Luke 1: 26-31
In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, ‘Greetings, you who are highly favoured! The Lord is with you.’
Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favour with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus.
As we come to look at the Christmas story this week, I’m aware that it has probably become so familiar to all of us that it seems just like a children’s story. A nice wee tale we bring out once a year because it makes us feel all sentimental and warm and fuzzy inside. The birth of the little baby Jesus in the manger in Bethlehem can end up being no more important to us than stories about Santa and the Tooth Fairy.
God wants to remind us that the coming of His Son into our world was the most significant event in human history. The incarnation, the birth of Jesus Christ, God becoming man, was the most dramatic, most incredible, most important event this world has ever known. And this single event changes everything.
Having a little 4 year old boy, I can attest that having a baby turns your whole world upside down. There’s sleepless nights,you can’t make plans without arranging a babysitter, your life, your world revolves around this little 8lb bundle of flesh.
When it comes to the birth of Jesus, not only did the world of his parents revolve around him, but the whole of human history revolves around him. We literally split up human history into the time before Jesus was born (BC – Before Christ) and the time after Jesus was born (AD – Anno Domini – the Year of Our Lord).
Let’s look at Luke 1 and what Luke says about this event.
The first thing I want us to see is this: GOD KEEPS HIS WORD
We all have people in our lives who say they’ll do something – but they never do it. They say they’ll phone you – but you never get their call. That they’ll be somewhere at a certain time – but they are either late, or they don’t turn up at all. People say things all the time that they don’t really mean.
God doesn’t do that. God keeps His Word. Whenever God says he will do something, we can be sure He will do it.
The whole way through the Old Testament, time and time again through all the prophets, God promised that one day he would send a deliverer, a redeemer who would rescue His people.
In total, in the Old Testament there are 322 Messianic prophecies telling us about the Messiah coming to earth. They tell us how the Messiah will be born, where he will be born, what he will say and do, how he’s going to die, even the number of coins which will be used to betray him.
Back in the centuries before Jesus was born God’s people read and heard these prophecies and got excited. They prayed with eager expectation. The more the prophets told them, the more they longed for this coming Messiah. God come and rescue us.
But then something happened: God went silent.
We get to the end of the Old Testament and we turn the page and we’re at Matthew chapter 1 and the birth of Jesus. Just one page turn. But what we don’t realise that between the last prophet in the Old Testament speaking, and the time of Mary and Joseph in the New Testament, 400 years had passed.
For 400 years God simply went quiet and stopped communicating with His people. No more prophets, no visions or dreams or angels. Not a peep from God.
Have you ever had a relationship where all seemed great, and then one day the person just stopped phoning you? They just seemed to go all quiet, they don’t respond to your texts, they don’t return your calls.
You automatically think – what have I done? Have they fallen out with me?
That’s what God’s people thought – what have we done that God isn’t speaking anymore?
Has He left His people?
Has He abandoned them?
Has He gone back on what He promised?
Was He not going to send a deliverer?
God, where have you gone?
And then one day, just an ordinary day, in a little rural hick town called Nazareth, a young girl called Mary, of about 14 or 15 years old is just going about her business. She’s probably all excited because she’s getting married soon to a young man called Joe. There’s plans to be made, dresses to be tried on.
She is full of hopes and dreams for the future. Then God shows up in angelic form and shares this message:
“You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus.” (v. 31)
We’ll get into the details tomorrow, but for now I want you to see this: God keeps His Word.
God had said He would send a deliverer. If God said it, it was going to happen.
Are you waiting on God today for something? Is there a promise that God doesn’t seem to be keeping? It’s so difficult for us to wait, especially when it’s something that we desperately need today. Be assured, He is totally faithful, God will keep His word.