Summary: This sermon looks at the visit Mary made to Elizabeth's house and some lessons we can draw from it.
AM sermon preached at Central Christian Church December 9, 2012
Take the Christmas Journey sermon series Message #2 Luke 1
Mary: She took a family vacation
I may never forget it, I mean it happened about thirty years ago and still in my mind I can clearly hear the sound of his words ringing in my ears from that day. It must have been just a normal day because nothing else that happened that day stands out in my mind. I don’t recall any special plans or activities being interrupted. It wasn’t a holiday. It wasn’t my birthday. It was just a normal day that became abnormal by a single phone call. The phone rang, I answered and a man on the other end began talking with what I thought was an unusual and casual friendliness. I recognized that he had a knowledge of me and my family that I was beginning to feel a little uncomfortable about---especially since I wasn’t able to identify his voice. And when he said something about being in town and dropping by for a visit, I simply had to ask, “who is this?” My question apparently ruffled the man’s feathers somewhat because I could tell by the tone of his voice when he responded “This is Troy” he was surprised by my question. Nobody by the name of Troy came immediately to mind, so I asked “Troy who?” It was then that he responded with the answer that I recall so vividly---in what seemed to be to be a tone of voice that reflected both hurt and embarrassment he said, “I’m Troy, your grandpa Troy.”
Now if during your life you’ve always had the good fortune of being close to your grandparents, you may be wondering “how could a guy not recognize the voice of his own grandfather?” But that was just it, you see. My relationship with my grandfather from the time I was about age ten was strained at best. That was to my remembrance the one and only time my grandfather ever called me on the phone. We did welcome my grandpa into our home that day. And I’m happy to report that we had a nice visit even though things got off to a poor start that morning and my response to my grandfather’s voice over the phone probably wasn’t what he had expected.
This morning as we continue our Christmas journey, we’re going to look in on a situation where a young woman dropped in, I’m guessing, unexpectedly on one of her relatives for what became a very extended visit. We’re going to be looking in Luke 1 where we’ll find that when Mary dropped in on her relative Elizabeth, the response she received at the very sound of her voice was nothing short of miraculous.
I encourage you to open either the Bible you brought with you or one of the Bibles you’ll find under the seats to Luke 1 where we’ll read about the surprising way Elizabeth responded to the sound of Mary’s voice. While you’re looking up Luke 1 let me fill you in on some details which lead up to Mary’s paying Elizabeth a visit. Elizabeth is married to a guy named Zechariah. Zechariah’s a priest and when his turn for spending special time in the temple keeping the incense burner fueled, he was there alone on the inside doing just that---and he was praying when all of the sudden the angel Gabriel appears and stands next to the altar on which Zechariah had been burning incense. As you’d expect, it upset ole Zech---but Gabriel said to him...“Hey Zechariah, my man, calm down. You don’t need to be afraid of me. Everything’s cool, in fact it’s better than that---when you hear what I’m about to tell you, you’re going to think, oh wow, this is awesome! God’s heard your prayer! And get this, you and your wife Elizabeth are going to become parents of a bouncing baby boy who you’re to give the name of John!” Now you need to understand Zechariah and Elizabeth weren’t a couple of young newlyweds, they weren’t middle-aged either---no these two were well beyond the prime child-bearing and child-rearing years. They were old--we’re talking capital O-capital L-capital D old. I thinking Zechariah after he saw Gabriel and heard what he had to say, probably thought to himself---“ooh, man I’d better get out of here and get me some fresh air, I’ve breathed in so much incense I’m starting to hallucinate!” In spite of whatever Zechariah was or wasn’t thinking Gabriel just continued to talk about little John and how his coming would totally change things for Zechariah and Elizabeth. Zechariah wasn’t too sure if he could believe what he was hearing, after all the incense was pretty strong, and so he asked Gabriel, “How can I be sure this is going to happen? I mean, come on Gabriel---Elizabeth and I are almost ready for the nursing home and you’re telling me we’re going to become parents?” Gabriel said “Why you unbeliever, how about this for a sign? Bad-ah-boom, bad-ah-bing---you can no longer talk. That’s right, I’ve taken your voice away. You’re not going to be able to talk until your son John is born.” With that Gabriel left.