How will this be? - Luke 1:26-38

This is a sermon by Lee McMunn from the Riverside Church service on 21st December 2014.

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Knowing the what and the why of Christmas.


  • Gabriel’s promise (Vs 26-33)
  • Mary’s response (Vs 34)
  • Gabriel’s explanation (Vs 35-37)
  • Mary’s commitment (Vs 38)


Gabriel’s promise (Vs 26-33)


Notice the detail. Luke is very particular. It is his way of showing us he has done his research.


The Lord is with you! What does that enigmatic statement mean? God is helping you? One of God’s messengers is speaking to you? The Lord himself will be born from you because he now dwells in your womb?


Mary wasn’t sure. I love the honesty of vs 29.


The angel clears up any confusion. Tells Mary exactly what God is promising her.


  • You have found favour with God. No boasting about this child.
  • You will be with child.
  • Give birth to a son.
  • Call him Jesus – God to the rescue
  • He will be great – full stop. Compare with John the Baptist.


“If you took all the greatest thinkers of every country and every century of the world and put them in a room with Jesus, they would shut their mouths and listen to the greatness of his wisdom. All the greatest generals would listen to his strategy. All the greatest musicians would listen to his music theory and his performance on every instrument. There is nothing that Jesus cannot do a thousand times better than the person you admire most in any area of human endeavor under the sun. Words fail to fill the greatness of Jesus. So Gabriel leaves it simple and yet so profound: "He will be great!”


  • He will be called the Son of the Most High.


What would you trust a 13 year girl with?


  • Throne of his father David. He will reign forever.


Mary’s response (Vs 34)


Read vs 34. Does she not believe or believe?


Contrast with Zechariah’s.


She is an example of faith seeking understanding.


It is about attitude.


Gabriel’s explanation (Vs 35-37)


How is this going to work?


There isn’t much detail. The Holy Spirit will come upon you. The power of the Most High will overshadow you.


Why the virgin birth? Notice what is mentioned in vs 35. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.


The result is that there will be no doubt that he is the eternal Son of God. No human father will raise the question who is the real Father? He is not the son of Joseph but the Son of God.


Is it possible?


The God who created a universe out of nothing. Now creates some of what is required for a human being out of nothing.


Mary’s commitment (Vs 38)


Read vs 38.


Think of her alternative plans. But she submits herself to God’s ways.


Two dangers related to Mary. Making too much of Mary. Making too little of Mary.


Making too much of Mary.


“Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee, blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb Jesus, Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death, Amen.”


Making too little of Mary.


Mary is not the object of faith but she is an example of faith.


“She’s not perfect, but she is wonderful. In a day when sexual sin is so prevalent, rebellion is so prevalent, when everyone but particularly teenagers are so exceedingly selfish and self-consumed, Mary says, “I’m a servant of the Lord, whatever he wants, that’s what I want.”


Whatever God’s plans – that’s what I’ll do!

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