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LSB Annunciation of Our Lord Sermon – Luke 1:26-38

March 26, 2015

March 25, 2015 at Calvary Evangelical Lutheran Church – Mechanicsburg, PA

“Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus. He 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, and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.”

The angel’s appearance disturbs the Maiden of Nazareth. It should. No matter when an angel is sent or to whom it is sent, the news is disturbing. The angel may be a messenger of doom or a herald of gladness. But the very fact that the LORD has chosen to send a celestial being to a human with a message is disturbing. It denotes the divine intervening among the created. And that is abnormal and jarring to the mind and soul.

When Gabriel appears to Mary, the divine intervention is revealed: “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!” The LORD’s presence is noted by the angel’s greeting. And then the announcement made to Mary exposes why this divine intervention is taking place: “Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus. He 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, and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.”

Gabriel’s announcement states that the LORD’s intervention in this world is taking place in the presence of His Son. Mary is the conduit through which this will take place: she will conceive and bear a male Child. But this Boy will be “the Son of the Most High”. Mary’s Son born among animals and laid in a manger shall take possession of the Davidic throne, ruling Israel for eternity. This will take place as divine ability fulfills the divine will: “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.”

This is disturbing news spoken in Nazareth. For it reveals an event that is unlike any other. Boys are born every day, but this is the bringing forth of the Son of God in the world. Heirs to kingdoms are designated around the world, but none will have an everlasting rule as promised to Jesus. The Holy Spirit does work among countless men and women, but only once does He cause the conception of a truly holy Child.

Hearing about the Annunciation and the works wrought by God at that moment provide enough objects for your minds to consider for a lifetime. Tomes can be written about the Incarnation: how it took place, at what moment was the Son conceived in the Blessed Virgin, why this maiden was chosen over all other women on earth, Mary’s trust and willingness, and so on. But as you hear about the Annunciation just days before Holy Week begins, the focus is on the purpose of this event. Why does the Son of God take flesh? How will the statements made to Mary be fulfilled—not just the presence of the holy Child but what He will achieve?

Gabriel’s statements to Mary reveal an agenda that will be completed by the Son she bears. They provide a prologue to the entire Gospel narrative of Jesus. As you hear the record of Jesus’ words and works, the overarching question is: How does this gain Him the throne of David, rule over Israel, and an everlasting kingdom? You hear the Gospel accounts, looking for the answer to that question. And that is what begins to explain and reveal the reason for Jesus’ actions and the events He undergoes.

Jesus is born in Bethlehem to be identified as David’s heir. He is recognized as a king by the Magi who see His star. The Son of the Most High has that His identity confirmed at His baptism and transfiguration. His confrontations with the chief priests, scribes, and elders are a struggle with the authority that He bears and those opposed to it. All His teaching serves as a charter for His kingdom on earth. Jesus’ miraculous deeds of healing show a restoration of order to the world that belongs to Him. His death as a substitutionary sacrifice reveals Him as a benevolent ruler. When Jesus steps out of the tomb, He demonstrates that His rule is not bound by death, not limited in any way. And throughout all this, Jesus is seen welcoming individuals as citizens of His kingdom.

This is the disturbing news that the Annunciation ushers in. This is the divine intervention that takes place in the cosmos. But it is a disturbing news that brings about gladness for those who are beneficiaries of this work wrought by the LORD. There is no passivity left for you; this divine act causes you to act. Hearing what is to be done, you also speak the way Mary did: “Let it be to me according to Your Word.” Having the Son of God come to earth is your desire. It brings you joy, for your salvation is achieved through the deeds that this Son of the Most High completes for you. This divine intervention shows how the LORD is present for you and it makes you one of His favored ones. And you anticipate when you will see this Jesus with your own eyes, just as Mary did when she bore Him in Bethlehem.

The divine intervention that Gabriel announces takes place for your benefit. So what Jesus accomplishes as He has the throne of David bestowed to Him, reigns over His chosen people, and receives an eternal kingdom elicits adoration and doxology from your mouths. The disturbing news that has given you new life, new identity, and new hope forms the content of your songs of praise, as you will sing tonight: “Praise be to Him who, Lord Most High / The fullness of the Godhead shares; / And yet our human nature bears, / Who came as man to bleed and die. / And from His cross there flows our peace / Who chose for us the path He trod, / That so might sins and sorrows cease / And all be reconciled to God.” For that is the result of what was announced in Nazareth: “Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus.”

+ In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

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