For Christmas

                                                        December 21, 2008

                                                            Luke 1:26-56



v. 26 – “the angel Gabriel was sent”


It would be a very interesting to study the errands of angels in Scripture.


“Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who

shall be heirs of salvation?” – Hebrews 1:14


It is beyond our scope this morning to make that study and our misdirection

would be compounded at the expense of the birth of Jesus Christ, who not only

is the Maker of the world, but the Savior of the world – The Lamb of God!


But I will say that the word “angel” is mentioned 201 times in the Bible,

51 of which is in the book of Revelation.  “Angels” in the plural is mentioned

93 times with 23 of those from Revelation.


Twenty-five times in scripture it specifically mentions an angel being “sent”


* I will mention that angels are connected with the announcement of and the

   destruction of Sodom – The Lord Himself, in an exception, went with two of

   them to tell Abraham.  Genesis 19

* An angel delivered Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego from the fiery furnace -        

   Daniel 3:28

* An angel was sent to shut the lions mouths while Daniel was in the lions den.

   Daniel 6:22

* An angel was sent for the call of Moses – Acts 7:35

* An angel was sent to the gentile Corneilous that led to his salvation – Acts 10:22

* An angel was sent to Peter to deliver him from prison.  Acts 12:11

* An angel gave to John the Revelation of Jesus Christ – Revelation 1:1

* Angels deliver the seven seals in the book of Revelation – chapters 5-8

* Angels blow the seven trumpets in the book of Revelation – chapters 8-9

* Angels are associated with the seven last plagues that will plague the earth – ch. 15

* Angels are associated with the seven golden vials full of the wrath of God –

   chps. 15-17

* An angel, at the end of time, “sware by Him that liveth for ever and ever, who

   created heaven, and the things that therein are, and the earth, the things that

   therein are….there should be time no longer” – Revelation 10:6

* Angels are sent, at the end of time, to “gather out of His kingdom, all that

   offend and do iniquity and shall cast them into a furnace of fire”  - Matt. 13:41-42


* Angels are sent, at the end of the world, to “gather together His elect from the

   four winds, from the uttermost part of the earth, to the uttermost part of heaven.”

   Mark 13:27

* We are admonished in scripture to “Be not forgetful to entertain strangers for

   thereby some have entertained angels unawares”  - Hebrews 13:2

* Let us not forget the words of Jesus when He said “Inasmuch as ye have done

   it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.  Matt. 25:40

* An angel was sent to Zacharias to announce the birth of the forerunner of

   Jesus Christ, John the Baptist – Luke 1:19

* And now back to present reality – the angel Gabriel was sent to Mary to tell of

   the conception and birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!




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“a city of Galilee, named Nazareth” – under Roman rule the Land

of Promise had been divided into Judea, Samaria, Peraea and

Galilee.  Galilee was the the northern department, and comprised

the old territory of the tribes of Zebulon, Naphtali, and Asher.  From

Josepheus, we learn that at this period the northern division was

rich and populous, and covered with flourishing towns.


v. 27 – “To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph,

              of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary.”


v. 28 – “Hail, thou that art highly favored” – the literal translation

              is “having been much graced”



“Blessed art thou among women” is not in the older authorities –

perhaps this could have saved millions of millions of meaningless chants.


It is significant that so little is said in Holy Scripture of this one of whom

it was said “blessed art thou among women”.  Nothing is related as to

her birth and parentage, as to her gifts of mind and person; it is not

even directly asserted that she belonged to the royal stock of David,

that is to be implied only from such a verse as the 32nd.  After the Lord,

on the cross, solemnly gave her to the care of the beloved disciple, there

is only one allusion to her, an allusion in Acts 1.  There is no reference

to her in the Epistles of Paul, none in that of James, who was certainly nearly

related to her; none in those of John, with whom she had lived.  Luke,

in speaking of her in connection with the birth, says only, “A virgin

espoused to man whose name was Joseph”.   “Blessed,” cried a woman

one day to Jesus, “is she that bare thee!”  He did not deny it; but that

there be no distraction of soul, He added, “Yea, rather, blessed are they

that hear the Word of God, and keep it” – Luke 11:27


The scriptures portrayal of her bears the marks of Divine wisdom.  The

reticence of Scripture might suggest that the inspiring Spirit of God,

foreseeing the danger which so soon appeared, of an admiration scarcely

separated from and insensibly sliding into grave error, moved the

evangelist from any magnifying of the Virgin.  But the mistaken honor

paid to Mary should not withdraw the mind from what is truly honorable

and exemplary in her conduct.  She is a type of the believer for all times,

in the quietness and confidence which are the believer’s strength, “Blessed

is she that believeth”.



v. 29 – “she was troubled” – more accurately, she was greatly troubled.

            Different to Zacharias, who evidently doubted in the mission of

            the angel, and who required some sign before he could believe,

            Mary simply wondered at the strangeness of what was about to



vs. 30-31 – “Fear not Mary:  for thou hast found favor with God.  And,

                     behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth

                     a son, and shalt call His name Jesus”


Jesus, the ordinary Greek form of the well –know Hebrew Jehoshua –

the shortened Joshua, “The Salvation of Jehovah”



“He shall be great and be called the Son of the Highest” –



“that holy thing” – In Christ we have the humanity and the Divinity,

each perfect and complete.  Whatever can be said of man can be

said of Him; what can be said of God can also be said of Him.  Very

man and very God!


“thou shalt call His name Jesus:  for He shall save His people from

their sins” – Matthew 1:21

Sin is deeply involved with poverty, estrangement, strife, weariness,

aching of heart and death.  Saving us from sin means restoration to

God and Divine favor.


“This is the Lord’s doing and it is marvelous in our eyes” – Matt. 21:42

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vs. 39-40 – The visit with Elizabeth


v. 39 – “And Mary arose in those days, and went unto the hill country

            with haste, into a city of Judah.


Interposed will be the account in Matthew of the natural suspicion

of Joseph, her betrothed future husband, his action in the matter,

in which her innocence was vindicated. (See Matthew 1:18-25)


v. 45 – “And blessed is she that believed:  for there shall be a

            performance of those things which were told her from the



Compare Romans 4:18-21 in reference to the faith of Abraham –

He “staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief, but

was strong in faith giving glory to God; and being fully persuaded

that, what he had promised, He was able to perform.”


“Faithful is He that calleth you who also will do it” – I Thess. 5:24


vs. 46-56 – The Hymn of Mary, commonly called the Magnificat


Mary's Response - The Magnificat -

            her praise - deep feelings of adoration, holy

            joy, glad surprise.  She asks nothing - just

            breathes adoration & thankfulness!


Notice the personal gladness & emotion, losing herself in the

sense of unspeakable lovingkindness of God!


vs. 46-48 - "regardeth the low estate" - "He knoweth

            our frame, He remembereth that we are dust"


Distant generations will not hear our name, but in the

remotest times we shall be dwelling and serving in

unimaginable JOY!


vs. 48-49 - "all generations"


v. 50 - "generation to generation" - those who fear

            God receive His mercy in every generation.



vs. 49-50 -Mary glorifies four attributes of God - His power, His

            holiness, His Mercy and His faithfulness.


“God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet

sinners, Christ died for us”





Surely in all the world's creation, His might had never

been shown as it was now about to be manifest in her!


In the Incarnation, God was sending real help to His

people.  It was the crowning act of mercy, and the

fulfillment of the promises made to Abraham and his

seed.  Mary thus began with God's holiness and passed

in review His  power, His mercy, and finally His

faithfulness.  All these are illustrated eminently

in the Incarnation.


vs. 51-53 - describes the Messiah's reversal of man's

            conception of what is little and great as though

            the unborn Babe had already done His mighty

            & strange work in the world.


Sounds like the Sermon on the Mount preached

thirty years early!





God's holiness is shown in His providential inter-

positions, in His humbling the haughty, in His

scattering the cruel and the profane, in His raising

the lowly and the pure and the true.


Thus, He has been revealing His righteousness in



vs. 54-56 - God has not forgotten His promise nor

            His people!


The fidelity of God to His covenant with Israel!


v. 55 - The Lord's Faithfulness


"God manifest in the flesh" - I Tim. 3:12

                                                   John 1:14

We have no right to hope and no reason to expect,

that He will ever manifest  Himself to us in more

attractive features than as we see Him in the Son

that was born on Christmas Day!


Hebrews 1:1-3