Responding To God's Leadership      Luke 1:26-38, 41-45      Dec. 19, 2004

        Soon after the re-election of President Bush a prominent New York newspaper columnist belittled the Christian influence. She said something like will we all have to believe the story of the virgin birth. If she would just look at science she would see many plants are self pollinated, and if God can allow a plant to reproduce by itself He can certainly intervene for a virgin birth. Most people's problems with miracles focuses on their belief, or lack of belief in God. They are not Responding To God's Leadership.

1.    Responding To God's Leadership Through . . Amazement. 1:26-29

A.    Responding To God's Leadership Through The . . Details of the Amazement. 1:26-27
        26 In the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called
        Nazareth, 27 to a virgin engaged to a man named Joseph, of the house of David. The
        virgin's name was Mary.

B.    Responding To God's Leadership Through The . . Declaring of the Amazement. 1:28-29
        28 And [the angel] came to her and said, "Rejoice, favored woman! The Lord is with you."
        29 But she was deeply troubled by this statement, wondering what kind of greeting this
        could be.

        Do you note the detailing of this amazing experience as the angel gives date, town, and names when confronting Mary? Then the angel declares Mary is a favored woman for the Lord is with her. Probably because of her age, and few if any similar experiences; Mary is troubled (amazed) at this kind of greeting. Most of us would be similarity troubled or Quizzical.

2.   Responding To God's Leadership Through . . Assimilation. 1:30-33

A.    The . . Presentation To Be Assimilated. 1:30-31
        30 Then the angel told her: Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.  31
        Now listen: You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will call His name JESUS.

B.    The . . Prophesy To Be Assimilated. 1:32-33
        32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give
        Him the throne of His father David. 33 He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and
        His kingdom will have no end.

    Do you find it interesting the angel tells Mary not to be afraid? He then makes the presentation of the virgin birth, and the name for this child. This presentation follows with a prophecy about the greatness, reign, and kingdom of Jesus.

3.   Responding To God's Leadership In . . Asking for Answers. 1:34-37

A.    Responding To God's Leadership Through The . . Inquiry In Asking for Answers. 1:34
        34 Mary asked the angel, "How can this be, since I have not been intimate with a man?"

B.    Responding To God's Leadership In The . . Information from Asking for Answers. 1:35
        35 The angel replied to her: The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most
        High will overshadow you. Therefore the holy One to be born will be called the Son of God.

C.    Responding To God's Leadership In The . . Illustration from Asking for Answers. 1:36-37
        36 And consider your relative Elizabeth--even she has conceived a son in her old age, and
        this is the sixth month for her who was called barren. 37 For nothing will be impossible
        with God."

    Mary Inquired "how" not why. If the angel said it would happen she believed but wanted to know how. I think some times we question the" why" rather than the "how." The angel gave her the information needed to know the how of the virgin birth. God who created all life will provide the seed for the birth of Jesus just as the prophecy of Isaiah (Isa. 7:14) told years earlier. To confirm all of this for Mary the angel shared the Information about her relative Elizabeth in her old age going to give birth.

4.    Responding To God's Leadership Through . . Affirmation. 1:38-45

A.    Responding To God's Leadership Through The Affirmation of . . Dedication. 1:38 a
        "I am the Lord's slave," said Mary."

B.    Responding To God's Leadership Through The Affirmation of . . Deference. 1:38 b
        "May it be done to me according to your word." Then the angel left her.

C.    Responding To God's Leadership Through . . Authentication. 1:41-45

D.    Responding To God's Leadership Through . . Approval. 1:41-42
        41 When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the baby leaped inside her, and Elizabeth was
        filled with the Holy Spirit. 42 Then she exclaimed with a loud cry: You are the most blessed
        of women, and your child will be blessed!

E.    Responding To God's Leadership Through . . Adoration. 1:43-45
        43 How could this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44 For
        you see, when the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby leaped for joy inside
        me!  45 She who has believed is blessed because what was spoken to her by the Lord will
        be fulfilled!"

    The announcement of the angel receives further authenticated as Elizabeth gives her approval just as he promised. The unborn chill, John the Baptist, leaps in the womb, and Elizabeth received the fullness of God's Spirit which at this time was not the normal occurrence.  Then notice the adoration as Elizabeth calls Mary the Mother of her Lord. What does this say about when a baby becomes a human life?  If the unborn child can be the Lord, then the truth of precious life in the womb is affirmed for every unborn child. Truly she was Responding To God's Leadership. Amen? Amen!

def·er·ence (dµf"r-ns, dµf"rns) n. 1. Submission or courteous yielding to the opinion, wishes, or judgment of another. 2. Courteous respect.