A Virgin Birth
1. God sends his angel Gabriel six months earlier telling Zechariah that his prayer has been answered, they were to have a child and name him John. Now Gabriel comes with a new announcement to another couple.
2. At the time Israel was divided into three territories: Judea, Samaria, and Galilee. Nazareth was in Galilee, the northernmost of the territories. Nazareth didn't have much going for it. It was a simple town that had two insignificant people who were about to become very significant in the plan of God.
3. God had not spoken or moved in any significant way for hundreds of years. So this moment in history is very significant and to this day has shaped a core doctrine for the Christian church, regardless of denomination. The virgin birth is a central doctrine and the launching pad to our understanding of salvation.
4. Once again we see God choosing people of insignificance, to become significant people. And if we think it is miraculous that an elderly couple is having a baby, wait till you hear the message that Gabriel brings to this teenage girl from Nazareth. An insignificant town and a story about two insignificant people who were about to change the world.
5. Larry King, the television talk show host, was asked who he would most like to interview over the course of history. He replied that he would like to interview Jesus Christ. "I would like to ask Him if He was indeed virgin born, because the answer to that question would define history." Guess what Larry, He was - and it has!
In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!” But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be. And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” And Mary said to the angel, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?” And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God. And behold, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. For nothing will be impossible with God.” And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.
A Scary Visit
A Scary Visit
1. Betrothed to be married meant they were legally promised in marriage. This was nearly as equivalent to marriage. Breaking off a betrothal required a divorce.
a. Being unmarried and pregnant would pose a problem to this upcoming marriage, and as we see later in Matthews Gospel Joseph looks to divorce her quietly, but an angel visits him in his sleep and explains everything.
b. The penalty of an unmarried young lady being pregnant was being stoned to death as prescribed by Jewish law. Even worse could you imagine if Mary tried to claim that it was the Holy Spirit through which she conceived? They would add the charges of lying, insanity, and heresy.
2. The Angel's greeting perplexed Mary.
a. It was common for an Angel to start off with the words "Don't be afraid". A visit from an Angel was often a huge deal that could lead to death or some sort of message from God.
b. But the angel led with the words "O favoured one. the Lord is with you". This confused Mary, probably because she was just a normal girl. Not anyone special that would be favoured by God. Also because it was not customary for an angel to greet a woman. The fact that Gabriel was even acknowledging her went against all the beliefs of the Jews.
It is this passage that the Catholic doctrine of the Immaculate conception was birthed from.
The Immaculate Conception
It’s important to understand what the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception is and what it is not. Some people think the term refers to Christ’s conception in Mary’s womb without the intervention of a human father; but that is the Virgin Birth. Others think the Immaculate Conception means Mary was conceived "by the power of the Holy Spirit," in the way Jesus was, but that, too, is incorrect. The Immaculate Conception means that Mary, whose conception was brought about the normal way, was conceived without original sin or its stain—that’s what "immaculate" means: without stain. The essence of original sin consists in the deprivation of sanctifying grace, and its stain is a corrupt nature. Mary was preserved from these defects by God’s grace; from the first instant of her existence she was in the state of sanctifying grace and was free from the corrupt nature original sin brings.
c. Protestants do not believe in this doctrine because of Romans 5:12.
Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned—
d. The Lord is with you is a statement that refers to God's mighty power being present and upon Mary.
The Strange Message
The Strange Message
1. You will conceive a child and name him Jesus.
a. This child will be great, and called the Son of God
b. This son will be given the throne of David, and His kingdom will reign forever.
2. Can you Imagine?
3. So Why a Virgin Birth?
a. Identifies Jesus as the Son of God.
b. Jesus was without sin
i. He had no human father so he did not inherit original sin (Romans 5:12)
c. This Makes Him the Perfect Sacrifice
i. because Jesus was without sin He was the perfect sacrifice that would fulfill the law perfectly.
d.Fulfilment of prophesy in Isaiah 7:14.
Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.
The Response of a Teenage Girl
The Response of a Teenage Girl
1. How is This Going to Happen?
a. Through the Holy Spirit, this is why the child will called holy, and the Son of God.
b. Nothing is impossible with God!
2. Mary Submits to God's Will
a. Mary shows incredible faith, and trust in God's Word.
b. Mary followed God to a place that made no sense, yet by faith she believed.
c. Mary truly lived like nothing is impossible for God.
Big Idea: God can use anyone to do amazing things! All they have to do is place their trust in Jesus. God is not logical, He is Holy and Just!