Summary: Seven times people were exposed to the birth of Jesus in Luke's Gospel, and seven times their hearts were filled with praise and thanksgiving.
Magnify Our Lord
Text: Various Luke 2 -3
Many people miss the point of Christmas. They're so caught up in the retail rush that they're exhausted and perhaps depressed by the holiday pressures. We know depression rates and suicide numbers increase during this season. But as we read through the Christmas story as Luke presented it in the first two chapters of his Gospel, we find seven distinct celebrations of the birth of Jesus which followed a very similar pattern.
I. Before His Birth
A. Elizabeth's Response (Luke 1:39-42)
1. Luke's Gospel begins, not with the birth of Christ, but with the birth of the forerunner, John the Baptist.
a. Zacharias and Elizabeth, an older couple, were given the promise of a child. When Mary came to visit to share her own news, Elizabeth was "filled with the Holy Spirit" and "spoke out with a loud voice" (Eulogy) (Luke 1:41, 42).
b. Elizabeth (and the baby) react in joy at the presence of the unborn child and praise the faith of Mary. (Markaria)
B. Mary's Response (Luke 1:46)
1. Then it was Mary's turn to be full of praise and thanksgiving: "And Mary said, `My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.' "
a. And here we have this wonderful hymn of praise, the Magnificat. When you magnify something, you don't really make it larger but you do make it larger in your own eyes. (Makarios – indwelt by God and fully satisfied.)
C. Zacharias' Response (Luke 1:64, 67-79)
1. After Mary returned home, Elizabeth gave birth to John. At that time Zacharias' mouth was opened to say: "Blessed is the Lord God of Israel, for He has visited and redeemed His people . . ." (v. 67).
II. At His Birth
A. The Angels' Response (Luke 2:13, 14)
1. The first verses of Luke 2 describe the birth of Christ, then the scene shifts to shepherds' field. It says about the angels: "And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: `Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!' "
III. After His Birth
A. The Shepherds’ Response (Luke 2:20)
1. The Shepherds, after having found Jesus as had been foretold them by the angels returned home, “gloryfing and praising God.”
B. Simeon's Response (Luke 2:2529)
1. Forty days later, Mary and Joseph took Jesus to the temple to present Him to the Lord. There the old man Simeon "…took Him up in his arms and blessed God.”
C. Anna’s Response (Luke 2:3638)
1. She gave thanks to God and shared the good news.
Seven times people were exposed to the birth of Jesus in Luke's Gospel, and seven times their hearts were filled with praise and thanksgiving. All but one blessed the God of Israel and magnified the Lord.
What should our response be to Christmas?