The virgin conception
Many liberals would try to play down the virgin birth. They would dumb down the Bible. They would try to minimise the Bible.
They would see Jesus as a good man. A good teacher. A good example, but nothing more. When we seek to make Jesus blend in, He simply doesn't stand out. Jesus is more than a figure of history.
He is worthy to be worshipped and praised and can change lives.
If Jesus is God then His birth would be supernatural.
1/. The angel visits Mary. 26 - 38.
This is in the 6th month of Elizabeth's pregnancy. She was Mary's older cousin. Gabriel had already appeared to Zechariah and now here he was sent to Mary.
Mary was from Nazareth. This was a back water town. It was viewed in a poor light at the time. It was said of Nazareth, can anything good come from there. Of course we now know that more than a good thing can come from there. Indeed the best thing ever will come from there. Our saviour Jesus.
Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph. Jewish women were usually married at a very early age. She was most probably in her early teens. She was betrothed. She was pledged to be married to Joseph. They wouldn't love together but they would have been promised to each other. Even at this stage they would have had to be divorced if they split up. Luke emphasises that Mary was a virgin.
Greetings to you who are highly favoured. The Lord is with you, Gabriel said to Mary.
Mary was highly blessed. She wasn't the one who graced but the one who was graced. She was blessed by God. What a privilege this was for Mary.
Elizabeth said Mary was blessed above all women.
Mary is being told that the boy she will give birth to will be the greatest of all men. She is to call Him Jesus.
Mary asked how will this be as I am a virgin. Zechariah asked the same question last week when he said he was too old. God struck him dumb until John was born. The difference was Mary wasn't doubting God but she just didn't understand how she was going to be pregnant when she was a virgin.
The angel answers the Holy Spirit will come upon you. It will be a work of God. You will be Jesus earthy mother but He will be the Son of God.
Remember this was written by a Dr. Remember this was Luke. This truly set Jesus apart from every other birth in existence. Jesus wasn't just another human baby. He was divine in nature. When God is at work nothing in impossible. With God a virgin birth is easy, without Him it is impossible.
Verse 37 proves this. Nothing is impossible with Him.
Mary responds in 38. She submits to God's word.
2/. Mary visits Elizabeth. 39 - 45.
Joy to the believing.
Mary gots herself ready and made her way to Judea. She arrives with Zechariah and Elizabeth. The baby in Elizabeth's womb leaps for joy. This wasn't a kick. This was a leap for joy. We were already told John would be filled by the spirit in a special way.
There was also the joy of Elizabeth. She gave a cry, a glad cry, God has blessed you above all women and your child is blessed.
She Recognises that the baby in Mary's womb was even more important than her baby. She was honoured that Mary even came to visits her.
There was great joy for Mary herself which we will look at in the next study.
Jesus is like us in some ways but very different. We are under the sentence of death. Only one who was fully man could represent us in front of God. Only one who was fully God could pay the price that our sins deserved on the cross.
This humanity and deity starts back here at Jesus conception.
Our response should be one of humility.
We should respond with faith.
We should respond with joy.
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