God's Special Couriers
Lu 1:26 Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth,
27 to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin's name was Mary.
28 And having come in, the angel said to her, "Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!"
29 But when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and considered what manner of greeting this was.
30 Then 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 bring forth a Son, and shall call His name JESUS.
32 "He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; 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 of His kingdom there will be no end."
34 Then Mary said to the angel, "How can this be, since I do not know a man?"
35 And the angel answered and said to her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God.
36 "Now indeed, Elizabeth your relative has also conceived a son in her old age; and this is now the sixth month for her who was called barren.
37 "For with God nothing will be impossible."
38 Then Mary said, "Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word." And the angel departed from her.
A mostly forgotten annual commemoration of the church, observed on March 25th, nine months before we celebrate the birth of Jesus. Now we can argue about the actual birth date of Jesus, but we can’t argue about the significance of a feast observed nine months to the day before the celebration of His birth.
Biology 101 tells us that the gestation process for a human being takes nine months. The word gestation means “the carrying of young in the uterus or womb.” The word also has the connotation of bringing forth.
The purpose of carrying the young (or gestation) is to prepare the child to be brought forth. The mother carries the child from point A. (Conception) to point B (Bringing forth or delivery.) When a woman gives birth to a child, she is said to have delivered or brought forth a child.
The child has been there from the moment of conception, all that took place in the womb is the child received nourishment from the mother and grew into the pattern set forth by the DNA that was determined at conception. We are fearfully and wonderfully made!
And what did Gabriel say to Mary? “you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son,” “You will gestate” a Son. You will carry this child from conception on and deliver Him from your womb into His new environment..
There was no talk of a mass of cells, or blob of tissue. Only talk of a Son, who would be named Jesus, because HE would save the people from their sins....yes, even the sin of abortion. He was fully human, but even more!
He would be fathered by the Holy Spirit and be called the Son of God. At conception this child would be fully man and fully God! A miracle that cannot be fathomed by the human mind.
And Mary’s responsibility was to “carry Him and bring Him forth. Carry Him to term. She was a courier of this special package from God. What a privilege! What an honor! Especially for Mary of course, this was the Son of God! Luke mentions this honor in chapter 11...
Lu 11:27 And it happened, as He spoke these things, that a certain woman from the crowd raised her voice and said to Him, "Blessed is the womb that bore You, and the breasts which nursed You!" 28 But He said, "More than that, blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it!"
Notice that Jesus does not deny the honor. In effect He says, that’s a great honor to be sure, but even more honorable are those who hear the Word of God and keep it! So we see that it is honorable to carry all babies to term, because it is in keeping with God’s Word that says, “Thou shalt not kill,” and “children are a blessing from the Lord.”
One is law, the other is gospel. One is a command to be obeyed, and the other is a promise to be trusted. Failure to obey the command or to trust the promise is sin. And how is sin dealt with?
First of all, we allow God to convict us of our sin, our disobedience and our lack of trust. Then we agree with Him that it is sin, (we confess it) then we trust still another promise of His, “If we confess our sins He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Once we receive His forgiveness, we then strive to not disobey or mistrust again. This is the way with all our sins. We must always remember that His forgiveness does not give us the green light to sin, (to not obey or trust) while at the same time remembering that there is no sin that He will not forgive.
It was a great honor and privilege for Mary to carry the Son of God to term, but when you think about it, what a a great privilege and honor it is to carry any baby to term! A baby that the Bible tells us is fearfully and wonderfully made by God!
Ladies, when God grants you the gift of conception, you become couriers for the Most High God.
You carry what He has skillfully crafted into the world, from point A. to point B. Conception to delivery.
Understand the depth of that honor! Ponder your privilege! It doesn’t belong to men, it belongs to women, and I believe there is a connection between that fact and what Paul says in his first letter to Timothy:
Paul had just finished writing about the limited role of women in the church. They are not to be pastors. They were not to teach in the worship service or exercise authority over a man. For Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived fell into transgression. (1 Tim 2:12-14)
This is the lot of women in the worship service because of the order of creation and because of Eve’s sin. Now some will cry “foul” here. It’s not fair! How come men get all the honor and privilege of leading and teaching and holding authority in a worship service? What’s left for the woman!
And Paul says something very strange in the next verse.
1Ti 2:15 Nevertheless she will be saved in childbearing if they continue in faith, love, and holiness, with self-control.
Nevertheless. Even though she can’t have this honor of delivering spiritual life through the preaching of the Word and the administering of the Sacraments, in the worship setting. She does have the honor of being God’s special courier, delivering physical life through child-bearing.
She will be saved or made whole in the privilege and honor of bringing forth physical life. There is a “wholeness” for a woman in carrying a child to term that we men don’t necessarily grasp. Just read the OT sometime and hear the cries and laments of the barren women. It will help you understand.
Barrenness, childlessness, happens. The honor and privilege isn’t granted to all. And when it happens for whatever reason, understand there will likely be times when it hurts, when it will seem that something is missing. Sometimes more than others, and when it does, seek to turn to Christ, the One who can help fill our voids.
Pregnancy is a high honor. The Psalmist says the “fruit of the womb is His reward. (Ps 127:3)
So does that mean that our young people should not exercise sexual restraint, that their goal in high school is to be honored or rewarded with a pregnancy?
Of course not. God’s Word has some very strong things to say about pre-marital sexual activity. God’s perfect design is to create offspring in the confines of the undefiled marriage bed, but sinful man does not always stay within the confines of God’s design.
Sometimes, God allows out of wedlock pregnancies to happen. And when they do, the charge is the same. “Thou shalt not kill,” Children are a blessing from the Lord”
And because that baby, (even though conceived out of wedlock) is crafted by God, the honor is still high and the privilege is still there, and the church needs to understand this, so we can come alongside and give the expectant mother all the help we can. That she may experience the honor and privilege of being God’s special courier..
The sexual sin is dealt with through repentance and confession. And once confessed, the church needs to remove the sin from their thought process as far as God has removed it from His. “removed as far as East is from the West” Then we are ready to be an asset to the mother in this time of privilege and honor.
The honor of carrying a new life to a bringing forth begins at conception because that’s when life begins. We can’t repeat this enough. This biblical fact is easily proven, yet few Christians are able to defend this biblical truth.
A. Sin is present at conception.
Ps 51:5 Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, And in sin my mother conceived me.
B. The wages of sin is death. Ro 6:23 For the wages of sin is death. And Eze 18:20 "The soul who sins shall die.
If this is true, how can the wage of death be exacted on something that is not living, something that does not have a soul? Therefore life begins at conception, because sin begins at conception.. It sounds simplistic, but it’s undeniable truth.
As we commemorate the Annunciation, let us not forget that Jesus entered this world in a very special way, but upon His conception, He became a one celled embryo just as you and I did. He also died in a special horrendous way, but He gave up His spirit, (He died in the same way you and I will die.)
This had to be so, because the writer of Hebrews says:
Heb 2:14 Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil,
Heb 4:15 For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.
So it wouldn’t do for Jesus to skip any part of the process of being human. It wouldn’t do to start life one month into the pregnancy, or at implantation, or to just arrive on the scene as a baby. It wouldn’t do to skip the process of dying. He had to experience it all, so He could face the same trials that we face and even more!
Our blessed hope of a bodily resurrection is even tied into His conception and death....His human experience. Because just as He shared in our lives from the very beginning to the end, so shall we share in the blessed hope of the bodily resurrection when He comes again!
The Annunciation has been a part of the church calendar since the 5th or 6th century. As we continue to prepare for Good Friday and Easter, remember that it all started....not at Christmas, but at the moment Mary conceived. Jesus was both fully divine and fully human from the moment of His conception.
He lived a perfect sinless life in our stead, and then paid the price for all our sins with His death on the cross. God showed His approval of His sacrifice when He raised Him from the dead. He ascended into heaven and all authority was given to Him there.
With this authority. He has ordained that all people who believe in Him and are baptized will be forgiven of their sins and saved.
Since Jesus shared our lives from conception on, He has given value to all life from conception on. So much value that He redeemed us with the price of His very life. You have value my child because of that sacrifice, and you’ve had that value since conception. Should we not also value the lives of unborn?
In the United States alone. 1,287,00 unborn babies are killed every year by abortion. That’s 3,526 per day, 147 per hour, one every 24 seconds. From 1973 to 2005, 45,888,300 skillfully crafted, made in the image, blood bought children of God have been destroyed through legalized abortion. Every 24 seconds another woman is robbed of the honor and privilege of being a courier for God.
In a recent survey that appeared in “Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health,” The top reason given for having an abortion was: “having a baby would dramatically change my life.” Well, we can’t deny that.
But has anyone ever thought about how NOT having that baby will change one’s life? How NOT having that baby will change the world? That’s the real question isn’t it? And still another reason we Christians need to rethink this whole matter of birth control. Just think how the world would’ve changed if Mary would’ve changed her mind.
The Annunciation. Gabriel announces the good news to Mary that she is going to have the honor and privilege of carrying the Son of God from conception through delivery.
Church, we need to regain this territory. We need to start attaching the words, “honor and privilege” to motherhood once again. Our children need to understand this at an early age and carry it with them all their lives. What an honor, what a privilege to hear and keep the Word of God in the matter of pro-creation. What an honor to be a courier for the Most High.
Lord Jesus, before Your birth, You filled the unborn baptist with the joy of the Holy Spirit as You came into His presence as an embryo. By this same Holy Spirit, help us to acknowledge Your humanity and divinity in the mystery of the Incarnation. Help us to see the humanity of every unborn child! Grant us the perseverance to defend vulnerable human life from abortion, abandonment, experimentation, and any and all other violations of that which is created in Your image. Fill us with reverence for that moment when the Word became flesh. Fill us with reverence for all You have created. In Jesus name, fill us with reverence for the awesome responsibility and honor of motherhood. Amen