The Authority to Forgive Sins
May 29, 2022
Why is this story included in the long list of stories Luke communicates to Theophilus? What is this text supposed to produce in us? The key is at the very end of this short story (v. 38). What is it? This is a parallel thought to (Rom. 12:1). So, when we understand the Gospel (the first 11 chs. or Romans) as a response of the heart, we worship!
This is exactly what happens to Maria! She visibly serves or worships God! From now on, we are talking more about the miracle of Christmas and getting ready for this special event, the celebration of the birth of Christ! Today’s text is a very instrumental in preparing us for the true worship during Christmas!
We already know that worship consists of two elements – worship in spirit and in truth! In other words, to know God and to value/treasure God. This is what our text is about!
I. Theology (in truth)
This is certain correct information, or the truth! Mary must know the truth!
A. Who are you, Mary? (vv. 26-30)
1) A virgin. A girl, who was never with her husband. The betrothed girl occupied and interesting position. She was not physically married to her husband, but legally her position was considered as married, and therefore Joseph was named her husband!
But the most important thing is that Christ will be born of a virgin! This is the fulfillment of prophecy. (Is. 7:14)
2) The recipient of grace. (vv. 28, 30) – she accepted all these gifts. And interesting note – (v. 28) – grace-filled, in the Latin translation there is a slight twist to the meaning, where it sounds more as if she is full of grace, and therefore, she is the one who can distribute grace and mercy. But, our text speaks of passive acceptance of benefits! From a theological point of view, it is huge! If this is the meaning of the text, then the whole doctrine of Mary worship in Catholicism is disintegrated!
3) The Lord is with her. This is the practical application of doctrines. The Lord is invisible to the eyes, but perceptible to the heart! This is consolation! God is not against her, but for her and seeks fellowship with her!
When a person realizes that God is not against her but for her, the whole perception of the surrounding world changes!
Of all women, she is the chosen one; and she is chosen for a very specific mission. These are the feelings of special honor, and priviledge.
B. Who is the child? (vv. 31-33, 35)
1) The holy Son of God
If a man did not participate in the process of conception, then how will he be holy? Isn’t a woman a sinner too? We know that all have sinned (Rom. 3:23). Mary was also a sinner! So how, then, did the child not receive a sinful nature?
(v. 35) gives an explanation. This verse takes us back to the beginning of the creation of the universe (Gen. 1:1-2) – creation occurs when the Spirit of God hovers over the water. The Spirit of God creates! So here too, the Spirit of God creates something new in the womb of Mary. Many questions arise as to whether the Spirit of God used Mary’s cell or not. Maybe He modified her in the most powerful way, or maybe she is a surrogate mother… we do not know… this is a secret. We know that a male child was conceived in her womb! The author of this miracle of creation is God Himself! Since God’s Spirit created the earth and the universe out of nothing, He could perform a miracle in the womb of Mary in the same way, so that the child did not receive a sinful nature! There was no sin in him.
Jesus – Yeshua – the Lord saves! The main purpose of the coming of the Son of God is to be the savior of sinners!
He will be great… this is the power of Christ! This is His central position in the history of mankind and the universe!
The promised hear to the throne of David! This is God’s faithfulness to the Davidic covenant. (Is. 9:6-7)
II. Reaction (in spirit)
A. Is it ok to ask God? (vv. 34-37)
We just researched a similar story where Zechariah asked a question and was mute for 9 months! Already think twice before asking questions… (although, Mary did not know about that story).
There is an opinion that serving and worshiping God implies correct answers, and by no means a sincere open conversation.
When Chris in Gethsemane turns to the Father and asks – (Luke 22:41-42) – this is the human nature of Christ – this is the seriousness of the forthcoming suffering, and the weight of humanity’s sin that will be laid on Him – and He opens his heart to the Father, his experiences but at the same time, He consciously obeys the will of the Father! This is worship! This is an honest, open relationship between us and God!
B. How to respond to God’s Word? (v. 38)
Several reasons that were an obstacle for Mary.
She was betrothed… this is at least mean a divorce for her, or scorning by people, but by the law – stoning. This is marital unfaithfulness (v. 27). This is a very unusual scenario. This has not happened to anyone, and will not happen to anyone.
But the biggest miracle is that Mary worships God in obedience!
What helped her? (v. 27) – fulfillment of the prophecies! (God is faithful)
So – there are two components of worship – in spirit (a passionate and submissive heart), and in truth (understanding of who God and man).
Mary is an illustration of everyone who experienced the birth of the Savior Jesus in their hearts: we were faced with a very difficult truth and it was hard for us to agree (I am sinful, and the forgiveness of sins is in the belief that Christ suffered for me, and I, turning with faith, and asking for forgiveness of my sins, receive eternal life for free!? God calls me His child. I get a new heart. It’s like for Mary the news that she will have a child, but not from her husband, but this will be a child of God! Anyone who believes in the Gospel immediately falls under the same risk – as well as Mary, could be stoned, divorced, rejected… so does every believer faces the risk of being rejected. Like Mary, you may ask questions, like: “how can it be done?” and if this is you, ask God and look for the answers in the Word, or pastors, but in the end, it is a simple childish obedience!
Today we worship God through Communion (1 Cor. 11-23-25) – it is in remembrance (this is an understanding of what Christ did for us), (v. 28) – an understanding of who we are sinners in need of grace! This is participation of the supper in the truth of who God and who am I. (v. 26) – this is a response – I proclaim, and I want everyone to know it!
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