Summary: God becomes human flesh. God empties himself and becomes a helpless babe. GOD CAME DOWN TO LIFT US UP. This is Christmas—one resolve—God wants to change our hearts; to make us a new creation.
* Virginia Dare (1587): 1st child born in the American colonies, Aug. 18, on (now) Roanoke Island, NC.
* André-Jacques Garnerin (1797): 1st parachute jump 6,500 ft. over Manseau Park, Paris in a 23’ dia. parachute made of white canvas with a basket attached (Oct. 22).
* Charles Blondin (1859): 1st person to cross Niagara Falls on a tightrope
* Jesse James (1873): committed the world’s first train robbery on July 21. (Adair, Iowa)
* Herbert Hoover (1874): 1st US President born west of the Mississippi
* Annie Moore (1892): 1st immigrant to pass through Ellis Island; 15 yrs. old from County Cork, Ireland
* Alexander Winton (1903): 1st land-speed record in car racing; Daytona Beach, speed was 68.18 mph.
* Arthur R. Eldred (1912): 1st boy to reach the rank of Eagle Scout -- the highest rank in the Boy Scouts of America program. He was of Oceanside, NY
* Dolly, the lamb (1996) 1st cloned mammal.
** Mary, mother of Jesus (AD 4) 1st to carry the Gospel
1. Luke’s account is known as the Annunciation; when Gabriel announces to Mary that she has been chosen as mother of a child?not just any child, but Jesus, the Christ; the very Son of God.
2. Roman Catholics and Protestants have approached this passage differently. RC theology puts a strong emphasis on Mary, elevating her to the status of co-redeemer with Christ (a mistake). Protestants ardently disagree, and demonstrate their disagreement by ignoring Mary altogether, or mentioning only her obedience to God (also a mistake).
A. Amid this debate, I would argue that the most significant subject of the passage is not Mary (though her part in the Gospel is important); it is that Christ became human and dwelt among his created beings.
B. The importance of this passage then, is its Christological affirmation: the announcement to Mary identifies Jesus to the reader of Luke’s Gospel as the Davidic Messiah and the Son of God.
(This morning we consider the incarnation; the time when Christ became like us so that we could become like Him; OYBT Luke chapter 1).
II. THE ANNOUNCEMENT (1:26-31)
1. In the sixth month (of Elizabeth’s pregnancy) God sends the angel Gabriel—the same angel sent to Zechariah to announce the birth of his son John (the Baptist). This time he comes to Nazareth, an insignificant town in Galilee. He brings good news to a young girl named Mary, espoused (engaged) to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David.
2. Gabriel’s greeting implies he has good news. The Greek word translated “Greetings!” (NIV) or “Hail!” (KJV) is literally “Rejoice!” Mary has found favor with God; she is chosen to be the mother of a son she will call “Jesus”.
3. The word blessed here means the most fortunate. The same word appears in Judges 5:24 (LXX) and is the superlative form of the adjective. Mary is the most fortunate of all women.
III. WHO IS THIS JESUS? (1:32-37)
1. Luke follows the announcement with a dramatic, two-stage declaration made to Mary about the child she will bear. It is here we are introduced to Luke’s Christology:
A. The first stage (32-33) shows that Jesus comes from humanity, just as he comes from God. As Elizabeth’s disgrace (barrenness) is removed by divine intervention resulting in a son who will proclaim (prophesy) Yahweh’s coming, so Mary’s virgin status will be exploited by divine influence so that she too will bear a son, David’s heir—and the Son of God.
(i) He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most-High, and will sit on the Davidic throne in eternal kingship.
(ii) This Jesus is fully-human and fully-divine; as the Christ (anointed one) he is eternal; existing with God since the beginning of time. As the “Jesus of history”, he is born of Mary; an earthly existence with a beginning and an end.
B. In the second stageiv (35-37) the child is further identified as the holy one, the Son of God. If the conception of John (the Baptist) requires a miracle, the parallel requires an even greater one in Jesus’ conception. Hence, a virgin conceives.
(i) Jesus conception is to occur by the coming of the Holy Spirit on Mary, and the power of the Most-High overshadowing her (35); Jesus will be the Son of God.
(ii) This is no ordinary conception. Joseph Fitzmyer, in his commentary on Luke states, “The Spirit’s role [is] to endow the child with a special character suiting him to bear the title Son of God.” This divine intervention demands a more extraordinary conception and hence, involves a virgin.
2. What an amazing account! The second person of the Trinity (Christ) becomes human flesh in the babe of Bethlehem. But why? Why did Christ come down to where we are? Why take the form of a helpless baby? Christ became like us so that we can become like Him.