Term 2 – Week 2
Big Idea – Mary believed God’s promise-fulfilling message of the saving King.
- See and believe in the impossible and amazing birth of Jesus
- Belief – believe that Jesus was born of a virgin with incredible promises
- Behaviour – can we have the attitude of Mary as ‘the Lord’s servant’ in the way we live for Jesus?
As we step into the narrative chapter 1, we depart from the cool and calculated introduction Luke gives us and move into an evocative group of narratives that lead up to the birth of Jesus. Not content with beginning the account of Jesus from the start of his ministry at his baptism (Mark & John), nor even with the immediate events including his birth as Matthew does so; Luke immerses us in the flavour Old Testament religion, prophecy, revelation and worship. Remember, we have had 400 years of Israelite history since God last spoke directly to his people. As the angels burst on the scene, we should rightly understand the fear this caused, but also the immensity of the occasion.
These sections of narrative serve to emphasise the arrival of the promised messiah who would bring salvation to the world. We begin with a priest in the temple, Zechariah, who is promised by the angle to bear a son who will ‘bring back many of the people of Israel’ and ‘make ready a people prepared for the Lord.’ This son is the promised prophet in Malachi. Zechariah responds in the classic Old Testament fashion of disbelief, and so is silenced until his son was born. Salvation is announced as the angel Gabriel proclaims the ‘good news’ (gospel) in 1:19, and the baby born is given the name in 1:31 ‘Jesus’, Greek for Joshua (the Lord saves). The coming salvation is then proclaimed in the songs of Mary (1:46-47) and Zechariah (1:76-77).
As we think specifically about our passage, we see the angel Gabriel sent again, this time not to a priest in the temple of Jerusalem, but a virgin in lesser-known Nazareth. She is however betrothed to a descendant of David. The angel greets her with some familiar Old Testament blessing language of God’s favour and presence. The angel repeats the assurance ‘do not be afraid’ as he gave to Zechariah, and then proceeds to outline a phenomenal promise of a son called Jesus, who will be ‘great’, the ‘son of the most high’, sitting on throne of David ruling over Israel forever. These sentences fulfil an outrageous number of prophecies in one go, from 1 Samuel to Psalms to Isaiah. Here is the forever King in the line of David promised to Israel. Here is God’s Son born of a virgin.
Mary is confused, as Zechariah was, though her confusion is not disbelief, as the priest of God was guilt of. This birth will come about through the power of God, just as Elizabeth is also of child. God’s word does not fail and so Mary is able to trust God’s message completely and faithfully. Considering the scale of what has been announced, this is stunning faith! Note: see explanation of ‘virgin’ below.
Explain ‘virgin’: Use two hands, or dolls if possible: children are born when a man and a women come together in a special way, and this usually happens in marriage. Mary was about to be married with Joseph and they weren’t together yet. So she was a virgin, and having children would be impossible!
‘my eyes have seen your salvation,
which you have prepared in the sight of all nations,
a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
and the glory of your people Israel’
It’s a Light and a Hammer – Awesome Cutlery
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