Chapter 1 Paragraph 3 Study # 4
January 11, 2004
Lincolnton, N.C.

<041> Thesis: To be given Grace means to be given a mediatorial identity. Introduction: As we have followed Luke's example (1:3) and "investigated everything carefully", we have noted that one of his major interests in his record of the comings of both John and Jesus has been to put the issue of 'grace' out in front of Theophilus and, by extension, out in front of us. The major background issue that he has highlighted has been 'fear' and the theology that drives it [God does not intend good for me -- i.e., "God is not gracious"]. Both Zacharias and Mary are deliberately cast in the role of the 'fear-driven'. One of the major conceptual issues involved in Luke's presentation of 'grace', so far, is 'the determined willingness of Yahweh to express His gracious nature', which means the determined willingness to provide for man in his need...God doing for man what He has required of man. Both Zacharias and Mary are told that they are to have sons who are to be named with highly theologically-significant names. "John" is named so that the focus centers on the nature of God as gracious; "Jesus" is named so that the focus centers on the automatic expression of that nature [even God can only act out of Who and What He is]. Of all of the heretical notions that exist in the hearts and minds of men, perhaps the most corrosive one regarding God is the suspicion that He is not gracious. Next to that, perhaps, is the ignorance of what God's grace is really like. So, this morning, we are going to continue in our look into Luke's focus on the grace of God and what it means to men in terms of what it is really like. We are going to look at what Gabriel told Mary was going to happen as a consequence of her identity as an object of grace.