Over the years I have written several "book" or "booklets" and many, many, many newsletter and bulletin articles. Because the book market seeks writings to meet specific needs at specific times, my material has never been accepted. I have a tendency to write what is on my mind and so I am left with self publishing. So, with the encouragement from my wife and others, I am beginning this blog in order to put my "ramblings" "out there"! I hope you enjoy!
Please note that while my intentions are to use good grammar, because of the way in which some of the material presented here is presented (orally) the grammar and syntax might not always be the best English. Also note that good theology is not always presented in the best English so there may be times when the proper grammar rules are purposely broken.
Thursday, March 28, 2013
The Fulfillment Announced to Mary - Maundy Thursday - March 28, 2013 - Text: Luke 1:26-37
Our text for this evening is Luke 1:26-37: “26In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, 27to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin’s name was Mary. 28And he came to her and said, “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!” 29But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be. 30And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. 32He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, 33and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” 34And Mary said to the angel, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?” 35And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy— the Son of God. 36And behold, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. 37For nothing will be impossible with God.” This is our text.
This year during the season of Lent and Easter we are following the thread of God’s promise to send a Savior for all people (one covenant, not two). We began in the Garden of Eden when God first made His promise to send a Savior to Adam and Eve, before there was a Jew or Gentile. We continued with the reiteration of the covenant and the announcement of its fulfillment being narrowed, that is that the Savior of all nations would be born through the line of Abram whose name was later changed to Abraham. We followed as the covenant was reiterated and continued through the line of Abraham’s son, Isaac, and through Isaac’s son, Jacob and even through Israel’s greatest king, King David. Last week we moved in the New Testament and heard the announcement of the beginning of the fulfillment of the covenant through Zechariah’s son, John. This week continue in the New Testament and the announcement to Mary that she will be the mother of the Messiah.
In the beginning God created a perfect world. Into this perfect world He created a perfect Garden and in this perfect Garden He created and placed a man and a woman, Adam and Eve. In Genesis chapter three God “turns the reins” over to Adam and Eve and they disobey God and bring sin, death and a curse onto the world. Thanks be to God that He immediately stepped in and promised Adam and Eve and the world, that He would send a Savior, a Messiah, an anointed one, a Christ, one to atone for and make right what Adam and Eve had broken.
After a number of years, God remembered his promise, not that He had forgotten His promise, but He remembered His promise and reiterated His promise, this time narrowing the family through whom He would fulfill His promise down to Abraham.
As we have been hearing over the past number of weeks, God continued to reiterate His promise even to King David concerning his kingdom, that is David’s kingdom and God’s kingdom. In other words, the promise in Eden was for forgiveness on earth, which would mean eternal life in heaven. And this forgiveness and life were gifts from our gracious Creator God, so that this forgiveness and life are not earned nor deserved, but are gifts given through faith, which is given as well.
Moving into the New Testament, the prophecies God had made were beginning to be fulfilled and the announcement of their fulfillment came to one young woman, Mary, who we are told was a virgin, and this was important, because one prophecy of the Savior was that He would be born of a virgin.
To this Mary, God sent His angel, Gabriel, to announce to her that she was favored and chosen by God. This favor and choosing was not because of anything within her, but was because God chose her. Mary did not choose God. Mary did not choose to be chosen by God. It was God who came to Mary, chose her and announced His favor on her. As always and even as in our own lives of faith, God is the one initiating these events.
God’s angel, Gabriel announced to Mary that she will conceive a child in her womb and this child will be conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit who would “overshadow” her. Thus, this child would be fully human, being conceived and born of a human woman, and He would be truly God, being conceived by the Holy Spirit, even God Himself.
This child would also be a son of David, as it were, because as we read in the genealogies of Mary and Joseph, both parents trace their roots back to King David and of course through the line of Judah. All of this evidence, all of these facts are important to make sure we know that Jesus is the Messiah, the Christ, the Savior of the world.
And about this Messiah, this Savior, this Jesus who is from the Kingly line of David, His reign will be forever, not on this earth, but in heaven. Again we see the eternal nature of these prophecies, and their fulfillment. We see the eternal nature of God’s grace and favor. We see the eternal nature of salvation as a gift from God, not by genetics, not by birth, but the faith given through the means of grace.
Mary’s response to the news of the angel was that she asked for an explanation, yet her asking was not an asking in doubt, as was Zechariah’s. Perhaps, putting the best construction on everything and explaining everything in the kindest way, perhaps a part of the difficulty Zechariah had in believing was because he and Elizabeth were past child bearing years and so his questioning was a questioning of doubt. As for Mary, her question was simply a question of procedure.
In faith, faith which God had given to her, Mary submitted to God’s will and plan. Mary agreed to be the mother of God, although I would suggest that she really had no idea what that meant or might mean.
As with all of Holy Scripture, we are reminded once again, that with God all things are possible. It is God who is the prime mover in all these events that are taking place. It is God who is doing everything for us.
Our what does this mean? Continues to be answered with our focus on our gracious Lord. The events of this Lenten Season, the events of this evening, tomorrow and Easter Sunday are all events set in motion by our good and gracious God who loves us so much that He takes care of everything for us. What we are witnessing is God stepping into our human history.
These events which we are witnessing are God fulfilling His promise to save His creation. The promise made in Eden is being fulfilled for us, for you and me, for all people, of all places of all times. None of these events is coincidence. All of these events are thought out and calculated for the purpose of restoring us to a right relationship with God the Father.
Again, the focus is always on our Lord. It is God who is bringing redemption and reconciliation. We are doing nothing but witnessing these events. We are being passively done for and done to. God does and we are done to. God gives and we are given to. God is the prime mover for us, because of His great love for us.
As we bear witness of these events and as we will continue to bear witness through Sunday, and truly even beyond, what we are witnessing is the fact that we are being saved. What a great God we have. What a loving God we have.
We are children of the covenant, by faith He gives to us. We rejoice because Jesus came for us. He came to live the perfect life for all of Israel and for us because they could not nor can we. Jesus came to fulfill all God’s promises and prophecies concerning the coming Messiah perfectly and then He took all the sins of all people, of all places, of all times on Himself and suffered and died paying the price for our sin. All because of His great love for us.
Today it is important that we continue to remember and follow God’s covenant because His covenant is a covenant, not based on human desire, need or work, but based on Jesus and His work of salvation for us. We need that constant reminder of our part in Jesus suffering and death. It was not only because of Adam and Eve’s sin, not only because the earth has been cursed, not only because we are conceived and born in sin, but also because of our own actual sins that Jesus had to come and die to pay the price for our sins.
Even before God began creation, He knew what was going to happen. Even before God began creation, He could look through time and He could see us, you and me. Because of His great love for us, for you and for me, He set into motion, not only creation, but also our redemption. Yes, you and I put Jesus on the cross. Yet, He went to the cross willingly because of His great love for us. At our Baptism He put faith in our hearts and made us His children. As we confess our sins and hear His words of absolution, as we hear His Holy Word read and proclaimed, as we partake of His body and blood in His Holy Supper, we are strengthened in our faith, we participate in His life, death and resurrection, and we are given His robes of righteousness. And all we can do is rejoice and give Him thanks, for Jesus’ sake. Amen.