the well know rabbi Gamaliel. One of Paul’s converts was Luke. “Our dear friend Luke, the doctor (KJV- physician), and Demas send greetings.” Colossians 4:14, NIV. Like in our day, Luke went through special training and education to be a doctor, a physician. Ancient Roman medicine was, surprisingly, incredibly similar to that of the late nineteenth century. Since abortion involves a great deal of medical issues it’s a shame that Luke never said anything about abortion. Being a doctor and a Christian good to know his views on the sanctity of human life.
Thesis: From Luke’s gospel, let’s look at the principles that Luke tells us for Sanctity of Human Life Sunday
Luke the medical doctor, lets us know that Mary was a virgin meaning she had not had sex with anyone. It is possible to wait until marriage to have sex. She asks the angel, “how will this be, since I am a virgin.” Vs. 34
She doesn’t question if what the angel said could happen, she simply wonders what steps will be necessary to make it happen. The angels answers, vs. 35-37
Mary answers, vs. 38
It’s Luke the medical doctor, who tells us that Mary is going to be impregnated by the Holy Spirit. This is a miracle, a breaking of the laws of nature. Luke investigated this, vs. 3!
When the angel left Mary, Mary immediately headed to see her relative Elizabeth who was now six months pregnant. When Mary got to her home and was calling, “Elizabeth, Elizabeth” something amazing happened. The baby Elizabeth was carrying began his ministry for the Lord. He began jumping around in Elizabeth’s womb. Vs. 41
Remember this child is going to be John the Baptist who announces the Messiah who will take away the sins of the world. Elizabeth explains what has happened in vs. 44-45
Notice something here. Jesus is barely an embryo in Mary’s womb and the first one to recognize who he is, is an unborn child six months along in Elizabeth’s womb. John starts his ministry of announcing the presence of the Christ while in Elizabeth’s womb.
Jesus is as much the Son of God at a couple of days inside of Mary as he will be when He’s hanging on a cross and she is there weeping at his feet. John is as much the prophet John The Baptist six months into the pregnancy as he will be thirty years preaching a gospel of repentance for the day of the Lord is at hand.