The Angel and the Virgin — Part Two
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The Angel and the Virgin — Part Two

Luke 1:26–38  (ID: 2054)

To believe in the incarnation requires a similar faith to Mary, who said “Let it be” in assent to God’s plan. Alistair Begg points out Mary’s bravery in trusting God with her uncertain future. While our faith is rational, there is much we must believe without being able to see it or test it. Like Mary’s, our faith requires us not to understand everything but to bow before the God of the universe, who deserves our trust.

Series Containing This Sermon

A Study in Luke, Volume 1

God with Us Luke 1:1–2:52 Series ID: 14201

Sermon Transcript: Print

Father, as we turn now to the pages of the Bible, we pray that you will be our teacher. We come from such a variety of backgrounds. Our level of knowledge is as different as the difference that exists on our faces. It certainly is beyond the ability of any man to even know what people are thinking, and let alone understand what they are thinking and be able to apply the Word of God to such a diversity of need and concern and questioning. And that’s why all of our confidence lies in you and in your Word, the Bible. And we pray that you will come now and bring it to bear upon our lives in a way that will allow us to understand that this is God who speaks, and in a life-changing, mind-altering, spirit-renewing capacity. This is our expectation. And we pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.

I encourage you to take your Bibles again and turn to the verses that we read in Luke, in the first chapter. We began a few weeks ago now some studies in the Gospel of Luke, and these will proceed for the coming months. And we began to look at the section which begins at Luke 1:26. And we said that we would gather our thoughts around four phrases, the first of which we considered last Sunday morning, and that was the phrase in verse 27, where it says of Mary that she was “pledged to be married.” “Pledged to be…” And then, in verse 31, “You will be…” And then, in verse 34, “How will this be?” And then, in verse 38, “May it be…”

Now, we left Mary, last time, perturbed and wondering. That is recorded for us there in verse 29: “Mary was greatly troubled at his words”—namely, the words of the angel. What words were they? The words that are recorded in verse 28: “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”

And in response to her sense of bewilderment and puzzlement, the angel provides for her what we are beginning to learn is the kind of standard angelic reassurance—namely, the phrase “Do not be afraid.” And in an almost matter-of-fact way, the angel then proceeds to declare this staggering news.

It is of importance that we understand that there is no discussion, at least in this initial statement, as to the mode of conception. It is as though the how is subservient to the what. And if you think for a moment, that is largely true of every dramatic unfolding revelation of God in all of Scripture. Genesis in its early verses is far more about the what than ever about the how. In the description of the ascension, it’s what, not how. In the resurrection, what not how. In the return of Jesus Christ, it is largely what, not how. Therefore, it is no surprise that when we deal with this issue of the virgin conception, the preoccupation of Scripture is with the what.

“You Will Be…”

Now, before Mary has time to adjust to the fact that she’s going to be a mother—which is what he tells her initially in verse 31: “You will be with child.” Remember, this is a teenage girl who has no thought of being with child, because she hasn’t been with a man. It’s not as if there had been activity, that she was married, and so the news came, “You’re going to have a baby.” That was fairly standard practice. But this was absolutely out of the ordinary. This was extraordinary. This was unnatural. This was supernatural. “You will be with child.” And then the angel tells her that it will be a boy, and furthermore, “Here’s the boy’s name: you will call him Yeshua, Joshua, Jesus,” or, if you like, “the Lord is salvation.”

And so, in a matter of just a phrase or two, the angel cuts through a lot of the dilemma which presents itself to the average mother-to-be. First of all, the mother learns that she is expecting, and then she has to wonder about whether it will be a boy or a girl. The standard practice is you wait until you find out. Contemporary practice varies, but assuming you’re waiting till you find out, then you have to come up with a list of boys’ names, a list of girls’ names; you have to have a kind of bipolar approach to the thing until eventually you find out. Well, here the angel says, “You’re going to have a baby. It’s going to be a boy, and let me give you his name.” Matthew gives to us the explanatory comment concerning the name Jesus, “He will save his people from their sins,”[1] and also reminds us that this was in fulfillment of the word of the prophet in Isaiah 7:14.[2]

Now, Gabriel adds to the name this succession of phrases which are there before you in verse 32 and 33. We might be tempted to pass over these very, very quickly. Indeed, we probably have, most of us, in the course of reading the Christmas story. And we may even have wondered in passing, “I wonder why the angel says these things?” Well, it is surely to anchor in the minds of the initial readers the fact that this Jesus is in a direct line of continuity from all that was unfolding in the Old Testament and that the phraseology which he uses is phraseology that could be found in Deuteronomy and in 2 Samuel and in the Prophets and in the psalmist’s words, and it is always pointing forward to its fulfillment in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Remember that Luke has set out to write “an orderly account”[3] of things on the basis of his careful investigation of the eyewitness reports. He is not providing for us a kind of haphazard, emotionally driven record of some anecdotal material concerning this Jesus of Nazareth. No, he is with great care laying it down, especially in these opening verses, so that when the great panorama, if you like, in the life and ministry of Christ unfolds, it will be directly related to the information that he has provided in his opening statements.

It is a reminder to us of the fact that the Bible is a book about Jesus. And I hope you’ve learned, along with me, to rehearse to yourself these simple truths so as to keep you on track: that in the Old Testament, Jesus is predicted; that in the Gospels, Jesus is revealed; that in the Acts, Jesus is preached; that in the Epistles, Jesus is explained; and that in the book of Revelation, Jesus is expected. So that if there’s ever a time when we’re about to lose our way and get cut adrift, as it were, in our study of the Scripture, the great anchoring dimension to it all is that it is pointing to he who is the incarnate Word of God.

Now, we don’t have time to work our way laboriously through these phrases, but let me make a comment or two in passing. Notice what he says: “You’re going to have a child. You’ll give birth to a son. You will give him the name Jesus. And,” first of all, “he will be great.” “He will be great.” Who is this Jesus to come? Well, he is great—in a far more significant way than John the Baptist.

And you will recall that when the angel comes to Zechariah, he says of John the Baptist, in predicting his birth, that he will be as seen as “great in the sight of the Lord.”[4] But now he comes and he says, “And this Jesus, he will define greatness,” if you like. The herald is “great in the sight of the Lord”; the Messiah is none other than the Lord himself. And his name is above every name, and it will be at his name, one day, that every knee will bow.[5] He’s going to have a title, and his title is “Son of the Most High.”

You’ll need to study your Old Testament. Get a commentary, get a concordance, and go through it, and look up these sections, and you’ll find yourself in Deuteronomy, as I say, and in 2 Samuel, and in the Psalms, and you will find that the greatness of this one who was predicted is a greatness that was going to be discovered not only in his majesty but also in his meekness. It was a greatness that would be established not only in his kingship but in his servanthood.

Consequently, since he has this majestic title, he will also have a throne: “And I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever” was the word of God to David the king in establishing his covenant.[6] And he goes on to say to David, “I will set up your seed after you, one who will come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom.”[7]

So when people say, “Well, where did this Jesus appear from? Does he just drop down in a moment of time without anything before or anything following?” No, not at all. The whole of redemption history was moving forward to this event, which Gabriel is now providing the news of to this unexpected, bewildered, pondering little girl. And his kingdom, unlike the dynasties of men throughout history—these earthly kingdoms and rulers and principalities, which will all crumble and disintegrate—the kingdom and the rule of Christ will last “forever,” and “his kingdom will never [ever] end.”[8]

When Paul writes of this in Romans 14, you may recall he says, “And this kingdom is not a matter of eating and drinking,” he says. “We can’t reduce it to these sort of principles. No,” he says, “this kingdom is a matter of righteousness and of peace and of joy in the Holy Spirit.”[9] This is not a kingdom that was established in an earthly or political way. This is the rule of grace, the rule of truth, established in the hearts and lives of all of those who have the God of Jacob as their refuge.[10]

“Well,” you say, “is this really significant?” It’s profoundly significant! When people say to us, “You know, I don’t think we have a space for your Jesus in our Christmas celebrations; I don’t think that you should be here with your little display,” or “I don’t see why you should intrude Christ into Christmas,” or whatever it is, they’re treating in a dismissive fashion not an infant child, as it were, who may be set aside in the way that we may set aside a child as possessing no power or influence or words that we might hear, but they are setting aside the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords.

And the way in which we need to speak to our generation concerning Jesus is not ultimately in some diffident fashion—to go with cap in hand, saying, “Excuse me? I wonder, would it be okay if we included, you know, Jesus in the event here?” No, we want to go to people and say, “I have news for you! Every king who ever reigned, every president who ever took office, every government that ever sat, every judge that ever offered a decision will bow before the throne of Jesus Christ. That is why it is important,” we say to our friends, “that we let you know about this Jesus. That is why we are here to tell you of this Christ.”

The mystery that attaches to the arrival of Christ is akin to the mystery that attaches to the bringing of a man or a woman to faith in the living God.

This is not some child in the manger, infant of Mary, “little Lord Jesus, no crying he makes,”[11] as if somehow or another, by dint of his divinity, he didn’t cry, as somehow he was abnormal. No, he was very normal, very real—but very different!

Meekness and majesty,
Manhood and deity,
In perfect harmony,
The man who is God.[12]

So you cannot set aside my Christ, Miss Agnostic, so easily. He stands up to be reckoned with. He hounds you down the corridors of your days. He niggles in your mind, and he tweaks at your conscience, and he stirs your emotions, and he stands up before you as one with whom you must reckon. That’s very different, you see, from the average little “Let’s get Christmas over with and get on with the sales.”

“How Will This Be?”

Now, after this little outburst by the angel, it’s hardly surprising—you say, “A little outburst by you, never mind the angel!”—well, it’s no surprise that Mary then asks the inevitable question: “How will this be?” “How will this be?” She was “pledged to be…” “You will be…” “How will this be?”

It’s not surprising. Among humans’ conception, conception without insemination was unheard of. And it is clear—and this is wonderful, as we will see in a moment—it is clear that Mary is willing for this to happen as per the angel’s directive. But the fact is, she cannot comprehend how this will be accomplished. And so she asks the question. And the angel’s answer once again is absent any detail: “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So [then,] the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.” In other words, the angel makes clear, absent any detailed information, that the birth will not come about by the ordinary method of human generation but by a totally unparalleled action of the Holy Spirit.

Luke does not theorize about how conception independent of a human being could have taken place. He simply states it. Lenski, the Lutheran commentator, says, “The conception was a miracle—and all who reject miracles will find some other way to interpret the angel’s word.”[13] And that’s exactly true. People say, “Well, a miracle can’t happen. Therefore, the virgin conception didn’t happen. Therefore, we must explain it in some other terms.” So if they want to retain it, they retain it with a new twist to it, or else they dismiss it completely, and usually under the disguise of science. And our friends think quickly to dismiss Christ again, and especially the notion of the virgin birth—say, “Well, science has disproved all that miraculous material.” No, it hasn’t. It hasn’t, it won’t, it couldn’t, and it can’t.

Professor Berry from Oxbridge, a geneticist, writing on this, says, “It is not logically valid to use science as an argument against miracles.”[14] Let me just say that again, for those of you who are just moving ever so slightly in your seat. You’re just feeling that somehow or another, something is pressing on the one side. You’re just going to move over to the other side, because this has been one of your credos for the last forty years: “Science disproves miracles. Therefore, I don’t have to deal with this. I’m a scientist.” Okay, here’s a foremost geneticist in the world saying, “Science doesn’t disprove miracles.”

To believe that miracles can[’t] happen is as much an act of faith as to believe that they can happen. … Miracles are unprecedented events. Whatever the current fashions in philosophy or the revelations of opinion polls may suggest, it is important to affirm that science (based as it is on the observation of precedents) can have nothing to say on the subject.[15]

Science can only deal with material that can be produced and reproduced time and time again. But the unparalleled, unrepeatable, instantaneous, one-off event is beyond the ability of science to say anything sensible about it at all.

Now, there’s a mystery to it, of course. And some of us don’t like mystery. But the fact is, human conception is a mystery. And our ability to analyze and describe the process of physical human conception and birth is more than matched by the awesome wonder every time a new person, an immortal soul, comes suddenly into existence. You’ve been there at the beginning of life, haven’t you? You’ve been there at the end of life?

I was there moments after the passing of Randy on Christmas Day. I’d been there only a matter of hours before, and then I was back. And there was one thing was obvious: Randy had left. It was still the shell, but he was gone. Now, what does science got to say about this? It can observe the event and pontificate, but it’s got no answer—just a bunch of questions.

At the beginning, when the little guy comes or the little girl emerges, despite all we know about DNA and all these other things, the fact is that human conception is in itself a remarkable mystery, and both the arrival and the passing of life is touched by a transcendent mystery.

So, if we can’t grapple with it from a purely physical perspective to the degree that we are able to get our minds underneath it and totally comprehend it, why would we be surprised if we are left in the realm of mystery with the incarnation of God Almighty himself, who chose to appear in our time-space capsule in this most dramatic of ways?

“We who cannot penetrate [that] everyday miracle,” says Lenski, “should not feel aggrieved when the miracle of the incarnation … is veiled in mystery for us. The divine record presents the facts and no more.”[16] And you read this, and you realize that neither God nor Gabriel demanded that Mary understand everything.

And for those of you who are waiting to understand everything to become a Christian, I’ve got news for you: you will never understand everything. And the journey of Christianity is essentially faith seeking understanding—that it is not mindlessness; it is not the removal of the brain, placed under the pew, and then the embracing of the Christian message. No, it is historical. It is rational. It is substantial. But ultimately, as Jesus said, God has chosen to keep this from the wise and the learned and to reveal it to little children.[17]

Some of us are too bright for our own good. What a tragedy to find out how dumb we really were on the wrong side of the equation in eternity! Somebody would do us a great favor if we were to find out a little sooner, would they not?

Now, people say, “There’s nothing that John mentions concerning this, despite Luke’s preoccupation with it, despite Matthew’s record of it. The mystery is not present in John.” I disagree. I think the mystery is present in John. Let me turn you for a moment to John chapter 3 and tell you what I mean.

In John chapter 3, we have the encounter of Jesus and Nicodemus. And Nicodemus comes to Jesus at night, according to John 3:2, and he says, “Rabbi, we know you[’re] a teacher who[’s] come from God. [And the reason we know you are a teacher is] no one could perform the miraculous signs you[’re] doing if God were not with him.” It’s kind of a nice introduction and an expression of his own humble heart. He understands that God must be with him. He doesn’t understand that for Nicodemus, God is with him in the person of Christ.

And Jesus declared, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again,” or born from above.

“How can a man be born when he[’s] old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb to be born!”

Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but … Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should[n’t] be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born [from above.’ Think about] the wind[. It] blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound. [You don’t know] where it comes from or where it[’s] going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”

In other words, the mystery that attaches to the arrival of Christ is akin to the mystery that attaches to the bringing of a man or a woman to faith in the living God. And that in itself is the most immense of mysteries!

I cannot tell why he whom angels worship
Should set his love upon the sons of men,
Or why, as Shepherd, he should seek the wanderers
To bring them back, [I] know not why or when.[18]

I do not know how it is that the Spirit moves,
Convicting men of sin,
And revealing Jesus through the Word,
And creating faith in him.[19]

There is an immense mystery to this! It cannot be explained, ultimately, in little transferable concepts. It has about it divinity. It has about it supernaturalism. It is something that is way beyond us. For those of us who believe this morning and believe with all of our hearts, we have to say, “Why do I believe?” I ask myself that all the time: “How is it that I believe? How is it that I know? ‘How can it be that thou, my God, shouldst die for me?’[20] Well,” I say, “well, I had a Christian home, and my father was this, and…” But when you’ve done all of that—I was surrounded by people who were like that. But they don’t believe.

It’s mysterious, is it not? The wind blows, but you can’t tell where it’s coming from or where it’s going.

And that’s why, you see, it is so vitally important, loved ones, when the Spirit of God brings the Word of God to your heart and mind as you’re listening to it proclaimed and says to you, “Come on, now, and trust in my Son; come on, now, and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ.” These are moments of great import. And the assumption that they will return is an assumption that has no founding. That is why the Bible always says, “Now is the accepted time; behold, [today] is the day [that] salvation [comes].”[21] And the mystery of the incarnate God is directly akin to the mystery of regeneration.

When you think about the fact that Jesus, who was one with the Father and the Spirit in all of eternity, became incarnate, that his dignity and his glory emerged in this way, his mode of entry into incarnate life is entirely in keeping with his identity and the role he came to play. The great mystery would be if he had come in some other fashion. How could you have he who is without beginning or end appearing in a moment in time in a way that can be just totally fathomed by the human mind?

Most of us are not that bright. We’re not bright enough to know how dumb we really are. If we were all brighter, we would know how stupid we are in some of our responses—in some of the ways we think we can close the Bible, sing the closing hymn, and beat it for the car park, as if somehow or another this was an intrusion in our lives, and we need to get back to reality. Let me tell you: this is the only reality. Everything else is an illusion. The things we see are not real. The things we don’t see are real. So if we spend all our time with what we see, what we handle, what we buy, what we touch, what we amass, and seek to explain our existence on the strength of that, then we’re spending all of our endeavors in the wrong place. And that’s why God, in his amazing mercy, came in the person of his Son.

“How shall this be?” Well, it will be quite incredible.

“Let It Be…”

Now, verse 36, and I’ll wrap this up for your encouragement. God willing, he’ll give us another Sunday, but… I like verse 36. I shouldn’t say “I like verse 36.” Who cares whether I like it or not? Look at verse 36.

I was just struck this last couple of weeks with the way in which verse 35 comes before verse 36. You say, “Well, yeah, we know you’re not very good at math, and things like that are a wonder to you.” But no, I mean, look at verse 35: “The Holy Spirit will come…” I mean, if you were doing this in sort of a voice that would be in keeping with the majesty of it all: “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. [And] the holy one … will be called the Son of God.” Right? Because this is immense.

And now look at verse 36: “Even Elizabeth your relative, she’s going to have a baby as well, you know?” This is like whoo! You know? One minute he’s giving us the incarnation; the next minute he’s kicking his foot on the ground, you know? He’s kind of kicking the door. He says, “You know, six months ago I was over at your cousin’s house, and, uh… You know, she’s the one everybody says, ‘Elizabeth, she’s barren forever. I mean, she doesn’t have a hope in the world of having a baby.’ I was over there. She’s going to have a baby as well.”

And you know, it’s as if the angel knows how incredible is this thing that he’s just said: you know, “You’re going to have a baby, his name will be Jesus, he’ll be a boy, and the Holy Spirit will come upon you and overshadow you, and the child will be born of you,” and so on and everything. And then he’s kind of like, “What do I say next?” So he turns around, he says, “Oh, by the way,” he says, “you know Elizabeth, your cousin, she’s having a baby as well! Just thought I’d mention that, you know, if it hadn’t got to you.” Why? Because “nothing is impossible with God.” “Nothing is impossible with God.”

Do you believe that, you see? Now, all you bright sparks, age sixteen, that are going to go home and ask your parents questions about “Do you think it’s possible for God to lie? And do you think it’s possible for God to do this?” so you can play around with this phrase, “Nothing is impossible with God.” You have to understand that “nothing is impossible with God” within the framework of God’s revelation of himself and his character and everything else. So don’t get your parents all upset at lunchtime.

So, finally, she says, “Let it be…” “‘I am the Lord’s servant,’ Mary answered. ‘May it be to me as you have said.’” How incredible is that? How absolutely unbelievable is that? Here’s a girl. She’s engaged. She and her boyfriend, her betrothed, are walking the straight and narrow. Suddenly, an angel appears, gives her this news. What a humble heart! “Okay, I’m the Lord’s servant. Fine.”

Those of us who are tempted to reject miracles, and in particular the miracle of the virgin conception, would do well to learn a lesson here. Let me tell you the way forward for you: get down on your knees and say, “I am the Lord’s servant. May it be. Let it be.”

If you or I choose to put our reputation above God’s revelation, we will never know Christ.

And indeed, some of you (and I say this with care and with a genuine concern for you) who live in the scientific world, who are living in the realm of biology and genetics and nuclear physics and telescopes and that whole world—some of you remain either unwilling to come to Christ or diffident in your witness for Christ simply because you remain unprepared to bow down and say, “Let it be—even given all of the questions that surround me, even given all of my friends, who begin with their presuppositions and reject this and therefore think that I must be a complete clown, who think that somehow or another I’ve taken my brains out to embrace this thing.” Do not allow the pressure of academia to erode, to dissemble, to disintegrate your childlike faith and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ. Surely we would be humble enough to recognize the anomaly of dictating to the creator of the ends of the earth what he is able and permitted to do with his own creation.

Let us learn from her humility, and finally, let us learn from her bravery. Learn from her bravery. This is a brave girl. Not yet married to Joseph; his reaction to the news of her pregnancy might have been expected to be a strong one. Indeed, Matthew tells us that his initial reaction was to put her away quietly,[22] to look her in the eye and say, “Mary, it’s over. It’s done.” And all of the love and all of the expectation and all of the devotion that had brought them to that point in their life would be obliterated in just a moment. She ran the risk of that by being prepared to respond as she did. She would be open to suffering, open to public disgrace, on account of her condition. But knowing all of that, she embraced the will of God without regard to what it was going to cost her personally. Despite the prospect of being thought an adulteress, despite bearing an illegitimate child, as it appeared, she surrendered her reputation to God’s will.

If you or I choose to put our reputation above God’s revelation, we will never know Christ. And it demands that I bring my reputation, and I bring it underneath God’s revelation, and I embrace him as Lord and Savior.

If I had time, which I don’t, I would go on to point out to you that the great mystery in all of this—in this virgin conception—is that at just the right time, God himself took the initiative and acted without the help and without the cooperation and without the instrumentality of fallen man in order to do what he had determined to do, which is exactly the way in which God chooses to bring men and women from unbelief to trust in his Son.

On this final Sunday morning of this year, in the final opportunity that I have to address you, I want to say as graciously as I can that I feel like C. S. Lewis, routinely—not in terms of my ability to think, certainly not to write, but in terms of his observation. He talked about men and women: nice people lost in their own niceness.[23] And I have the feeling that throughout the months of 1998, I have again and again spoken to nice people, and you’re lost in your own niceness. And I invite you to give up all dependence upon your niceness—to admit that you could never be nice enough to be present at God’s eternal party. You’ve neither got the ticket nor the clothes nor the attitude necessary. Attending church from now till the day you die won’t produce it for you either.

Indeed, the bad news is there’s absolutely no chance of going to the celebration unless you are prepared to embrace unreservedly the person of the Lord Jesus Christ—to say, “Lord, I’m sorry that my wisdom, supposed and real, has prevented me from bowing before the immensity of your wisdom. I acknowledge that I am guilty and that I am in need of forgiveness, and I’m sorry that I have been keeping trying to fix it by myself. And I thank you for preserving me to this last Sunday of this year, and I hear your welcome voice that calls me to you. And as I listen to this chap’s closing words, I cry out to you from where I sit: Lord Jesus Christ, I believe. Please help me with my unbelief.”[24] And to those who cry from their heart in that way, the assurance of God’s Word is that he will never, ever cast us out.[25]

Let us pray.

We will, as always, be glad to talk with folks at the end of our worship or to make time to talk in our prayer room through the doors to your left and my right—glad to give you literature or material that will help you as you wrestle through these issues.

And now, our God and gracious Father, we thank you that you have given us a book, the Bible, that you’ve given to us in your Son a Savior. And we pray that above the voice of a mere man we may hear your voice, and that in hearing we may come to give up the sword of our rebellion, the shrug of our indifferent shoulders, and to bow down and acknowledge that you are God and there is no other,[26] and to turn from all that we know to be wrong, and to embrace your Son as our only Lord and Savior. Hear our prayers, and let our cry come unto you.[27]

And now unto him who is able to keep you from falling, to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, to the only wise God our Savior, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, today and forevermore. Amen.

[1] Matthew 1:21 (NIV 1984).

[2] See Matthew 1:22–23.

[3] Luke 1:3 (NIV 1984).

[4] Luke 1:15 (NIV 1984).

[5] See Philippians 2:10–11.

[6] 2 Samuel 7:13 (NIV 1984).

[7] 2 Samuel 7:12 (paraphrased).

[8] Luke 1:33 (NIV 1984). See also 2 Samuel 7:12; Psalm 145:13.

[9] Romans 14:17 (paraphrased).

[10] See Psalm 46:7, 11.

[11] “Away in a Manger.”

[12] Graham Kendrick, “Meekness and Majesty” (1986).

[13] R. C. H. Lenski, The Interpretation of Luke’s Gospel: 1–11, Commentary on the New Testament (Minneapolis: Augsburg Fortress, 1946), 70.

[14] R. J. Berry, God and Evolution (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1988), 165.

[15] Berry, 165.

[16] Lenski, Luke’s Gospel, 72.

[17] See Matthew 11:25; Luke 10:21.

[18] William Young Fullerton, “I Cannot Tell” (1929).

[19] Daniel Webster Whittle, “I Know Not Why God’s Wondrous Grace” (1883). Lyrics lightly altered.

[20] Charles Wesley, “And Can It Be, That I Should Gain?” (1738).

[21] 2 Corinthians 6:2 (KJV).

[22] See Matthew 1:19.

[23] C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity (1952), bk. 4, chap. 10.

[24] See Mark 9:24.

[25] See John 6:37.

[26] See Isaiah 45:5.

[27] See Psalm 102:1.

Copyright © 2024, Alistair Begg. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations for sermons preached on or after November 6, 2011 are taken from The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

For sermons preached before November 6, 2011, unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from The Holy Bible, New International Version® (NIV®), copyright © 1973 1978 1984 by Biblica, Inc.TM Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Alistair Begg
Alistair Begg is Senior Pastor at Parkside Church in Cleveland, Ohio, and the Bible teacher on Truth For Life, which is heard on the radio and online around the world.