Summary: This message focuses on a bunch of surprises that must be some of the greatest ever!
SURPRISE, SURPRISE, SURPRISE!
HOLD UP PICTURE OF SERGEANT CARTER
Who is this? (AWAIT RESPONSES)
What TV show was he in? (AWAIT RESPONSES)
That’s right he was ‘Sergeant Carter’ in ‘Gomer Pyle’.
HOLD UP PICTURE OF PRIVATE GOMER PYLE
What’s something you think of when Gomer Pyle comes to mind?
‘SURPRISE, SURPRISE, SURPRISE!’
This morning we are going to focus on a bunch of surprises that must be some of the greatest ever!
LISTEN AS NOEL READS TO US FROM LUKE 1:26-38.
The first surprise, surprise, surprise is -
1. The Angel GABRIEL Was Sent With The News
What makes that surprising?
Well we need to consider who this angel was. Listen to the power that Gabriel has. Luke 1:18-20, ‘Zechariah asked the angel, “How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is well along in years.” The angel answered, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to tell you this good news. And now you will be silent and not able to speak until the day this happens, because you did not believe my words, which will come true at their proper time.”’ And listen to the effect Gabriel had on Daniel. Daniel 8:15-18, ‘While I, Daniel, was watching the vision and trying to understand it, there before me stood one who looked like a man. 16 And I heard a man’s voice from the Ulai calling, "Gabriel, tell this man the meaning of the vision." As he came near the place where I was standing, I was terrified and fell prostrate…’
You see Gabriel is not just your everyday garden variety of angel – he’s one of the arch angels. One who possesses great power.
And what’s so surprising in this account is this – all that Gabriel could do in terms of making things right was announce that God was going to do it! The fact that the most Gabriel could do was announce the good news makes it clear that no created being – no matter how good or how powerful, could restore us.
So what does that mean for me?
It means don’t bother trying to work your way to God. His love compelled Him to do everything for you. Listen to Gabriel’s message, ‘You (Mary) will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus (Saviour).’ For He will save His people from their sin. He alone can do it. Do you realise the offence took place between man and God and it can only be righted by man and God. The God/man Jesus Christ made it right!
Surprise, surprise, surprise God sent the mighty Gabriel to show us that Jesus is the only way!
The second surprise, surprise, surprise is that:
2. God Sent The Angel To NAZARETH
Again what’s so surprising about that?
Nazareth was an obscure place, little taken notice of. Not even mentioned in the OT. And it seems by Nathanael’s comment, not of good repute - ’Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?…’ (Jn 1:46). Yet, surprise, surprise, surprise it was there that God condescended to be conceived. And His Son became known – get this! - as ‘Jesus of Nazareth’. The Saviour of those not of good repute – Jesus of Nazareth!
So how does that impact my everyday life?
God wants you to come to Jesus as you are. He came to seek and to save. And He is not afraid to get His hands dirty, so to speak, in order to accomplish His purpose. Jesus of Nazareth – God of the ordinary – God of the forgotten – God of the humble – God of the insignificant – God of all! Jesus of Nazareth the one who came to help in the mundane.
The third surprise, surprise, surprise is that:
3. Through MARY Came New Life
Probably there was never any created being given such honour as this woman. Chosen to be the Lord’s mother. Chosen to care for and nourish Him. (HOLD UP PICTURE ‘KISSING THE FACE OF GOD’) To impact on His physical looks. From Mary begins the new-born human race. How astonishing! That God should be so intimately involved with His creation. That the Creator should in some unfathomable way become the created.
Another surprising thing is this – it was woman who led the rebellion in the first place (please don’t stone me ladies! – I fully recognise that man did not speak into the situation). But woman led the way and here it’s as if God is giving her opportunity to lead the way in making things right. In fact God told us right back in Genesis that it would be through the woman’s seed that the Saviour would come.