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Message to Mary: A Christmas Sermon

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Luke 1:26-56

Christmas is not the beginning of the gospel story as some think. It is the beginning of the fulfilment of all that God promised through his servants the prophets long ago. Nowhere is this more clearly seen than in the angel Gabriel’s Christmas message to Mary.

Mary’s response challenges us to believe that all that the Lord has said – and demonstrated by the first Christmas – will be accomplished.

ONE THOUSAND YEARS BEFORE THE FIRST CHRISTMAS

Around one thousand years before the first Christmas, David planned to build a house (the Temple) for the Lord. God revealed himself to David and entered into Covenant with him. David himself would not be the one to build a house for the Lord, but the Lord promised to David:

“I declare to you that the LORD will build a house for you: When your days are over and you go to be with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, one of your own sons, and I will establish his kingdom. He is the one who will build a house for me, and I will establish his throne forever. I will be his father, and he will be my son. I will never take my love away from him, as I took it away from your predecessor. I will set him over my house and my kingdom forever; his throne will be established forever” (1 Chronicles 17:10-14).

God’s promise to David was the promise of:

  • An eternal house (a family dynasty, not a building);
  • An eternal kingdom;
  • An eternal Father-Son relationship.

God was promising Israel an eternal (though not uninterrupted) kingship in the family of David.

The glory of David and Solomon’s rule became a model for that greater Israelite Kingdom still to come. The throne of David was the “throne of the Lord” (1 Chronicles 29:23, 2 Chronicles 9:8). The kingdom of David was “the kingdom of the Lord over Israel” (1 Chronicles 28:5) or “the kingdom of the Lord” (2 Chronicles 13:8). The New Testament term, “kingdom of God”, is the equivalent of the Old Testament “kingdom of the Lord”. The “coming kingdom” was to be “the kingdom of our father David” (Mark 11:10) ruled over by David’s Greater Son – the Messiah.

THE DECLINE OF THE KINGDOM

Most of the kings in the line of David failed to live up to their calling. Yet even as the Davidic Monarchy fell into decline the prophets kept alive the hope that one day Messiah would come to restore the kingdom and free the nation from the yoke of Gentile oppression.

Isaiah says, “The law will go out from Zion, the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. He will judge between the nations and will settle disputes for many peoples. They will beat their swords into ploughshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore.” (Isa. 2:3-4).

And again, “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 Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this.” (Isa. 9:6-7).

Micah even tells us where this promised Son was to be born:

“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.” (Micah 5:2).

THE ANGEL’S MESSAGE TO MARY

Now, after nearly one thousand years of waiting, an angel appeared to a virgin in Nazareth. Mary was told that she was to have a son:

  • Her son would be “the Son of the Most High”;
  • He would inherit “the throne of his father David”;
  • He would “reign over the house of Jacob [Israel] forever”; and,
  • “His kingdom will never end” (Luke 1:32-33).

This is the fulfilment of God’s Covenant promises to David!

The gospel or the “good news” of Christmas is that God in Jesus has fulfilled his promises to Israel (and the world). Messiah Jesus, the ideal king in the line of David, who has a perfect relationship with God, will soon sit on the throne of David in Jerusalem and reign over Israel and the world forever – bringing peace, righteousness and everlasting life.

MARY’S RESPONSE (AND OURS)

Mary’s response to the angel’s message, despite the danger to her reputation, perhaps even her life was to commit herself fully to the plan and purpose of the Lord. “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered, “May it be to me as you have said” (Luke 1:38).

No wonder Elizabeth says, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! But why am I so favoured, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished!” (Luke 1:42-45).

Notice what it was that made Mary blessed: she believed that what the Lord had said to her would be accomplished! (Luke 1:45).

Mary’s song of praise (Luke 1:46-55) further shows forth her faith and trust in God. She says of God:

  • He has performed mighty deeds (v. 51a);
  • He has scattered the proud (v. 51b);
  • He has brought down rulers (v. 52a);
  • He has exalted the humble (v. 52b);
  • He has filled the hungry (v. 53a);
  • He has sent the rich away empty (v. 53b);
  • He has sent the rich away empty (v. 53b);
  • He has sent the rich away empty (v. 53b);
  • He has sent the rich away empty (v. 53b);
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Written by admin

June 23, 2010 at 7:07 pm

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