S-1152 12/09/09 2MIA/3C (O) #647 (S) #368; LSB; (C) #364 LSB
Texts: Isaiah 7:10-14; Philippians 2:3-11; Luke 1:26-38
Theme: “Mary and Gabriel—Two Spectacular Carriers!” (Luke 1:18-20)
Question: “How observant are you?”
SOLI DEO GLORIA, Armour, SD
Faithful followers of the Savior, Christ is Risen! He is Risen Indeed! Alleluia! The text for our Second Midweek in Advent is the Gospel Lesson: “In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from 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. And he came to her and said, ‘Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!’” (Luke 1:26-28)
Introduction: In Nomine IESU
Saints in Christ, there are many types of carriers in our world. We have The UPS; The Postal Service; The Federal express; The Courier and others. In football, we have ball carriers. Adrian Peterson of the MN Vikings is supposed to be one of the best ball carriers in the NFL. All of these people do their job for a fee. If you have shipped a loved one a gift recently, you know the expense you paid. But sending a package is not as expensive as a football player carrying the ball. Adrian Peterson gets $2.4 M. per year to carry the ball. And he is not the most expensive ball carrier in the league. (And he fumbles a lot!)
Tonight, as we continue on our Advent journey to Bethlehem, we encounter two special and spectacular carriers—Gabriel and Mary. Unlike the other carriers in our world today who do their job for a fee, Mary and Gabriel are a different kind of Carriers. Gabriel is the Messenger of the Most High God sharing the most blessed news with people; and Mary is a humble maiden from Nazareth carrying the most precious cargo—God’s own Son in her womb.
We, encounter again, a very busy angel! Gabriel is just in a visiting mood. Last week Wednesday Gabriel stopped in Jerusalem and visited with an aging, childless priest named Zechariah telling him “That God has heard his prayers and he and his wife Elizabeth shall have a son who will be the forerunner of the Messiah”.
Six months had elapsed since Gabriel’s last visit. And tonight, his visitation continues. The object of this visit is not an aging man, but a young maiden from the line of David. Gabriel stops to visit a young woman by the name of Mary. This young woman is not in the middle of a marriage. Rather this young woman is only in the middle of a betrothal. She is promised to a righteous man by the name of Joseph. She is looking forward to being the faithful wife of an otherwise completely ordinary man in Nazareth.
To this very ordinary young woman Gabriel delivers a very extraordinary message. Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call His name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to 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.”
Gabriel the mighty carrier of God delivers an extraordinary message, to a very ordinary woman. She is dumbfounded. She can’t understand how can this be since she is a virgin? But Gabriel comforts her by saying: “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God”. In faith Mary believed the message of Gabriel.
God’s favor flows from His Throne of Grace. God had chosen sinful Mary to be the carrier of the promised Savior in her womb. There isn’t anything special about this Mary. But what makes Mary special is the call that our Lord gives. The Bible does call her blessed, but not because of any merit of her own. Mary is blessed because God calls her blessed. It was the Word of the Lord that comes upon her and becomes flesh within her womb that makes her blessed. She is blessed because the Lord has made it her vocation to carry salvation in her womb.
Consider the mystery of the Incarnation. It reveals the depth, height, length and breadth of God’s love—love so amazing so divine that the Son of God would die for such a worm as I. There is nothing within us that should be found worthy of this conception of faith. But we know that. We know that we are full of sin and death. Because of this state that we are clearly in, any message of salvation would be completely impossible. Yet, the Lord sends messengers to us. These messengers tell us of the favor we have found with God. This favor is what moves us from Advent to Christmas, from Christmas to Good Friday, from Good Friday to Easter, from Easter to our own eventual Resurrection on the Last Day. Yet, this favor is not about our obedience or accomplishment. It is solely about the Grace of God. It is this grace that sends these spectacular carriers to tell us about what the Lord has conceived within us.
Our Advent journey affords us the privilege to prepare to receive God’s love that has been carried in Mary’s womb. This love is found in a manger on a bed of straw. God’s love is wrapped in a little baby. God’s love is offered to the world. God’s love is offered for you.
Mary knew that she was carrying inside her womb the most important cargo—God’s gift of forgiveness. Through this gift God was extending the promises of the past with the blessings of the future. And what a future awaits all of us who believe the Word of the Angel to Mary and the blessings that Mary carried in her womb.
Tonight, beloved in Christ, you saw another angle of God’s love through His carriers. Two special and spectacular carriers—Gabriel to announce the news to Mary that she will be the mother of the Savior; chosen by God. And Mary, carried the heaven sent Savior. They didn’t do it for money or for profit, but for the glory of God and the profit of man.
What a blessed thing to be in the Lord’s house on this cold and windy Wednesday. Here we are reminded of the salvation that has been carried to us through these two spectacular carriers.
Beloved in the Lord, by the grace of God tonight, you are being visited with this message yet again. Gabriel and Mary share with us a very extraordinary message of hope and love. While I am neither Gabriel nor Mary; yet I am one other carrier—a carrier of the message of God’s salvation to your hearts and heads.
And as you leave this place, you take with you this extraordinary message and you become faithful in your calling and vocation and respond like faithful Mary, “May it be to me as you have said!” and share these words with others. God grant us the joy, privilege and honor to be faithful carriers for His glory. AMEN.
Now the peace…