Luke 1:26-38 For those who are willing, God gives grace to bring forth Christ into the world
Luke 1:26-38 For those who are willing, God gives grace to bring forth Christ into the world
26 Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city in Galilee called Nazareth, 27 to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the descendants of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. 28 And coming in, he said to her, “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.” 29 But she was very perplexed at this statement, and kept pondering what kind of salutation this was. 30 The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; for you have found favor with God. 31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus. 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 and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and His kingdom will have no end.” 34 Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?” 35 The angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy Child shall be called the Son of God. 36 And behold, even your relative Elizabeth has also conceived a son in her old age; and she who was called barren is now in her sixth month. 37 For nothing will be impossible with God. 38 And Mary said, “Behold, the bondslave of the Lord; may it be done to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.
God sent the archangel Gabriel to a remarkable virgin girl and gave her high favour to conceive His Son, Jesus Christ. As Mary is given supernatural grace to conceive Jesus in the flesh, believers are given the same grace to conceive Christ in the Spirit. Indeed, for those who are willing, God gives grace to bring forth Christ into the world.
“Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.”
God chose a certain virgin (a young woman who has never engaged in sexual intercourse) named Mary and sent Gabriel the archangel to her. The archangel’s greetings addressed Mary as one who is highly favoured. The word “favour” (charis in Greek) is synonymous with the word “grace”. Mary was shocked because she has never seen herself as one favoured by God. Mary, a young woman with little significance in the eyes of the world, received God’s highest favour and honour.
And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus.
Following the salutation was the announcement to conceive God’s Son and name Him Jesus. Jesus is called the Son of the most High just as Adam is also called the Son of God (Luke 3:38). The title “Son of God” denotes a direct descendent of God bearing all of God’s divine attributes. And Jesus was predestined as the Saviour and Ruler of all creation.
“How can this be, since I am a virgin?”
Mary raised the question as to how a virgin could bear a child. The angel announced that she would conceive by the power of the Holy Spirit. Only then, can Jesus be incarnated into the world as Son of God: for that reason the holy Child shall be called the Son of God. Because Jesus is the Son of God, His conception cannot come by way of sexual union between a man and a woman.
That said, Jesus is not only the Son of God bearing divine attributes, He is also the Son of man (see Matthew 8:20, Luke 9:58). As Son of man, He is the firstborn of the human race and bore on His body the heritage and characteristics of humanity. Paul said concerning Jesus,
He is the image of the invisible God (Son of God), the firstborn of all creation (Son of man). – Colossians 1:16
“Behold, the bondslave of the Lord; may it be done to me according to your word.”
Mary’s response revealed her extraordinary qualities of faith, courage and maturity. Despite the enormity and the impossibility of what lies ahead, she needed no convincing but accepted the mission.
For those who are willing, God gives grace to bring forth Christ into the world.
As Mary brought forth Jesus by conceiving Him in her womb, believers bring forth Jesus by conceiving Him in our spirit. As Mary brought forth Jesus in the form of human flesh, we bring forth the resurrected Christ in the form of the Holy Spirit. What is the mission of the resurrected Christ? He is to rule the world through His attributes: omni-virtue, omnipotence, and omniscience. “Omni” means all. Omniscience means all-knowing, having all knowledge and wisdom. Omnipotence means all-powerful, having the full authority of God. Omni-virtue mean all virtuous, having perfect love, and righteousness.
How can believers help facilitate the rule of Christ over the world? By manifesting Christ’s attributes through our lives. Paul encouraged believers to bear fruit by manifesting Christ’s characteristics through grace,
constantly bearing fruit… and understood the grace of God in truth… For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience. – Colossians 1:6-11
Note the following:
- Omniscience – all spiritual wisdom and understanding.
- Omnipotence – strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might.
- Omni-virtue – all steadfastness and patience.
How is it possible for a virgin girl to conceive the omnipotent God? It is through divine grace or favour (Charis in Greek). Similarly, it is through divine grace that we manifest God’s omniscience, omnipotence and omni-virtue through our lives.
How do we receive grace or favour to manifest Christ’s attributes in our daily lives? By surrendering our will to God. Mary surrendered her will to God by saying, “Behold, the bondslave of the Lord; may it be done to me according to your word.” Despite the enormity and seeming impossibility of the angel’s request, she submitted herself in obedience. Likewise, it may seem impossible to for God’s omnipotence and omniscience to reside in us, but all things are possible through His grace.
Many churchgoers having misunderstood the gospel, do not endeavour to live out Christ’s virtues, wisdom and power. The end of faith for them is not to become perfect, but rather to escape the torment of hell. Grace for them is nothing more than a final pass into heaven. Regrettably, many church leaders are complicit. While preaching the good news, they continue to live in darkness and sin. But the purpose of grace is to cause us to manifest God’s attributes so that the world may be saved.
Christ saves the world by being the perfect mediator between God and man.
Because Jesus is the Son of God (image of God), and Son of man (firstborn of humanity), He fulfils the criteria of being the perfect mediator between God and man. As mediator, Jesus must be pure and righteous as God is. At the same time, He must bear on His body the sinful inclinations of man (“likeness of sinful flesh” Romans 8:2) and abused by the powers of darkness. Throughout His life on earth, not only must He be righteous, He must be willing to endure injustice and violence the world has to offer. Jesus passed the ultimate test when He did two things:
- He subjected Himself to the powers of darkness and be unjustly treated as a condemned sinner.
- He asked the Father to forgive those who treated Him unjustly.
In being perfectly righteous and gracious amid grave injustice, Jesus fulfilled the great commandment: To love God with all your heart and to love others as yourself. Thus, Jesus went on to become the perfect Lamb who annulled the curse of sin that warranted the death of humanity. For on the day Adam sinned, God had committed humanity to the curse of sin and death (see Genesis 2:17). This curse can only be broken by the offering of a perfect Lamb. The effectual annulment of the curse of death resulted in life for humanity. Therefore, God raised Jesus from the dead and elevated Him to His right hand, the highest station of the universe. Because Jesus is the Mediator, He continues to mediate between God and man by establishing God’s rule over all creation.
Jesus exemplified how we can mediate between God and man. Firstly, we must love God with all our heart by living out God’s attributes in all that we say and do. Secondly, we must be willing to endure injustice by forgiving those who harmed us. Jesus, as the Son of God is born of God, not of man. Likewise, we as the sons of God are born of the Spirit. The Apostle John said,
But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. – John 1:12
“Born not of the will of man, but of God” means we are birthed of God, being His direct descendent. Indeed, it is the Holy Spirit who birthed us into the kingdom, not man!
Are you often hampered by all kinds of fears? Are you paralysed by controversies and unanswered questions? Such that you often put off major decisions to avoid conflicts and inconveniences? Surrender your life to God so that Christ may be conceived in your spirit and brought forth. In so doing, you may become the mediator by which the world can be saved.
How do believers function as mediators between God and man?
Consider the people around you. Be sensitive to their needs and the circumstances around them. As you bring them before God, He will show you how you can be the mediator. What can we do as mediators? We can be:
- the face of God to the world.
- the conduit of divine wisdom for those who seek direction.
- the conduit of divine love to those who are forsaken.
- the conduit of saving power to those who are oppressed by curses and sickness.
Dear Lord, I commit myself as a mediator between God and the world around me. I will not be pushed back by unanswered questions, controversies and conflicts. Use me to bring peace to families, healing to the sick, direction to the lost and comfort to the brokenhearted. Cause me to live out the power, wisdom and virtues of the resurrected Christ. In Jesus’s name I pray. Amen.