Prepared for Jesus: Son of God and Mary's Son

4th Sunday in Advent
December 24, 2017
Lincoln Heights Lutheran Church
Prepared for Jesus: Son of God and Mary’s Son

Luke 1:26–38 (NIV84)
In the sixth month, 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.” 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 be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. 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.” 34 “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?” 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. 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. 37 For nothing is impossible with God.” 38 “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May it be to me as you have said.” Then the angel left her.

Dear Friends in Christ,

Are parents every really prepared for a child? They may have all the necessary equipment to care for a baby – diapers, bottles, clothes, diapers, blankets, crib, diapers, a nursery, car seat and a few more diapers. They may have the name picked out and the scrapbook ready to fill. They may have read all the parenting books and gotten advice (wanted or not) from everyone they’ve met the last few months as they await the birth of their first child. But there will be some surprises. That little bundle of joy may cry nonstop for hours each night. The little one might not like the bottle you got or the stacks of diapers you have don’t work for this child. And the surprises will continue as the child grows. A parent can never be completely ready for every possible parenting situation. We do the best we can and trust the Lord to help us.

Mary trusted the Lord too. Her child would also be a challenge for her to raise, not because Jesus was a rotten child, but because he is the perfect Son of God. Mary was not prepared for being a mother at all but Gabriel’s message prepares her to welcome the Christ Child into the world. The Word of God for us today also prepares us to welcome Jesus, the Son of God and Mary’s Son.

In the sixth month, 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.” 29 Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be.

Mary’s Son

Mary is a young woman at this time. She is engaged to be married to a carpenter named Joseph. The wedding feast must be approaching soon and they could soon begin their life and family together. What an exciting time for Mary. We can understand why Mary would be greatly troubled when Gabriel greets her.

Why is an angel here? Why is he telling me I am highly favored? Why is the Lord with me? Maybe this greeting would make sense if Mary was in some kind of trouble. If she was sick or in danger, knowing the God was with her would be a comfort. But Mary was in the prime of life and looking ahead to her marriage to Joseph. She doesn’t need rescue or comfort or healing. Of course, as a sinful human, Mary needed spiritual healing and forgiveness of her sins. But God did not normally send an angel like Gabriel to forgive sins. No, this greeting was something else.

God was highly favoring Mary by choosing her to be part of the salvation story. Other women had been part of the story already. The offspring of a woman will crush Satan’s power, rescuing sinners from eternal hell. God chose women like Eve, Sarah, Rebekah, and Leah, Tamar, Rahab, and Ruth. They all bore offspring who would continue the line of the Savior. It was Mary who was highly favored by God as the woman to bear the one offspring promised to Adam and Eve. The Savior would be the Son of Mary.

The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. 31 You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus.

Jesus will be just like any child. He will grow inside his mother for about nine months. He will be born like a human child. Although his birth was not in a hospital, not at home, not even in a guest room in Bethlehem. His would be in a place where the animals were kept. Jesus would be wrapped in cloths and placed in a manger for a crib. Prepare yourself for Christmas by reminding yourself that Jesus is Mary’s Son. He is like us in every way except one.

Jesus knows what it is like to grow up. He had a human mother and a human adopted father. His human family was in the working poor class. He learned from teachers. Jesus knows what it is to live in this world under the curse of sin. We may be tempted to think that God doesn’t know what we are going through but God’s Son knows exactly what it is to be human. He is true Man, born of the virgin Mary.

Though he was born of a sinful woman and lived among sinful people, he was born pure and holy. Jesus has no sinful nature and lived without sin while at the same time being fully human. Mary’s Son lived his perfect life to cover our sinful lives. Then he gave his perfect human life to pay for sins. He went to the cross and suffered real human pain, real human anguish. Mary’s Son died that to crush the power of Satan. Though we have sinned and the devil has plenty of which to accuse us before God, not one sin is counted against us because Jesus gave up his life for this world of sinners.

The life and death of Mary’s Son is so valuable and certainly saves us because Mary’s Son is the Son of God.

Son of God

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.” 34 How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?” 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.

Mary listens to this wonderful news that she is going to give birth to the Messiah promised throughout the Old Testament. This is great news but she is confused. She knows how biology works. You need a male and a female to have a baby. She is not yet married and has not been breaking the sixth commandment. How is she going to have a child? When Gabriel appeared to Zechariah in the temple, Zechariah did not believe that he and Elizabeth would have a child because they were old and Elizabeth was barren. The chances of them having a child was very low but not biologically impossible. Gabriel presents Mary with a promise of something that is biologically impossible. However, Mary does not waver in unbelief. She is simply curious as to how this impossible thing is going to happen, that a virgin will have a son.

So Gabriel answers in the words of the Apostles’ Creed: conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the virgin Mary. Rather, the creed expresses the message Gabriel brought from God. The Holy Spirit will do this impossible thing and create life in the womb of Mary. This child will be God’s Son and therefore true God, equal with the Father and the Spirit.

Only God’s Son could live the perfect life God demands. Only the suffering and death of God’s Son could take away the sin of the entire world. God had sent prophets, priests, kings and angels to help his people throughout history but only the Son of God can save the world from sin and death. The Christ Child born for us at Christmas is the only one who could save the world.

Raising a normal human child is enough pressure on parents. Feeding the right food, teaching the right things, protecting from all kinds of dangers and more. Now Mary has the huge responsibility of being the mother of God’s Son. What if she gives him something he is allergic to? What if she doesn’t cover him enough and he catches a cold? What if she forgets to find him before leaving Jerusalem during Passover festival and leaves him behind? Mary’s response to this news is amazing. She is not full of ‘what ifs’ but says, “I am the Lord’s servant...May it be to me as you have said.”

The salvation of the world did not depend on how well Mary raised her son. It depended completely on Mary’s Son. The world’s salvation would not be delayed or interrupted by Mary’s sins because her son is also her Savior. The Son of God and Mary’s Son forgave her sins and the sins of the world. She and we are highly favored by God. He gave us his Son.

We cannot hold him like Mary did but we can still listen to his voice. God continues to bless us with his forgiveness in Jesus through his Word. He continues to show us his amazing grace in the Bible. This Christmas and this year worship your newborn King by being near his Word. O come let us adore him, Christ the Lord. Son of God and Mary’s Son. Our Savior.

Amen.


 

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