Summary: The angelic visitations to Mary, Elizabeth, and Joseph make for an incredible account of God mastery of presentation. See how the wonder of Christmas comes alive in this part of Jesus’ birth.
The Wonder of His Presentation
(Part 2, The Wonder of Christmas)
The birth of Jesus is an awesome encounter of God in the flesh. But before He was born, the signs given to His future parents and those who would be eye-witnesses of His miraculous entry into our world, were a wonder to behold.
I want to begin this morning with John 1:1-14. In John’s account of the birth of Christ, He describes Jesus as the Word. This has several implications for us today as we come into this season of Christmas. But, we’ll look at those a little later. Let’s read John’s account and see just what he has to say.
Text: John 1:1-14 (pg. 750)
The Word became flesh. How vivid a picture John paints for us! There was a plan in heaven for God, the One who is the beginning and the end, to come to earth as a man and live among the wicked, sick, depressed, poor, rich, humble, and righteous people, so that they might know grace. The Word became flesh. Micah 5:2-5 contains one of many prophetic messages of Jesus’ birth. Micah closes his statement by saying that this “Shepherd” will be Israel’s peace. This was foretelling the birth of Christ long before it happened. Zechariah, probably knew this verse. Yet, even with this type of foreknowledge, the understanding of the reality that was about to take place was evident. So much so that God had to send an angel to Mary to warn her and inform her of what was about to happen. Let’s pick up with Mary and her angelic visitation.
1. Mary’s visitation (Luke 1:26-38)(pg. 723)
Close your eyes and picture what has just happened. Close your eyes.
You are getting ready for bed, going through your normal routine. Thinking about what is going to be on your plate for tomorrow. Maybe you have a certain appointment you have been putting off for a week now. You are brushing your teeth, at least for the benefit of everyone else’s imagination you are. You turn down the lights, crawl into bed and snuggle up tight to your covers. What a great feeling, freshly washed sheets, that fresh from the line smell, fills your soul as you take a deep breath of cool night air. Your thoughts fade and sleep comes over you. You slowly watch from behind your eyelids as the black gets blacker and you drift off …
Light floods the room! All of the sudden your night is invaded by the brightness of the sun in your little room. There isn’t a single shadow anywhere to be found. You can hardly open your eyes because the brightness of the figure standing before you is white hot. Strangely, as the voice from the light speaks, you feel soothed. You are told to not be afraid for God is with you. You feel like crying, shouting, and whispering, all at the same time. All you can manage is a feeble question, asking why me?
Does anyone still have their eyes shut? You can open them now. I wonder if that is what Mary felt when Gabriel came to tell her the news of Jesus coming. Scary to think of, maybe. But, more importantly, God did it anyway. At just the right time, to the just right person, for the just right reason, God sent His son to be born of the virgin Mary. He made His presentation known to those who would be most affected. Mary was found in favor with God. God’s grace was upon her and she was found worthy to hold this Christ-child for the world to be redeemed. God is a wonderful God who works in wonderful ways, for a wonderful purpose. Mary got first-hand evidence of God’s imagination in a very real way. His presentation was wonderful.
2. Elizabeth’s visitation (Luke 1:39-45) (make note of change in bulletin)
Elizabeth must have been so happy to see Mary. We know that there was a special bond between them because of the activity of the baby John the Baptist in Elizabeth’s womb. When Mary arrived, Elizabeth knew of the baby Mary was carrying because she blurted out the question, “Why am I so blessed that the mother of my Lord came to visit me?” I wonder if Elizabeth was ready to have visitors. You know how pregnant mothers can be. Sure they are happy to have people who care about them over to help, but they like to have everything in order, too. It seems to help the stress. At least when my wife is pregnant she says so. That reminds me of a story. Don’t worry, Gail. I got this one.
One afternoon a man came home from work to find total mayhem in his house. His three children were outside, still in their pajamas, playing in the mud, with empty food boxes and wrappers strewn all around the front yard. The door of his wife’s car was open, as was the front door to the house.