Summary: Virgin birth is it credible and how Mary instructs us to a joyous faith in the midst of current difficult realities - an advent/christmas story
Gospel Reading – Luke 1:26-38
Theme: Annunciation to Mary
Sermon title – Not another Teenage Pregnancy Story
Response: Luke 1:46-55
Song of Mary – She Glorifies/Rejoices in God for he has been mindful of her.
26In the sixth month, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, 27to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28The angel went to her and said, "Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you."
29Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 30But the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. 31You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. 32He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end."
34"How will this be," Mary asked the angel, "since I am a virgin?"
35The angel answered, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. 36Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be barren is in her sixth month. 37For nothing is impossible with God."
38"I am the Lord’s servant," Mary answered. "May it be to me as you have said." Then the angel left her.
Why do we even celebrate this story of Christ’s virgin birth? Could it be real? Yesterday’s newspaper, The National Post, printed a two page article on Mary. It highlighted the trouble people have with her story of the miraculous virgin birth of the Christ. Here’s how Charles Lewis, the author of the article, puts it “Of all the beliefs across time there is none so seemingly extraordinary as belief in the Virgin birth.” He reported that in various surveys taken over recent years that about a quarter of Protestant clergy have serious doubts about the Virgin Birth. Historically, Protestants also have neglected Mary because to focus on her is to just too close for comfort, it feels too much like Roman Catholicism.
To be sure, Mary’s story a real shocker of a story! It’s infinitely more shocking than the teen pregnancy story of Britney’s sister. What person today, in this day and age, would believe a story of an angelic visit to a teenage girl in a village that has a bad reputation? Why did the writer of the Gospel of Luke even bother to mention such an embarrassing story? He, of all people, a medical doctor, should know the impossibility of a virgin birth. So why mention something like that in detail risking ridicule, risking credibility, risking people laughing it off? Wouldn’t it better just to say Jesus was born and just edit out the embarrassing details of a scandalous virgin giving birth? And later in history, why didn’t the church fathers use whiteout when they assembled the Scriptures together to form what we have today in the Bible?
Think about the place where Mary is said to be from. Folks in those days would say about Nazareth -“Can anything good come out of there?” (Jn.1:46). It is, as if, it was a disease ridden God forsaken place. What a reputation! At any rate, it is just not the coolest place to be from. It sure is not Whistler, but some dusty little village that nobody would notice if it was wiped out by some disaster. Wouldn’t u want the Savior of the world be born to a celebrity from a big city? But there is something about Mary you just gotta know, that Luke the doctor wants you to know. It’s just not another teenage pregnancy story that got everybody gossiping on the Internet. Turn with me to the beginning of Luke’s Gospel
1Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled[a] among us, 2just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word. 3Therefore, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, it seemed good also to me to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, 4so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.
Did you get Luke’s reasoning? He is not going to falsify the true story. He is telling it as it is, from eyewitness accounts, with all the eye-popping, belief suspending, seemingly ridiculous notions of a virgin birth and miracles. He verified the testimonies, using his meticulous research skills as a medical doctor. He wrote it to give a factual account of what actually happen. No editing of embarrassing details. No tampering with the evidence and eyewitness accounts. The reason for all that research and fact finding is as we read in v.4 - that we may know the certainty of the things we have been taught regarding Jesus Christ.