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borrows a little from J. Gerhard

Luke 1:26-38

Rev. Andrew Eckert

Annunciation (observed)
Our Savior Lutheran Church  
Stevensville, MT

Wed, Apr 6, 2016 

An angel came to a maiden long ago.  She had faith unspoiled by sin, for this was the first maiden, Eve.  But the angel that came to her spoke a word to her, a word of death.  She listened to the word and believed it, and so sin and death were implanted in her, to be transplanted into the entire human race.

We, her children, received the seed of death from the dark angel’s word.  We were conceived and born in sin, doomed to the grave eternally.

All this because Eve put her faith in a lying word of satan.  He lured her away from God’s truth, away from His Word.  The lying serpent offered misleading promises – “You shall not surely die.  You shall be as God.” Eve trusted these, and brought the curse upon man and earth and beast alike.

But in the fullness of time, an angel of light came to Mary in Nazareth.  The Blessed Virgin was not unspoiled by sin, for she also was a daughter of Eve.  Yet she received the gift of faith, faith that clung to the Word of God.

The angel of light came to her.  Gabriel spoke to her words of truth from the Lord, not lies and deceptions.  He gave the promise of the Child to be born.

Through the Word that was spoken, life was conceived in Mary.  The Son of God took flesh in her womb, to create life and holiness for all who have faith.  Eternal salvation comes to all who, like Mary, trust the Word.

Instead of the curse, Mary received blessing, and is called “blessed one” because of the Child.  Instead of a curse for all, the Savior comes through the bright angel’s message.  All creation will be made new, and the curse reversed.

May we be Mary’s children, so to speak.  May we hear and trust the Angel Gabriel’s words.

What does he say?  “Behold, you [Mary] 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. … 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.”

We must trust these words.  For here is the promise of God in His Son.  Here is life and salvation in the Child born of the Virgin.

So we trust that the Lord accomplished this Virgin birth.  We trust that this Man is the King promised to David and to Jacob, the fulfillment of all prophecy, even the first promise given to Adam and Eve that the woman’s Seed would crush the serpent’s head.  Christ is the King who saves, the only true Jesus, the Lord who saves from sin and death.

But the dark angel is not completely gone.  He has a fate waiting for him, the lake that burns forever.  But now he still speaks to us, offering us another word.  He tries to make us skeptical of the Virgin birth.  He tries to have us question God’s motives – did He really fulfill all things for us in Christ, or is Christ just another teacher, just another man?  Surely God becoming Man is too much to swallow.

So says the devil that inhabited the serpent.  But God did not merely inhabit a man, but He became Man.  He took flesh to be one of us.

This incarnation is the core of who God is.  If God is love, and He is, then how could He not share our state and take our burdens and die our death?  How could He not be born as one of us, in the form of a servant?  His overwhelming grace compelled Him.  He who cannot be compelled by any force compelled Himself by His unstoppable love.

The lies of the devil try to turn God’s love into a lie, or try to twist the concept of love into non-judgment.  “If God really loves you, He would not judge you for the mistakes you make.” We can hear this word of the serpent on the lips of many.

But we have a better Word to trust.  God does not ignore the sin.  Instead He came to take the burden.  He came to die the death.  The curse of death was going to destroy us.  Christ let the curse destroy Him instead.

But the curse is not completely gone.  Without faith, we would still be under condemnation.  For we are either Eve’s children, under the curse, or Mary’s children, blessed through faith.

So we must continue to listen to and trust in the Word of the messenger of God, rather than the angel of darkness.

It will not be as easy as we think.  The devil is not obviously evil.  Subtlety and cleverness are his tools.  He makes his words seem reasonable, and speaks the right ones at the right time.  You will not be able to overcome satan by your own wisdom and discernment.

Instead, how?  How to overcome the lying words?  The answer is to trust in the good Word.  For the Word is not simply plain information.  In the same way, the words of the Angel Gabriel were not merely a prophecy of what would happen.  The Word was not Gabriel’s, but the Lord’s.  Therefore it had power to do what it said.  Through the Word, the Spirit came upon Mary.  Through the Word, He conceived in her the Son of God.  That is a powerful Word indeed.

We have the same Word spoken to us.  When we listen to it, the Spirit comes upon us as well.  The power is there to create and sustain faith in us sinners, a most mighty miracle indeed.

But woe to us if we decide that we are strong enough to stand on our own two feet and only need the Word occasionally.  Woe to us if we feel that we have faith, so we need never fear falling away.  Woe to us if we avoid the Word, because in the quiet that follows, satan will seize his chance to whisper in our ear.

Instead, we should be as Mary.  We should humbly listen to the Word.  We should meekly say, “Behold the servant of the Lord.” We should cling to the promise of the Word as tightly as she did, with Spirit-given faith.

In the Name of this mighty God, who does such great wonders for us.  Amen.

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