David Jeremiah - The Great Announcement
I'm David Jeremiah, and I have an announcement to make. It is officially the Christmas season. For my wife, Donna, and all of us here at "Turning Point," my prayer is that you and your loved ones will experience the true peace, love, and joy of Christ as we celebrate his birth throughout December. The Christmas story began with a momentous event, the angel Gabriel appeared to a young Jewish woman and told her she had been chosen by God to bring his Son into this world. And for 2.000 years, followers of Christ have reminded themselves every December of God's miraculous revelation to Mary and they've celebrated the birth of the Savior of the world. This is the subject of my message today, "The Great Announcement". I hope you'll join me as we refresh our understanding of what that announcement meant for you and me on today's edition of "Turning Point".
One of the most important announcements that you ever make in your family is when you get to tell people that you're about to have a baby. You probably remember some of those moments, I do. I remember, not only our children, but our grandchildren and the announcements that introduced them into our life. But, you know, a pregnancy announcement is one of the important messages a couple can share with the world. Well, when it came time for Almighty God to announce the coming of his Son into the world, he outdid all of us. He didn't use a video, or social media, or a public relations release. He used an angel, and that is how angels became so important to the Christmas story. Each year, we come together and we sing all of these beautiful songs. I don't know if you've listened to the lyrics lately, but if you listen carefully, you'll notice that angels are everywhere in the Christmas music.
"Angels we have heard on high. Hark the herald angels sing. The first noel the angels did say. What child is this who is laid to rest on Mary's lap is sleeping whom angels greet with anthems sweet while shepherd watch our keeping. Sing choirs of angels, sing in exaltation. Oh sing all ye bright hosts of heaven above". Angels are a part of the story, and you can't sing about Christmas without singing about angels. In fact, you can't read the Bible without noticing how important they are. Did you know that in the Old Testament, angels are mentioned 108 times? When you come to the New Testament, they're mentioned 165 times. And of the 66 books in the Bible, 34 of those books have something to teach us about angels. But the greatest concentration of angelic activity in the New Testament is to be found at the time of our Lord's birth where angels are prominent on six different occasions. It requires 19 occurrences of the word "angel" in four separate chapters, and 15 of those occurrences are in the Gospel of Luke.
Many believe that the first one is the most important. It's often referred to as the annunciation, the announcement, the great announcement. And many believe that Luke learned the details of this story straight from Mary as he researched the writing of his Gospel. So, this is right from the origin of when it all happened. It's all recorded for us in the Book of Luke in the first chapter, and it begins with a mysterious revelation in chapter 1 of Luke. Let's read the Scripture, "Now the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin's name was Mary".
Now, there are only two angels in the Bible who are mentioned by name, two good angels, one is Michael. I always remember Michael because he fills up a lot of the press in the Book of Daniel. And Michael has a special responsibility. Michael is the rescuing angel. He's always delivering somebody. He's always coming to help somebody. Now, the other angel whose name is in the Bible is Gabriel, and Gabriel is the revealing angel. I'd rather be Gabriel than Michael because Gabriel had one assignment, bring good news to everybody. That's what he did, everywhere Gabriel goes, he's telling somebody something good. Wouldn't you like it if your whole life all you ever got to do was go and give people good news?
You know, sometimes you have to give people bad news and that's hard, but giving people good news, isn't that fun? And Gabriel was the good news angel. And the Bible tells us that Gabriel appears four times in this Christmas story. Every time he shows up, he's bringing good news. You know, the greatest announcement that any angel has ever had in the history of angelic especially endeavor is the day that God called Gabriel into his office. By the way, do you think God has an office? I thought about that this week. He called him into his office and he said, "Gabriel, I have an assignment for you. I'm about to roll out my new redemption plan, and I want you to go down to the earth and bring the news to a young teenage girl and tell her how I plan to use her in this whole plan".
This young girl Mary was from the royal line of David and she lived in Nazareth. Nazareth was a city of questionable reputation. Have you heard the little statement, "Can anything good come out of Nazareth"? What surprises most people in this story is to discover that Mary was not a young adult. Mary was a young girl, probably 13 or 14 years of age. And the Bible says she was betrothed, or she was sort of engaged to Joseph. And to this young humble girl, Gabriel brings a joyful message of God's grace. Please notice how the Scripture tells us what happened in that conversation. First of all, there was a revelation of God's favor. "And having come in, Gabriel said to her, 'Mary, Rejoice, you are highly favored.'" The angel came and said, "Mary, you are gonna receive grace. You are gonna be highly favored because you have an incredible opportunity and assignment. You are gonna be the one who brings the Son of God into the world. You are gonna be highly favored. You are gonna be filled with grace for this moment".
And then the angel came with a second announcement, which must have been a great encouragement to this young girl. He said, "The Lord is with you," wow. He was saying, "Mary, in this whole experience you're about to have, the Lord is gonna be with you. He's not gonna leave you to do this on your own. The Lord will be with you". In fact, if you go back to the Old Testament, you will find out that that is a statement that was often used. It was kind of like saying hello. Have you ever been around people say, "The Lord be with you"? If you go to the Middle East, sometimes that'll happen. You'll see people on the street, "The Lord be with you". That's what the angel said to Mary. Gabriel said, "The Lord is with you," and as a result, the Lord is with us all.
And that way, God sent the ultimate Christmas gift, not just to Mary, but to all of us because at that moment, we're about to learn the Lord is with us. He's come to be one of us so that he can be our Savior. Then the final thing that you read in verse 28 is, "Blessed are you among women". This expression does not mean that Mary is over all other women. The Lord gives favor to some of us for some reasons and others for other reasons, and the Lord has decided to bless Mary by allowing her to be chosen from among all of the women of the world. Was Mary blessed? Yes she was, but don't forget the blessing of Mary that was hers when she brought forth her firstborn child and it was the Son of God. That blessing was leveraged against what happened to her as she stood at the foot of the cross and saw that very son that she had grown to love being crucified for the sins of the world.
Be careful what you ask for when you ask for a blessing. God wants to bless you so he can use you. And you've heard me say this before, before God uses most of us, he has to crush us a little bit. Blessing always is a two-edged sword. So, with this these promises, Gabriel prepares Mary for what's going to happen, and then he enters into a full-length discussion about the redeemer who's going to be born to this woman. The mystery revelation is followed by the miraculous redeemer. Verses 29 to 33, "And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and she considered what manner of greeting this was. And then the angel said to her, 'Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and you will call His name Jesus, and He will be great, and He will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give 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.'"
That was quite a long message Gabriel gave to her, and believe it or not, it was a message that was filled with promises and prophecies. Seven statements in that section, five of those statements are statements that were fulfilled when Jesus was born in Bethlehem. Two of them have not yet been fulfilled, but will be when he comes again to take up his residency on this earth. Notice the statements as we go through. First of all, the statement about the virgin birth of Jesus. "And behold you will conceive in your womb". Now listen carefully, the Bible teaches that Jesus was divinely conceived in the womb of Mary, and the Holy Spirit was the love knot that brought our Savior's two natures together, deity and humanity, and united them forever in one person. We call this truth about the birth of Jesus the virgin birth of Christ, but it would be better to call it the virgin conception, for the miracle took place nine months before the baby was born. Then you have the humanity of Jesus. "You will bring forth a son".
Now, that doesn't seem very miraculous at first, but bring it into our culture. Today about 20 weeks after a woman becomes pregnant, she often goes to the doctor for an ultrasound that will tell her the sex of her child. But Gabriel's ultrasound was unlike any we have today. He told Mary the gender of her baby before he was conceived. Now, if we can pull that off, we got a whole new industry, don't we? Notice the Messiahship of Jesus is in that list. "You shall call his name Jesus". Jesus means Jehovah saves. Gabriel told Mary that her child would not be any ordinary child, but he would be the Savior of the world. And then the Bible speaks of the greatness of Jesus, "And he will be great". That's an understatement if there ever was one. Jesus was great before he came to this earth because he was the Son of the Most High, but he was great in his journey to this earth. He was great at his birth. He was great in his life and in his ministry. He was great in his death and his resurrection; and in everything about Jesus, there's one word that describes it all. He is great and he ever will be great.
Turn to your neighbor and say, "Jesus is great". Just say it, amen. He's great. And then we learn about the deity of Jesus. The Bible says, "He will be called the Son of the Highest". The word "highest" in the Bible, students, is a word that is a title for God, and it's real easy to remember it because, who is God? There's no one higher. God is the highest. He will be the Son of the Highest. This is where the chain ends. God is the highest, and this son who's to be born to Mary will be the Son of Almighty God himself. Now, we come to the two prophecies that are yet to be fulfilled, for we are told that the Lord will give him the throne of his father David. And I will just say to you that when Jesus was on this earth, he never had a throne. I mean, he had no place to lay his head. He had to be born in a manger. This prophecy was not fulfilled. Jesus had no royalty on this earth. He had a life of sorrow and sadness and ultimate death.
But ladies and gentlemen, one day Jesus is coming back again, and when he comes back again, he will have a throne. There will be a vice-regent by the name of David and he will be the king over all the earth and for a thousand years, he will reign and there will be ultimate peace on this earth, amen. And the Bible says this peace will be forever. He will reign over the house of Jacob forever and of his kingdom, there will be no end". This is an amazing statement from this angel. Man, it's a powerful sermon. I don't know if the angel... do you think angels take notes? Do you think they have a manuscript? I shouldn't be thinking about all this stuff, but anyway, I suppose angels have a perfect memory, and from memory, Gabriel gave this incredible message to Mary.
This mysterious revelation and the revelation of this miraculous redeemer results in a magnificent response. Verses 34 to 38, "Then Mary said to the angel, 'How can this be, since I do not know a man?' And the angel answered and said to her, 'The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God.'" As Mary begins to process what the angel said, she's trying to think this through. She said, "How can this be? Since I don't know a man". Now, please hear me, this doesn't mean she had no male acquaintances. The word "know" here is used to describe the intimacy of marriage. Mary was asking Gabriel, "How can I be with child when I haven't been with a man"?
Her question didn't come from doubt or lack of faith. She was genuinely confused. You see, what the angel told Mary that day was gonna happen to her had never happened before in the history of the entire world. God brought Jesus into this world in this never before and never after used method because there was no other way for him to accomplish his divine purpose. You see, even though Jesus lived among us and was fully human. He also was fully God. This product of the Holy Spirit and Mary was a preexisting eternal person. Think with me carefully now. Human parents are temporal and they are finite, and they can pass on only limiting characteristics, but Jesus existed in the beginning with God. Jesus existed before he was born. He is the eternal son of God. There never was a time when he was not, and there never will be a time when he ceases to be. He is the eternal Son of God. Jesus did not begin in Bethlehem. He just took upon him flesh from his eternal perspective.
If Jesus had entered the world through natural human reproduction, he would have simply been one more male child of this fallen world, therefore God had to send him by an alternative route. There are two very important reasons why the Bible protects the virgin birth of Christ. First of all, only a miraculous virgin birth can account for a God man. Through the virgin birth, Jesus Christ could be both human and divine. Because of Mary his mother, he's human. Because of the eternal Son of God, he is God, and these two natures are forever in the person of Jesus Christ. When you get to heaven someday, you're gonna see Jesus just like he was when he came out of the grave. He won't be a Spirit, he will be the living Son of God, the incarnate Son of God. You will see his wounds. You will hear his voice.
Secondly, every natural birth ushers in a new life and a new personality. If Jesus had come unto the world only through natural process, he would have been a new life and a new personality, but Jesus existed before he was born. He became part of humanity at Bethlehem, but Jesus had always been. There has never been a time when he was not. So, here is God trying to, through Gabriel, explain to Mary doctrines which theologians have been trying to understand for centuries. One little short message from angel Gabriel to Mary, "Here's the whole doctrine of the virgin birth of Christ and a full Christology, Mary, hope you get it". But she didn't.
Listen, here's what she says, "And Mary said, 'Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.'" In simple language, Mary said to the angel, "I don't understand this. I don't know how it's gonna take place. Mary worked through this whole process, and then she said, "Okay God, I don't get it. I don't understand it. I'm not sure where it's all going, but I know who you are and I believe in you. And be it unto me according to your Word". And three decades later in the Garden of Gethsemane, you hear her son saying, "Not my will, but thine be done," almost exactly the same statement.
You're gonna come to times, men and women, where you sense God is speaking to you, and if you wait until you have all of the clarity all the way down the road, you will never move. It's sort of like you're here on the west coast and you're gonna go to the east coast, and you're standing there in the middle of the road and you say, "Lord God, I'm not leaving this spot till all the green lights between here and New York City are green". No, you go through the first green light and the second, and along the way, God is working in your heart. Mary is just like us. You say, "Well, Dr. Jeremiah, how do you know that"?
Well, I've studied the Scripture, and the evidence is very clear. But I remember some years ago when I was reading about Christmas, I came across a book written by an old scholar named Rimmer and in this book, I read this reason for believing in the virgin birth of Christ. Hear me. He said something like this. He said, in all reality outside of God himself, there was only one person on the face of the earth who really knew whether Jesus was virgin-born or not, and that was Mary. Joseph may not have known. Nobody knew, but Mary knew. She knew whether she was pregnant in an unusual way or she had been involved in a sexual relationship that had caused her pregnancy. And this mother who loved her son as much as any of us love our children, one day went to Calvary where her son had been accused of treason and of claiming to be God. He was crucified because he claimed to be God.
What is it saying? Jesus Christ claimed to be the virgin-born Son of God, and they crucified him, and they trashed his body, and they beat him. If you've seen "The Passion," you have to close your eyes, it's so painful. Can you imagine his mother standing there knowing that this was all a fraud, that he really wasn't the virgin-born Son of God and letting all of that anguish and pain go to her son? She would have said, "No, stop it. He's not the Son of God. I remember when he was conceived". But she stood there silently and watched her son die an awful death because she knew that her son was God. And there is no greater proof in my estimation. Jesus is the living Son of God.
And just as Jesus came into this world from the outside, so today Jesus stands outside of our lives asking for permission to come into our lives. It's not enough just to believe that Jesus was born in the world. Like Mary, Jesus needs to be born in our hearts. We need to allow this Jesus who comes out of heaven to this world, to come and live within us because when Jesus comes to live within your heart, he changes everything. He creates in you a new person. He makes you like himself and he promises that if you put his life in your life, that one day you will spend eternity with God forever and ever.
Could I ask you this question? Have you ever asked Jesus to come and live in your heart? Have you ever said, "Lord Jesus, I'm tired of living without you"? Do you know how much God loves you? He wants you to be with him forever and you have to want him. You have to want Jesus to come into your life. You have to look at your life and say, "There's something missing in my life and I know what it is now, it's Jesus Christ. He's come into this world from the outside. He wants to come into my life from the outside and be my Savior". Very simple, all you have to do is ask him. It's not some long catechism or formula, not 12 steps to get to heaven. It's just one simple question, "Lord Jesus, will you come into my heart"? And you know what the Bible says? He has never turned anybody away.