Luke 1:26-56 December 21 2008
Luke began his Gospel by telling how the angel Gabriel had
announced the coming birth of John the Baptist to Zechariah
(Luke 1:5-25). Immediately after that, Luke told about Gabriel’s
announcement to Mary of Jesus’ coming birth (Luke 1:26-38).
Then he related how Mary went to visit her aged relative
Elizabeth, now obviously pregnant (Luke 1:39-45). The last
verses of our study record Mary’s wonderful song of praise,
the overflow of her heart (Luke 1:46-56). Here in particular we
see that the message of Christmas just has to be communicated.
One striking feature of this part of the Christmas story is how
Jesus’ birth involved so much poetry.
1. Hear the Message of Christmas (Luke 1:26-33)
Luke 1:26 In the sixth month, God sent the angel Gabriel to
Nazareth, a town in Galilee, 1:27 to a virgin pledged to be
married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The
virgin’s name was Mary. 1:28 The angel went to her and said,
“Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”
1:29 Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered
what kind of greeting this might be. 1:30 But the angel said
to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God.
1:31 You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are
to give him the name Jesus. 1:32 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, 1:33 and he will reign over the
house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end.”
(Luke 1:26-35) This section speaks clearly of the virginal
conception of Jesus (Luke 1: 27,34-35; Matt. 1:18-25). The
conception was the work of the Holy Spirit; the eternal Second
Person of the Trinity, while remaining God, also “became flesh”
(John 1:14). From conception he was fully God and fully man.
(Luke 1:26) in the sixth month . That is, from the time of John’s
conception. Nazareth . ( Matt 2:23). Pledged to be married.
( Matt 1:18). Greetings . Ave in the Latin Vulgate (from which
comes “Ave Maria”). JESUS. ( Matt. 1:21) for the meaning of this
name. The son of the most High . This title has two senses:
(1) the divine Son of God and (2) the Messiah born in time. His
Messiahship is clearly referred to in the following context
(Luke 1:32 b-33). Most High. A title frequently used of God in
both the OT and NT (Luke 1: 35,76; 6:35; 8:28; Gen 14:19 ;
2Sam 22:14; Psalms 7:10). Throme . Promised in the OT to the
Messiah descended from David (2Sam 7:13,16; Psalms 2:6-7;
89:26-27; Isa 9:6-7). His father David . Mary was a descendant
of David, as was Joseph (Matt 1:16); so Jesus could rightly be
called a “son” of David. Forever . (Psalms 45:6; Rev 11:15. His
kingdom will never end . Although Christ’s role as mediator
will one day be finished (1Co 15:24-28), the kingdom of the
Father and Son, as one, will never end.
2. Ask About the Message of Christmas (Luke 1:34-37)
Luke 1:34 “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I
am a virgin?” 1:35 The angel answered, “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. 1:36 Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have
a child in her old age, and she who was said to be barren is in
her sixth month. 1:37 For nothing is impossible with God.”
How will this be E. . . ? Mary did not ask in disbelief, as
Zechariah did (Luke 1:20 ; 45). Holy one . Jesus never sinned
(2Co 5:21; Heb 4:15; 7:26; 1Peter 2:22; 1John 3:5). Elizabeth
your relative . It is not known whether she was a cousin,
aunt or other relation.
3. Believe the Message of Christmas (Luke1:38)
Luke 1:38 “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May it
be to me as you have said.” Then the angel left her.
The angel had opened his greeting to Mary, "The Lord is
with you." Here Mary joyfully submitted herself to whatever
the Lord had for her. The word slave can be rendered
"bondservant," and it refers to a person owned by another,
rather than a hired servant. Mary welcomed the opportunity
God had set before her by the word of the heavenly messenger.
May it be done to me reflects her faith that she would become
pregnant and that her Baby would be and do everything the
angel said. Her simple faith shines through the centuries as
an example to women and men everywhere.
After the angel left her, she never saw or spoke to another
angel again, as far as the biblical record shows. Through
everything that lay ahead, including Jesus’ death, Mary never
had reason to doubt the message of Christmas that Gabriel had
delivered. The prophecy was fulfilled and the baby was born. No
wonder "Mary was treasuring up all these things in her heart
and meditating on them" (Luke 2:19).
4. Celebrate the Message of Christmas (Luke 1:46-48,54-55)
Luke 1:46 And Mary said: “My soul glorifies the Lord1:47 and
my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, 1:48 for he has been
mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all
generations will call me blessed, 1:54 He has helped his
servant Israel, remembering to be merciful1:55 to Abraham
and his descendants forever, even as he said to our fathers.”
For joy . In some mysterious way the Holy Spirit produced
this remarkable response in the unborn baby. (Luke 1:46-55) One
of four hymns preserved in (Luke 1-2) (Luke 1:68-79; 2:14;
2:29-32 ). This hymn of praise is known as the Magnificat because
in the Latin Vulgate translation the opening word is Magnificat ,
which means “glorifies.” This song is like a psalm, and should
also be compared with the song of Hannah (1Sam 2:1-10). Those
who fear Him . Those who revere God and live in harmony with
his will. His arm . A figurative description of God’s powerful
acts. God does not have a body; he is spirit (John 4:24). Hungry .
Both physically and spiritually (Matt. 5:6; John 6:35). The coming
of God’s kingdom will bring changes affecting every area of life.
Remembering to be Merciful . The song ends with an assurance
that God will be true to his promises to his people
King David was the first in a long line of father-son
successors who ruled the Israelites from a throne in Jerusalem.
God Himself had established a covenant with David: "Your house
and kingdom will endure before Me forever, and your throne will
be established forever" (2 Sam. 7:16). In Psalms and in the
prophets, God’s solemn promise is affirmed again and again
(Psalms. 132:11-12; Isa. 16:5; Jer. 33:17). Yet Jerusalem was
destroyed around 586 B.C.; and after that, no descendant of
David ever reigned there.
Then the angel announced to Mary that her Baby would sit
on David’s throne. At last there would be someone to fulfill
the terms of the covenant God made with David. Luke 1:32 is
the only specific New Testament reference to David’s throne,
but many other references to Jesus’ royal rule show how much
the early believers cherished this truth. Jesus will reign
forever. He fulfills God’s covenant promise of an everlasting
throne to David. Part of the message of Christmas is that
Jesus’ reign will last forever and ever.