Luke 1:26-38 In the sixth month, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, 27 to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin's name was Mary. 28 The angel went to her and said, "Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you." 29 Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 30 But the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. 31 You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end." 34 "How will this be," Mary asked the angel, "since I am a virgin?" 35 The angel answered, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. 36 Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be barren is in her sixth month. 37 For nothing is impossible with God." 38 "I am the Lord's servant," Mary answered. "May it be to me as you have said." Then the angel left her.
God had called. The messenger left his post and stepped into the throne room. God was sending His appointed messenger, Gabriel, on the most important mission of his life.
Gabriel came to the region of Galilee, to a town called Nazareth. There he found the home of a young maiden named Mary, who was still living with her parents. Mary’s older brothers and father have gone to work for the day. Her mom has just left to go to the marketplace for some lamb and vegetables for the dinner meal. Mary is alone in the kitchen cleaning up after the breakfast meal.
She is reaching up to put away the last plate when she is startled by a bright light in the doorway. The plate falls from her hand and shatters on the floor. There is an angel standing in the room!
Gabriel greets her, “Rejoice, you have received grace from the Lord.” She appears as if she is going to faint, so he adds the common statement that is spoken to everyone who encounters a holy angel, “Don’t be afraid.”
Mary takes a deep breath and relaxes.
Gabriel explains his presence in her home. “Mary, you have found favor with God. You will become pregnant and give birth to a son. You are to give Him the name Jesus because He will save His people from their sins.”
Her heart starts racing again. But it is with the excitement of faith, not fear. She doesn’t question that it is going to happen. She only questions how this will happen. “How will this be? I’m a virgin. I’ve never slept with a man.”
Gabriel is pleased. Whereas Zechariah, whom Gabriel visited six months earlier, questioned out of doubt, Mary questions out of faith. He explains, “The Holy Spirit will conceive this Child within your womb. He will be your Son, but He will also be the Son of God.”
“As proof of my words, you know that your older cousin, Elizabeth, is six months pregnant. She is well-past the age of child-bearing, and yet she will give birth to the forerunner of your Child – the Christ Child - in another three months.” Then he adds these key words which explain it all, “For nothing is impossible with God.”
Gabriel then delves into the depth of how God will accomplish the impossible through Mary’s Child.
“Mary, you are right in saying that you are a virgin. You are also correct in stating that a virgin cannot give birth to a child. That is, unless the Child is God’s Child … and this is in fulfillment of a prophecy – a prophecy given to unbelieving King Ahaz a long time ago: ‘The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel, which means ‘God with us’.’ Mary, you are that virgin. Your Child will be called Immanuel, for He is truly God dwelling with His people – dwelling first of all within your womb.”
“When your Son Jesus is an adult, you will hear of Him doing the impossible. You will hear reports of the blind receiving sight, the lame walking, those with leprosy being cured, and the deaf hearing again. You will be greeted by those who were once possessed by demons, but your Son will make their lives normal once again. You will even hear accounts of the dead being brought back to life – a little girl, a young man, a friend of your family’s.”
“Crowds will flock like sheep gathering around their shepherd. They will come from far and wide to listen to Him and be healed by Him. All of this will happen, even though He will have no majesty or beauty that will attract people to Him. There will be nothing in His appearance that will cause people to desire Him.”
“It is not by coincidence that you and your fiancé, Joseph, are each descendents from the royal line of King David. Your Son will fulfill another prophecy given to David generations ago. For the Lord God will give His Son the throne of David. This will not be an earthly throne in Jerusalem, but a spiritual throne in heaven, at His true Father’s right hand. His kingdom will never end.”
“I know this all sounds great and wonderful and exhilarating. It sounds like everyone will be accepting of Jesus and welcome Him with open arms. Many will. But the powerful and mighty will not. Then another prophecy will be fulfilled. You will hear this prophecy in approximately nine months and eight days when you go to the temple to circumcise your Son. There you will give Jesus to an old man who has been waiting a very long time for the Savior to be born. He will tell you with very cryptic but accurate words that the day is coming when what will be done to your Son will cause your soul to be pierced. This piercing of your soul will happen when your Son dies for the sins of His people, your sins included.”
“Mary, through your Child, God will do the impossible. He will reclaim what is His. He will do this first of all by becoming Immanuel – God in human flesh and blood. The God whom the heavens cannot contain will be contained within your womb. He will perform impossible miracles and give impossible sermons that will cause people to believe in Him. Then the most impossible of all will happen … amazingly, the Creator of Life will allow Himself to die. But death will not be able to contain Him and He will live again. By doing this He will fulfill His name by saving people from their sins.”
After hearing all of the angel’s explanation, Mary replies with the words of a simple faith, “I am the Lord’s servant. May everything happen just as you have said.”
Friends, Gabriel’s message is meant not just for Mary, but also for you. Her Son has entered our world to accomplish the impossible. So, what in your life do you deem as impossible? Can God forgive you for your past sins? Can God put the pieces of your broken life back together? Can God heal the wounds you’ve caused, break your addictions and overcome your temptations? Can He replace disappointments with joy and heartache with gladness?
Yes! God can do all of that … and more! How will this be, you ask with Mary? Let the Lord be in control. Take God at His Word, for His Son Jesus is the Word in our human flesh and blood. Nothing is impossible for Him. Through the Child in Mary’s womb, through His Son hanging dead on a cross, through the Redeemer walking out of the tomb, your sins have been removed; death has been defeated; Satan’s head has been crushed; the curse has been lifted. Through faith in the impossible, you are now a member of David’s eternal kingdom.
Jesus has accomplished the impossible … in you. You were born as an enemy of God, but He made you His own through water and the Word in holy Baptism. You are sick with sin, but He is the Great Physician who heals you through the remedy of His flesh and blood in His holy meal. You keep getting lost, but He is the Good Shepherd who keeps on looking for and finding you. You are shunned by the world, but He is the Friend of sinners. You are so confused by life, but He is the Way, the Truth and the Life who will see you through to life eternal.
Jesus was born of Mary to fulfill His name and save sinners, to create new hearts, to clean consciences and change our lives.
May everything be just as God has said. Amen.