26 And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth,
27 To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary.
28 And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.
29 And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be.
30 And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God.
31 And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS.
32 He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David:
33 And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.
34 Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?
35 And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.
26 Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, 27 to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28And having come in, the angel said to her, “Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!”*
Intro: The time was ripe for the coming of the Messiah. Gabriel had visited Zacharias six months earlier with a promise that he would have a son. He was to name him John and this child would be the one to announce the coming Messiah. Step by step God was preparing the way. Everything was being out in order and the next event would be the announcement to Mary that she would be the one who would be used by God to birth the Holy Child of God. There is one thing I have learned very clearly, God is always on time, never late, never early. The hand of God oversees all of creation and does things in perfect harmony with His will and purpose. God tends to do things very different than what we would do or expect; God’s call to Mary is no exception. When you examine the facts it becomes even more incredible that God would touch Mary to be the mother of our Lord. Mary lived in Nazareth, a town in Galilee. The Galileans were looked down on by the Jews in Jerusalem as an inferior group. Only occasionally were they able to go to the services in the temple, as a result they were thought of as less spiritual than those in Jerusalem. The Jews had a saying that really described how they felt about Galileans: “If a man would be rich, let him go to Galilee; if he would be wise, let him go to Jerusalem.”
Since all the major religious leaders were in Jerusalem people thought that was where the real knowledge would be found. If you did not live in Jerusalem you were not exposed to the daily teaching that took place in the temple. There was no rapid communication and to travel there would take most of the day for the surrounding towns. Galilee was the main source for fish and grain and as a supplier of material goods and was very active in commerce producing financial wealth. There were many who saw the opportunity to gain financially by leaving Jerusalem and going to Galilee. Those who went were considered to be materialistic and to have forfeited spiritual growth for money.
The town of Nazareth was especially a place of vice, primarily due to a Roman garrison that was stationed there to guard the provinces. Like any military town they had their special challenges. Corruption was common, violence was a daily event and life was a challenge.
Galilee was the providence and within the Galilean providence was this town called Nazareth. The Nazarenes were especially disliked by the rest of the Jews, but this is exactly where Mary lived and where Gabriel came to deliver the astonishing news. When we consider where Mary lived and how the rest of the nation viewed her town you have to step back and marvel at God’s plan.
Mary –meaning: Bitterness , grief
I. The Announcement by Gabriel
1. The angel came to announce the special blessing that God had conferred on Mary. He said, “Greeting, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you” (Luke 1:28). When I read this I immediately thought of Gideon.
And the Angel of the Lord appeared to him, and said to him, “The Lord is with you, you mighty man of valor!” 13 Gideon said to Him, “O my lord, if the Lord is with us, why then has all this happened to us?
2. The text does not tell us why God chose Mary; we immediately think that she must have been super spiritual. But, like so many situations in Scripture God calls people based on His will not their goodness. Certainly we must believe that Mary was one who sought to honor God, but this announcement had nothing to do with how good she was or support for the idea that she was sinless. God was not rewarding her for her goodness, what we see is a women who was seeking to honor God so God was willing to bless her with a very special privilege. Here is the announcement she was going to receive: special grace from the Lord.
3. Grace is always something God gives that we do not deserve. So God in His wisdom chose Mary and simply says that “she found GRACE in the eyes of the Lord.”
4. The salutation of Gabriel, “Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with thee!” has been made the basis of many misinterpretations concerning Mary. She has been called a fountain of grace (1508) in order to dispense Grace to others, she has been thought of as being sinless from birth (Immaculate conception 1845) like the Lord and that she has special intercessory ability (Ava Maria 1508), but none of these things are supported by Scripture. She was highly favored above all women in being permitted to be the mother of the Lord and Savior. But the Gospel narratives attribute to her none of the special titles ascribed to her by some. The worship of Mary is not warranted by the announcement of Gabriel. As much as we may admire and honor the Virgin-Mother, we may not pray to her or worship her in any way. To do so would simply be another form of idolatry. “The mother merits all honor but her Son our worship.”
The important point to keep in mind here is the fact that there is only one way to God the Father and that is through Jesus the Son.
1 Tim 2:5-7
For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.
5. Mary knew nothing about what was happening with Elizabeth. To say she was caught off guard would be an understatement. The greeting troubled her and fear grabbed her instantly, but the angel spoke comforting words to help calm her down: “Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God” (vs 29).
6. Gabriel announced first that Mary would be with child and give birth to a Son (vs 31) and this Son would be named Jesus. Jesus means “the Lord saves.” The name is the counterpart to “Joshua,” who led Israel out of the desert experiences into a new land and a new life.
7. The angel then told Mary, “He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High” (vs 32). This One, the eternal Son of the eternal God, would receive a body of flesh in the Virgins womb.
8. Concerning His work, the angel said, “The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; and His kingdom will never end” Luke 1:32-33).
9. Notice that he angel mentioned three areas of importance: “Throne,” “house,” and “kingdom.” Which are all part of the promise given to David that one of David’s sons would sit on David’s throne and rule over David’s kingdom.
10. Jesus would come not only to be the Savior but to be the Sovereign King.
II. The Response by Mary
1. Mary responded to this announcement by asking, “How shall these things be seeing I know not a man?’ vs 34
2. A physical relationship with Joseph was out of the question, the final part of their engagement had not happened yet.
3. Notice that Mary did not consider this promise to be the result of her future marriage to Joseph. So she needed an explanation.
4. To Mary’s credit this was not a question coming from doubt, but rather one of clarification, how are you going to do this?
5. Gabriel responds: “The Holy Spirit will come upon you and the power of the Most High will overshadow you” (vs 35).
6. Jesus Christ would be conceived by the Holy Spirit. He would not have a natural father. A natural father would pass on his sin nature and no one who has received such a nature from Adam could become the Redeemer for Fallen man.
7. Christ was the spotless Lamb of God because he was sinless from his birth and lived a sinless life up to his death.
8. The only way He could be born a sinless One was to be conceived by God, who is sinless.
9. Luke 1:46-48; “And Mary said: “My soul magnifies the Lord, 47 And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior. 48 For He has regarded the lowly state of His maidservant; for behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed.”
III. The Work of the Spirit
1.The power of the Holy Spirit would come over Mary and result in the conception of Jesus.
2.Through the miracle of the virgin birth, the eternal Son of the eternal God reached out and took to Himself a true and complete humanity without any sin and without diminishing His essential deity.
3. What we see is the uniting of deity and humanity eternally into one person.
4. God gave Mary a sign even though she did not ask for it. The angel told her about Elizabeth, and Mary knew that Elizabeth was barren so this must have been a real eye opener. As soon as she was able Mary verified that Elizabeth was indeed expecting a child.
5. God knows exactly what we need and when we need it and provides for His Children.
6. The privilege and responsibility of bearing the Messiah was not forced on Mary apart from her will, but the fact of what God intended to do was presented to her to seek her willing submission; and this Mary gave. She said, “I am the Lord’s servant…May it be to me as you have said’ (Luke 1:38).
J.W. Shepherd observes: “In simple, beautiful faith and submission, she presented herself to the Lord, His slave, to do with her according to His will, whatever might be the disgrace, slander, ill-repute, or even death to her. Mary understood that what was going to take place would place her in jeopardy of her reputation, her future marriage to Joseph and even her life.
Conclusion: There are three things that Mary stresses in Luke 1:46-56;(1) She thanks God for having honored her, a humble maid of Israel, in such extraordinary fashion (46-50).
(2) She praises God for resisting the haughty, the proud, and the self-righteous, and for aiding the poor, the lowly (humble sinners).
(3) She lifts up the name of God because the Lord fulfills the promises which He made to the fathers in the Messianic prophecies (54).
Mary makes a clear statement that God is her Savior (Luke 1:47). There is nothing to suggest that she thought she deserved this honor because she was sinless. In fact she makes it clear that God was her savior and she trusted him for her forgiveness. Mary declares that inwardly she is filled with joy and praise of God. She admits that she is a lowly maiden. She is not part of the wealthy or high society; she had no social standing, which really highlights God’s Grace to her, who has given her the highest honor conceivable for any women, an honor which will be forever remembered. Consider this; there is no attitude of self-righteousness in her words, no hint that she believes she had deserved the high honor placed on her. All the glory is given to God as it should be.