Summary: Second in a series of four messages concerning angelic sightings surrounding the birth of Jesus; this one emphasizing the favor of God in a life
Our culture is captivated by the supernatural. As we saw last week, followers of Jesus ought to believe in the supernatural. The Bible logs over 300 sightings of angels from the Book of Genesis to the Book of Revelation. You can’t believe in the Bible and not believe in angels. A.C. Gaebelein, one of the great theologians of the 20th century wrote in his book, The Angels of God, “Like every truth, the truth of the angels of God—their presence on earth and their loving ministries—has practical value. As we realize in faith . . . that they are watching us, ready to walk with us as we walk with Him in His ways, ready to serve us as we serve Him, ready to shield us and help us in a hundred different ways, a solemn feeling will come into our lives. Thus this truth will assist us in a holy life.”
Think about the activity of angels in the life of Jesus. In Acts 1:9, the Scripture says that after Jesus gave his final instructions in v.8….that “After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid them from his sight.” No less than David Jeremiah believes that the language used here, that Jesus was lifted up by an outside force, indicates that an angel or angels were the mode of transportation. By the way, notice in your listening guide we have featured Dr. Jeremiah’s book: Angels. It’s an excellent read on the subject. Also, notice the verse of Scripture that we print there each week: “But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves.” Hebrews 5:14 All I can do is giving you some basic instruction on Sunday mornings. YOU have to take the responsibility for your own spiritual growth and maturity. You must learn to feed yourselves. I can’t do that for you. One of the ways you can train yourself and grow spiritually is to read the books that we feature in each series.
Angels: involved in the Ascension. Angels were also active in the Resurrection of Jesus. You’ll recall from gospel accounts, that when Mary Magdalene and the others came to the tomb that first Easter morning that it was an angel who declared to them, “He is not here, He is risen!” Matthew 28:5-6
Angels were involved in the Garden of Gethsemane when Jesus was praying great drops of blood, if you examine the text, there was angel right next to him the whole time strengthening him. Luke 22:43
Angels were involved in the Temptation of Christ. The Scripture says that once the 40 days of testing were over, and after Satan had tempted Jesus and Jesus had triumphed, that angels “came and attended him.” Matthew 4:11
And of course, angels were involved in Birth of Jesus. There are at least 7 occurrences of angelic activity surrounding the birth of Christ. We’ve selected four sightings to study this Christmas season. And this morning we focus on the sighting of the angel Gabriel making the announcement to a young Jewish girl that she would be the one whom God favored to bring the Messiah into the world.
Turn in your Bibles to Luke 1:26. Our culture is captivated by the supernatural.
And this morning we turn our attention once again to the most supernatural event in all of history: the birth of Jesus Christ; the first coming of the Messiah. Read
v.26 As we said last week, angels are messengers for God; they only respond to His directives. They minister only to believers. Only two of them are given names, Michael the Archangel, and Gabriel, which means, “Mighty One of God”.
v.27 descendant of David. Of course, this was absolutely critical. It was predicted in multiple places that the Messiah would have to come from the family tree of David, the most favored of all the Jewish kings.
v.28 favored: endowed or enriched with grace; charitoo: form of charis, the word for grace. “Blessed are you among women” is in the King James, but that phrase is not in the oldest and best manuscripts. Now we have many people here from various religious backgrounds. Many of you come from the Catholic faith. Unfortunately, Catholic doctrine places Mary in an unbiblical position, one of being prayed to and even worshipped. They point to this passage as one of the prooftexts, but in reality, the angel does not say these words to Mary, Mary’s cousin Elizabeth says this to Mary in vv.39-42. And blessed Mary was: it was to her the angel brought this great news and through her that the Messiah would be born.
v.29 troubled: not fearful; diatarasso; agitated or confused. Apparently Mary was not so much afraid of the angel as to be incredibly confused as to why he would be talking to her, a young, poor, lowly virgin and saying, “You are highly favored; the Lord is with you.”