The Fourth Sunday in Advent (B)
“In the Sixth Month the Angel Gabriel was Sent”
December 24, 2017
Sermon Text: Luke 1:26-38
Peace be unto you from the Messiah, Christ Jesus. Amen.
Dearly Beloved of the Lord,
“In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God.” (Luke 1:26)
You know, that is what angels do. They are sent… by God. They do His bidding. And Holy Scripture… both the Old and New Testament… is replete with accounts of the same… of the Lord our God sending His angels to earth… to mankind… to carry out some divine work and many times, to deliver a divine message.
St. Luke tells us this is exactly what the angel Gabriel was sent to do in the
“sixth month”… the sixth month, that is, of Elizabeth’s pregnancy… to bring a message.
No ordinary message, mind you. Which, coming from an angel, couldn’t be ordinary. It had to be extraordinary and it was… it certainly was.
It would be an understatement to say that it was a message that all the world longed to hear… all in the world, that is, who knew of the promise… who knew of the Messiah to come… and believed in the same, had faith, saving faith, that He would come. God said it. They believed it!
They counted on it. And what is more, they clung to it. They clung to the promise of a savior who was their only hope… their only hope of salvation, their only hope of being forgiven of their sins and freed from the eternal consequences of the same, namely death and damnation.
They, the faithful and all of creation, Scripture tells us, longed for the news that was, at first, only for the ears of “a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David.” The virgin’s name was Mary. (Luke 1:27)
On the orders, at the command of the Lord our God, the angel Gabriel comes to Mary… sweet Mary, blessed Mary… one of the Lord’s own… one of the Lord’s faithful… one who, yes, knew the promise… knew of the Messiah and believed He would come… but had no idea it would all unfold… that it would all come to be… in this miraculous and marvelous way…
… that she would be the mother of the Savior of the world, for the name she is to call Him, “Jesus,” declares this very thing.
… that she would be the mother of God now coming in the flesh… her flesh… of her own flesh and blood… of ours and all mankind. That this new Adam would have the very same flesh and blood as the first Adam and all of his descendants. That this new Adam, the Son of Man and Son of God, would be everyone’s true brother… yours and mine.
Mary had no idea that she would be the mother of the King of kings and Lord of lords, for as the angel declares to her, “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.” (Luke 1:32-33)
Mary had no idea of the shepherds who would come with haste to worship the Christ Child, her Child. And after them, awhile later, wise men, bearing gifts for the Christ Child, her Child… gifts suitable for a king. A King who eventually would wear a crown of thorns.
No… for sure… Mary had no idea what was in store for her or her Son. No idea, at that point, of the manger… no idea of the cross… no idea, not a clue, that she would witness both her Son’s birth as well as His death.
“ In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God.”
And Gabriel went, because that is what angels do. They go where God sends them, do what God commands of them.
So do the faithful… the faithful man, woman, teenager and child. Those baptized in Christ. Those upon whom the Holy Spirit is working wonderfully and mightily.
They go where God sends them, do what God commands them, dedicating their whole life to the same. As did Mary, sweet Mary, blessed Mary, who upon hearing all that Gabriel said, all that God had chosen her to do… to be… simply responded, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” (Luke 1:38) Because that is what the faithful do.
“ In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God.” And then, so was Mary. And so was the Son of God whose birth we will celebrate in a matter of hours.
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son… He sent His only begotten Son… that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.” (John. 3:16)
Because that is what the one true God does. Out of love… pure love… for you… for me and all the world. He has mercy upon us. He showers us with His grace. He saves us. He receives us unto Himself and gives us His Kingdom which knows no end.
Rejoice my friends. Be comforted and at peace with all that is yours in Mary’s Son. Amen.
May the peace of God which surpasses all understanding, guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus, unto life everlasting. Amen.
“In the Sixth Month the Angel Gabriel was Sent” 12/24/17 The Rev. Mark H. Hein, St. Paul’s Ev. Lutheran Church, Lockport, IL