The Announcement

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, December 19, 2016 0 comments

by Katie Erickson

What’s the best announcement you’ve heard? Has an announcement ever gotten you so excited you can barely stand it? Or are they generally just more conveying of information into our already information-saturated lives? With as much news media and Facebook statuses and Twitter updates and other information available to us at our fingertips and coming at us seemingly wherever we look, it takes a lot for one particular item to stand out from the crowd.

This week we’re going to be writing on various aspects of the Christmas story, and today we’re going to look at the biggest, most important announcement of the Bible. Many, many people had waited hundreds of years for this announcement – finally, the coming of the Savior!

Luke 1:26-28 says, “In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, ‘Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.’”

This announcement to Mary happens in Nazareth, a town in Galilee. This was not a big important place where major stuff often happened. In fact, Nazareth was known for not having much good come out of it. It’s an insignificant town with a population of maybe 2,000 people, in an unimportant province in the Roman Empire. Nothing special there.

The recipient of this announcement is a woman, a virgin, named Mary. She’s pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, who is one of the many descendants of David. We don’t know Mary’s age for sure, but it was typical in that culture for a girl to be betrothed at the age of 12 or 13. This impending marriage would have been arranged by Mary’s father. After the betrothal, Mary would live at home for about a year until the wedding. From a legal standpoint, after betrothal the couple was considered to be legally married. If the betrothed husband were to die during that period before the wedding, the woman would be considered a widow.

During the year of betrothal, the girl was to prepare for marriage, and the guy was to build a home for his soon-to-be family. After the year was up, there was a wedding feast lasting 7 days and they would consummate the marriage. But because they were in that one-year betrothal period at this point in our story, Mary was still a virgin.

So, this angel just appears to this young girl Mary and tells her to rejoice, because God favors her and is with her. How would you react to such a situation? Probably pretty similar to Mary, in verse 29: “Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be.” Yeah, pretty sure I’d be greatly troubled too!

The angel goes on to reassure her and tell her why he’s there, in Luke 1:30-33: “But the angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He 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, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.’”

First the angel reassures Mary with a similar greeting to the one we saw a couple verses ago. Then the angel drops the bomb – you’re gonna have a baby!

This is the biggest moment of Mary’s life to this point, by far. Not only is she going to have a baby, but her baby is going to be called the Son of the Most High! Her son Jesus is going to reign over Israel like his forefather David. His kingdom will be forever and will have no end! That’s a lot to take in. If it were me in Mary’s shoes, I’d have a million questions about what the angel just said!

But what is Mary’s response? Let’s look at verse 34: “‘How will this be,’ Mary asked the angel, ‘since I am a virgin?’” It’s a pretty logical question. She knows the birds and the bees, and what has to happen before a girl can have a baby, and she knows that hasn’t happened with her yet!

The angel answers in verse 35: “The angel answered, ‘The Holy Spirit will come on 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.’” Well, that answer is both simple and complex. How can this be? Only by the power of God. It’s only God who can bring this about, not anything that mankind could do. It’s a simple answer, yet so complex that it’s difficult for our human brains to grasp. God can definitely do this, there’s no doubt about that. He created everything, so surely he can make one young girl have a baby in a miraculous way!

We learn some about Jesus’ nature here. The conception of Jesus is an important Christian teaching. If you deny this, you deny the faith. Jesus was fully man and he was also fully God. His conception by the power of the Holy Spirit points to his deity, the fact that he was fully God. And his birth from a woman points to his humanity, the fact that he was also fully human. Only this type of conception in a virgin preserves both deity and humanity of Jesus Christ. He was one person with two natures—a divine nature and a human nature. Because Jesus was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit, he was not corrupted by the sin that all of us are. That is why Jesus was able to be the perfect Son of God and be totally human but never sin.

Mary’s response to this announcement is simple: “‘I am the Lord’s servant,’ Mary answered. ‘May your word to me be fulfilled.’ Then the angel left her” (verse 38). Her response is one of simple obedience. She doesn’t ask a million questions or try to analyze the situation. She doesn’t get all emotional and think about the possible consequences of this announcement. She doesn’t freak out and say that her life is over. All she said is that she is the Lord’s servant, and may this be fulfilled. Wow – that is some amazing faith right there!

So, what does this have to do with our lives today? Well first and foremost, we have a Savior today because of Mary’s obedience to God in the face of extreme social criticism. Mary made the tough choice to say yes to God, regardless of potential negative consequences that could happen to her.

Mary’s response shows us what it means to be a Christian. It should be the response of every Christian: “I am the Lord’s servant, may your word to me be fulfilled.” We can live this out by truly trusting God, regardless of what it looks like could happen to us.

Trust God with your relationships, romantic or otherwise. Let him lead you in purity and righteousness. Trust God with your daily work. Let him grant you success, even though your superiors may not. Trust God with your ministry. Let him give you blessing, as you are faithful in your service to him. Trust God with your troubles. Let him support you with his peace. Finally, trust God with your eternal salvation. Let him give you give you new life as you put your trust in Jesus and be obedient to his plan for your life.

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