A little girl asked her mother one day where babies come from, her mother told her that a stork delivered them to proud parents.
Later she asked her grandmother the same question; she was told that babies came from the cabbage patch out back.
When she asked her great grandmother, she was told that the postman delivered babies on special days.
Later this little girl was playing in the sandbox with her friends and she told them, “You know, there hasn’t been a normal birth in our family for generations.”
It’s the perfect time to look at a birth that just wasn’t normal in any sense of the word. But, it was a birth that would change the world.I want to concentrate simply on the announcement of Jesus birth. We will draw from the Gospel of Luke. First, let’s look at a little background:
- The writer here is Luke the Physician. He was a traveling companion and disciple of Paul the Apostle. This gave him much insight and knowledge of Jesus. As a very well educated doctor, he was verfy meticulous and thorough student of Jesus’ life.
- Luke wrote this account around 60 AD, about 25 years after the death of Jesus.
So let’s take a look at this Great Announcement, the “birth of Jesus fortold” as it unfolds in the Scriptures:
Luke 1:26-28 ( TNIV )
26 In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy,[Elizabeth was a relative of Mary] God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, 27 to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”
The Angel Gabriel makes the announcement to Mary. I would note here that the Angel Gabriel is one of only two Angels named in Scripture. The other is Michael…see Revelation 12:7-9. He won a great battle with Satan
It’s interesting also that throughout Scripture angels not only carried messages from God to specially chosen people they interacted with them, and talked with them Just like in these Scriptures.
So, let’s look at the location in which the Angel Gabriel talks to Mary — Nazareth (no, not the rock band!). Nazareth is a very small ”INSIGNIFICANT” town in Galilee. Only a few hundred people living there. It was about 900 yards by 200 yards — that’s pretty small. It was mainly empty fields for farming and grazing.
Let’s look at Mary. Mary was a very young girl, about 14 years old. She was engaged, but not yet married. A girl this age had virtually no social status in ancient times — again — again…….INSIGNIFICANT.
Yet the angel tells Mary that she is highly favored by God! Can you imagine the Angel Gabriel coming to you and saying, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”? How would you feel? Would you realize the gravity of the situation? I mean, here’s an angel sent by God to tell you that YOU are highly favored. God so very often uses what we consider the insignificant, insignificant places, insignificant people, to do such highly significant things. God so very often uses insignificant people to fulfill His will — to change the world.
Let’s look at the next verses. Listen to what the Scripture tells us starting back up in verse 29:
Luke 1:29-31 ( TNIV )
29 Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 30 But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus.
Here we have this young, insignificant girl. An angel talks to her and the Scriptures tell us that she was “troubled”. The Greek word here is “diatarássō” [dee-at-ar-as’-so], which would be better translated as “perplexed” or “confused” You know what? I’d be perplexed and confused too!
But the angel tells her not to worry, not to be afraid because she has found favor with God. Wow! What a thing to be told! And here’s the amazing part, here it is, here is the greatest birth announcement ever made in the history of the world! Here is the announcement that that changed the world forever. The angel tells Mary, “You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus.”
I can see it now — Mary probably freaked out and ran to Joseph saying, “Joseph, Joseph, you won’t believe what just happened! I was just visited by an angel of God, we’ve got to prepare birth announcements, we have to get the baby’s room ready, there’s so much to do! I’m going to have a baby boy! God said we should name Him Jesus!”
It’s interesting that this great announcement by the angel Gabriel is so very much like the prophecy by the Old Testament prophet Isaiah…….
Isaiah 70:14 (TNIV)
“Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.”
And what does Immanuel mean? We’re told in the Gospel of Matthew that Immanuel Means “God with us”, and look at who Jesus is — Jesus is God in the flesh, indeed, “God. with us!” As we look at the name that the angel Gabriel told Mary to name the Christ child, the name “Jesus”, properly pronounced, it is “ee-ay-sooce’”. A name of Hebrew origin which means “God will save” or “God is salvation”.
So, let’s continue on as the angel Gabriel talks to Mary. Let’s look at verses 32 and 33:
Luke 1:32-33 ( TNIV )
32 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, 33 and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end.”
The angel goes on to tell Mary about this Son whom she will bear. Can you imagine an angel telling you this about a child you are about to bear! And you’re not even pregnant? Look at what the Old Testament Prophet Isaiah again tells us. This is probably one of the most telling prophecies from the Old Testament. It was revealed some 700 years before the birth of Jesus.
Isaiah 9:6 (TNIV):
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Look at how the Prophet Isaiah described the coming Messiah:
- WONDERFUL COUNSELOR……..Jesus is wise, exceptional and always gives the right advice.
- MIGHTY GOD………Jesus is God Himself….come to earth to live among us as a man.
- EVERLASTING FATHER…..Jesus has been with us since creation and will be with us through eternity…….Jesus IS God the Father.
- PRINCE OF PEACE…..Jesus primary message was of the Kingdom of Heaven / the kingdom of God……..His message of this kingdom was one of justice and peace……..Jesus IS the Prince of Peace.
This is so much for a young girl of 14 years to take in. But what I find surprising, what I find “moving”, what really speaks to me is the way that Mary reacts. Mary has an obvious trust in God, yet she, like us, has questions. But again you can see the trust that she has here. Let’s continue on by looking at the Scriptures. Let’s start at verse 34:
Luke 1:34-38 ( TNIV )
34 “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?” 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. 36 Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. 37 For no word from God will ever fail.” 38 “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May it be to me according to your word.” Then the angel left her.
Wow, what a shining example of the trust that WE should have in God. Most of us would say, “no way, this can’t happen, it’s impossible!”. Yet Mary, this young, Jewish girl simply TRUST, in God. She simply ACCEPTS His grace and favor, and she simply BELIEVES and has FAITH.
Look again at verse 35: “The Holy Spirit will come upon 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.” And then Mary replies, “I am the Lord’s servant, May it be to me as you have said.” Here is the most timeless truth……the Angel tells Mary in verse 37 that “nothing is impossible with God.”
This was not a “NORMAL” announcement. This was not a “NORMAL” birth. God so very often uses what we might think of as the insignificant:
- insignificant places
- insignificant people
- Insignificant circumstances……to do such highly significant things, to fulfill His will to change the world…..
I would like to close simply by relating the rest of the story of the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, from humble and almost insignificant beginnings –a birth that changed the world.
Follow with me as we read the rest of this marvelous story — this announcement of the birth of our Savior…..
- the “WONDERFUL COUNSELOR”
- our “MIGHTY GOD”
- our “EVERLASTING FATHER”
- the “PRINCE OF PEACE”
Let’s look at the second chapter of Luke, verses 1 through 20:
Luke 2:1-20 ( TNIV )
1 In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. 2 (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 3 And everyone went to their own town to register. 4 So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 5 He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6 While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7 and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.
8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, 14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” 15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”
16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were
amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.
Today, I pray that you will do the same here — that you will do the same as these shepherds — that you will spread the word concerning what’s been told to you about this child…..JESUS. I pray that you will treasure these things and will ponder them in your heart. And that you will glorify and praise God for all these things you have heard about and all the things that Jesus, indeed God, has done in your life and the lives of others around you — these things that YOU have seen!
This is the greatest birth announcement that the world has known. The announcement of the birth of Jesus, the Messiah, our Savior! And we can see that even in this announcement, how God can use US though we may think of ourselves as insignificant in the big plan. If we allow ourselves to be used by God as Mary did, God can use us……God can use YOU to do VERY SIGNIFICANT things!
God uses what we may think of as insignificant places — like Sanford, like Lake Mary, like Deltona and Longwood, like Grace and Grits, like Crossroads. If we allow God to use us, the world can be changed. Nothing…..nothing is impossible with God! So much……SO MUCH….. simply started with the birth of a baby, Jesus, the Messiah……our Savior!