Chapter # 1 Paragraph # 3 Study # 9
Thesis: The mystery of God's methods unfolds according to our needs.
Introduction: So far we have seen that God, using Gabriel's words, was building Mary's ability to grasp the truth about the identity of Jesus. He made it as plain as it could possibly be that the Savior was to be both the Son of the Most High as well as the Son of David. This, as Paul was going to explain many years later, was essential to the problem of salvation in the face of Justice. However, He also made it absolutely imperative that we understand that the only legitimate exercise of power is to serve. The grasping for the ability to dominate others in which men are so heavily invested has to be shut down in the lives of those who would participate in the Kingdom of God. There should be a determined pursuit of greatness by the heirs of God's Kingdom, but that greatness must be defined in terms of true service to others. God is, essentially, a Servant and those who would participate with Him in life must permit His development of them in that direction. These things God has made clear by His words to Mary. This morning we are going to look again at what God told Mary through Gabriel. This time we are going to look at the answer He gave to her question: How? But, our question is not going to be "how?"; rather, it is going to be "why?". Mary wanted to know how she could conceive in a man-less way. We are going to ask why the answer she was given was God's method for producing a "man-less conception".
February 15, 2004
- I. The Details of the Answer She Was Given.
- A. The Holy Spirit was going to come upon her.
- 1. This is the second time that we are told something about the Holy Spirit.
- a. The first time was in the description of John's greatness in 1:15.
- 1) In this reference, we are told that John's impact was going to be caused by the filling of the Holy Spirit which, in his case, would begin in Elizabeth's womb. As far as I know this is the only time in history that the Spirit filled someone from birth to death.
- 2) There is no question about the linkage between John's "greatness" and the apparent necessity for the working power of the Holy Spirit. Jesus said that of those born of women, there was none greater than John.
- b. This time, the "man-less conception" was going to be "produced" by the Holy Spirit.
- 1) This, in man's terminology, makes the Holy Spirit the Father of Jesus.
- a) In our text, the "Son" is described in two ways.
- i. He is called "that Holy One Who is being born".
- ii. He is, subsequently, to be called "the Son of God".
- b) In our text, there are two sources of these descriptive phrases.
- i. He is called "that Holy One" because His "begetting" is by the Holy Spirit.
- ii. He is called "the Son of God" because His "begetting" is by the Power of the Most High.
- 2) In the vast mystery of the Triune God, the very least that we can say is that Jesus is "the Holy Son of the Most High".
- 2. The "coming upon" describes "movement through time or space to bring certain results to pass".
- a. In the mystery of omnipresence, we are told that the Holy Spirit was going to "come".
- b. His "coming" was to implant what was missing in Mary's unfertilized egg so that a "son" could begin to grow in her womb unto birth.
- B. The Power of the Most High was going to overshadow her.
- 1. The other reference by Luke to "overshadowing" (9:34) is instructive.
- a. There was an "enveloping" that was to take place.
- b. The "cloud" in our text is the Power of the Most High.
- 2. There is good reason to conclude that this is a reference to the Shekinah Glory that was introduced to Israel at the parting of the Red Sea.
- C. The end result was that she would conceive a "Holy Son".
- II. The Reasons We Are Going to Ask 'Why?'.
- A. First, the text gives us no indication that anyone besides Mary and the Holy Spirit was going to witness the Shekinah's "coming" to her and "enveloping" her.
- 1. That the Shekinah was visible is implied by the "overshadowing".
- 2. That Mary would, then, actually "see" the Cloud of Power come to her is assumed.
- 3. But no one else would see this occur.
- B. Second, other biblical texts actually exalt "faith without sight" over "seeing is believing".
- 1. Most notably, there is John 20:29.
- C. Third, other biblical texts actually exalt "faith without coming" over "immediate presence".
- 1.Most notably, there is Matthew 8:10 -- so great faith.
- D. Fourth, there seems to be no clear biblical pattern to the actions of God.
- 1. There is a flood of biblical records of God's actions that are "one time" activities.
- 2. Even in the matter of "revealing His will" to an "inspired author of Scripture" (David) there is no discernible pattern.
- E. Therefore, we are going to "jump" to this conclusion: God's actions are tailor-made to the blend of His will and His disciple's particular need.
- 1. Mary was going to have to endure a rather large load of negative stuff as a result of her discipleship.
- 2. Where was she going to get the ability to endure it?
- 3. My contention is that God deliberately does two things...
- a. He refuses to be relegated to the concept of "machine". He is pretty much free of man's desire to "mechanize" Him.
- b. He acts specifically to accomplish two things...
- 1) He acts to fulfill His promises.
- 2) He acts to implant the capacity to believe in individuals.