Luke 1:26-38 In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, 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 conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him 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 Jacob’s descendants 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 on 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 unable to conceive is in her sixth month. 37 For no word from God will ever fail.” 38 “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her.
The mother snake will lay her fertilized eggs in the nest and then abandon them, never to return. Baby snakes hatch with the ability to take care of themselves.
The mother alligator will remain with her young alligators for up to a year. She protects them from would-be-predators up to a year. Many animals hunt alligator hatchlings, but few are bold enough to mess with them when Momma is near.
A newborn elephant is able to wobble to his feet an hour after birth to enjoy his first drink of his mother’s milk. The elephant herd will give the calf a few days to rally his strength; but elephants need a lot of food and they need to keep moving to get enough. The baby elephant walks under his mother, who seldom loses physical contact, helping the little one to his feet if he falls, carrying him over obstacles. If he gets lost and squeals, not only the mother, but the entire heard will rush to his aid.
A baby gorilla weighs about four to five pounds at birth, but matures quickly. Even at one-day-old, the baby gorilla is able to hold onto his mother’s fur. At four to five months, a gorilla baby is able to start putting plants into his mouth and bite on them. At eight months, the young gorilla regularly ingests solid food. At three years, he is independent because his mother gives birth to the next baby.
God created His animals with a unique and varied way of caring for their young. But, out of all of God’s diverse creation, the human baby is by far the most helpless for the longest period of time.
A human baby is born needing his parents’ care. He needs to be nursed, burped, changed, and clothed. After several months, he can start eating rice cereal and mashed vegetables. Later, he needs gates and locks to keep him from hurting himself as he learns to crawl and walk. As a toddler, he is becoming more independent and has learned to say, “No!” During his school age years, he is growing, learning, and developing. He is fun to watch and play with. He is able to do simple chores around the house. But, he still needs his clothes washed, food made, and morality instilled. As a teenager, he is becoming even more independent and has learned how to text, “No!”
It is finally in the teenage years that human children are developed enough, intelligent enough, and strong enough to take care of themselves, if necessary.
The Almighty God created the crown of His creation as really the weakest and most helpless of all of His creation.
And, it is this kind of helpless creature that God Almighty decided that His Son would become.
The Christian Church has set aside March 25 to celebrate the Annunciation – the announcement by the angel Gabriel that Mary would give birth to the Son of God. March 25 is nine months before December 25, when we celebrate the birth of the Son of God from the Virgin Mary.
Today we celebrate that the Almighty God of heaven and earth took on the flesh and blood of a weak and helpless human baby. The God whom the universe cannot contain, contained Himself within the womb of a woman. The Son of God left His throne in heaven to become a fetus inside the womb of an unwed teenage virgin. The God of the galaxy became no bigger than a dot to save the entirety of humanity.
God doesn’t bring about humanity’s salvation with warriors or angels or weapons. He saves humanity by sending an embryo.
Jesus left eternity to enter time and space as a human infant. Jesus is now our God incarnate – God in human flesh and blood.
God the Father knew that His Son’s first crib would be a feeding trough for cattle. He knew that His Son would be humbled to sucking His thumb and filling His diaper. He knew that though all of creation was formed by using His Son as the Word of God, Jesus would take years to learn to speak words.
God the Father knew how weak Jesus would be as a human being. He wept at the death of His friend, Lazarus. He became tired and fell asleep in a boat. He needed to eat at the home of Mary and Martha, and needed a drink of water at Jacob’s well. He fasted for 40 days in the desert and was tempted by the devil in that wilderness. He made human friends, and then was betrayed by a friend’s kiss, denied by His disciple, and deserted by those closest to Him. He was hated, lied about, arrested, falsely accused, unjustly tried, slapped in the face, and spat upon. He was mocked and humiliated, publicly flogged, and cruelly executed as a criminal.
Why did God allow all this to happen to His Son? Because all life is precious to Him. The Son of God became human flesh and blood so that He might save human flesh and blood and soul. God became a human Son and Brother, while remaining God, so that He can call us God’s sons and daughters, Christ’s brothers and sisters.
If there is ever a doubt about God’s commitment to humanity, the annunciation of the incarnation removes that doubt. Gabriel announced that God would be born of Mary to save the sons and daughters of Adam and Eve. This Child in Mary’s womb is also the Savior hanging dead on the cross and the Redeemer walking out of the tomb. He is the eternal God-Man who removed your sins, defeated death, crushed Satan’s head, and lifted the curse. Jesus was born of Mary to fulfill His name and save sinners, to create new hearts, to clean consciences, and change eternal destinations. Jesus is Immanuel – eternally God with us (Isaiah 7:14).
This is how much human life is worth – it is worth the conception, birth, death, and resurrection of the very Son of God. This proves how precious all human life is to God.
Knowing this changes the way we look at life. To our shame, for decades, America has been a culture of death. As Christians who believe in the incarnation of Christ, we want to instill a culture of life back into our society. Every human life – the unborn, the infant with birth defects, the autistic boy, the Down’s Syndrome girl, the cancer-stricken, the quadriplegic, the dementia patient, the comatose – all of them are precious in God’s sight. Each one of them is a priceless life and priceless soul bought with the priceless blood of Christ.
We must show people how precious life is to God, and therefore, how precious life is to us. We pray that life will then become precious to them. The way God judges the value of life will also change the perspectives of the value of life in others. Start looking at people as God sees them. When mom or dad, grandma or grandpa gets old, when you walk through the halls of the nursing home, what do you see? The world wants you to see such people as a drain on resources. We see them as children of God, as valuable as we are. When a woman becomes pregnant, what is inside the womb of that new mother? The world wants us to see it as merely a clump of cells that can be exterminated because the mother’s choice is more important than the child’s life. We see that fetus as valuable enough that Jesus willingly was tortured and died for that child in the womb. When a child or an adult has a physical or mental disability, they are often deemed as being less valuable because they can’t do what others can do. We see their worth is not based on what they can or cannot do. We see their worth is found in Christ who was conceived, born, bled, died, and rose for them.
There is a very real and vital fight for life raging in our nation. If this fight for life is to be won in the courts, the congress, and in our culture, it begins with us. It begins with each of us demonstrating the high value that God put on life when the Son of God took on human life. Yes, there is a place for intellectual arguments in this fight for life. There is a place for true science and medicine to expose the fallacy that something inside the womb is only a clump of cells one moment and the next moment it is a child outside the womb. There is a place for compassionate care to show that doctor-assisted suicide is uncaring and inhumane. But the only thing that will change the courts, congress, and culture is by changing human hearts.
That begins by showing people that God believes all life is so precious that He took on human life. That life is so precious that He died for human souls to be saved.
Today we remember God doesn’t bring about humanity’s salvation with warriors or angels or weapons. He saves humanity by sending an embryo. Amen.