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When an Angel Spoke to Mary, Part 1

Insight for Living / Chuck Swindoll
The Truth Network Radio
December 20, 2021 7:05 am

When an Angel Spoke to Mary, Part 1

Insight for Living / Chuck Swindoll

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More than 2,000 years ago, a young Jewish woman conceived a child who would radically change the course of history.

The celebration of his birth is known around the world as Christmas. In fact, his story is so familiar to us that we sometimes miss the magnitude. So today on Insight for Living, Chuck Swindoll takes us back to the scene in order to recreate that moment when an angel spoke to Mary. Before we get started, let's enjoy this Christmas favorite performed by the Stonebriar Community Church Choir and Orchestra. O, say can you see by the dawn's early light What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming? O say can you see by the dawn's early light What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming? O say can you see by the dawn's early light What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming? O say can you see by the dawn's early light What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming? O say can you see by the dawn's early light What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming? O say can you see by the dawn's early light What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming? O say can you see by the dawn's early light What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming? Angels from the realms of glory, wing your flight o'er all the earth.

Hark! the herald angels sing Glory to the newborn King. We sing of them.

We write them into our songs. Virtually every one of the carols we sing include those intriguing creatures we know simply as angels. If you looked closely on the platform, you notice in a niche on your left back toward the rear, you'll see, well, at least someone's idea of an angel in some shape with wings, as always it seems. And over in front of the pipes on your right, you'll see another, well, a replica of somebody's idea of angels.

But I've never met too many people who've ever seen one. Artists have these marvelous imaginations and, like Raphael, always paint them with halos and a glow about them, though we never read of either one in the scriptures. In fact, part of the issue of angels and understanding them is dealing with a lot of the false information that accompanies them. Like, they're not dainty little fairies. They aren't wood nymphs or water sprites. They certainly aren't chubby little cherubs with pink cheeks and tiny wings and looking for people in love so they can shoot their cupid arrows at them.

That's all fantasy. It's all a myth because they are magnificent, sometimes fierce, on occasion filled with compassion, and they rescue us. The psalmist says in Psalm 91, 11, he commanded them to give us protection so that the angels were given charge over us. We grow in our understanding. People tell us there are guardian angels.

Probably so, not just for children. Cynthia and I were laughing this morning as we thought of our four while growing up and how busy the guardian angels were in their lives. Our last two needed several ranks of angels to assist them.

They were busy, but it's far more serious than that. Angels comes from a word, angelos, out of the Greek New Testament, which simply means messenger. They're that, but they're more than that. In fact, some are named Gabriel, Michael the archangel, Lucifer, son of the morning, who fell and dragged with him a third of the heavenly hosts who changed from angels to demons. That's another subject for another time. They seem to be in groups, cherubim, who fled the throne of God, seraphim with their six wings, with two they cover their faces, with two they cover their feet, and with two filled with eyes, they fly. Like I say, they are intriguing creatures. But to the point, what was sent from the presence of God, his name was Angelos Gabriel, the angel Gabriel. He did what angels do.

Here's a simple little formula. They show up, they step up, they speak up, then they scoot. No reason to hang around and have a piece of pie and a cup of coffee. They're not into that. You wish you could have time with them. And they aren't like the FedEx driver or the guy that drives a brown truck and delivers a UPS package, rings the bell and then gets out of the way. They don't bring something. They deliver something far more significant than what is tangible.

And that's God's message. Gabriel was sent from God to the town of Nazareth, sort of a backwater village on the on the fringe of the Roman Empire. Not a place you'd write home about.

Matter of fact, you and I would probably refer to it as more of a dump. Had a red light district. Not far away, about four miles, was the Roman garrison at Cephoris. And when the soldiers went on liberty, probably came to Nazareth to buy cheap wine and cheaper women. So it didn't have a good reputation. In fact, one of the men who was later called to follow Jesus was informed that he was from Nazareth. He said, well, can anything good come out of Nazareth?

Well, one young teenager did, somewhere between 13 and 15 years of age. She was still a virgin, though engaged to be married to Joseph. A pure man who loved the fact that he was marrying a parthenos, a virgin.

Never intimately knew a man. So when Gabriel was sent from God to Nazareth, he was told to find the virgin, engaged to Joseph, and a little later in the in the narrative, he's given her name, Mary. But he's told the quality that attracts the Lord to her, and that is she's a parthenos. We've become so familiar with the story that we toss these words around like they mean little to the virgin Mary from whom the child Jesus was born.

Well, how else could God have brought someone on this earth without a sin nature if it had not been through the genius of a virgin birth? Never happened before, will never happen again, which confused Mary. Angelos Gabriel said to her, I come from God, greetings favored one. If you look closely in the original, you'll see tucked away in the word favored is the Greek word grace. God's showing grace to you, Mary. It's not that you're all that significant, but your virginity is essential. Mary's confused.

She doesn't understand why grace is being shown to her, probably thought me of all people. Young teenager, listen to this. You will become pregnant. You will have a son. You're to name him, Jesus. She remembers her teaching, the teaching that was poured into her in the synagogue school about the Messiah. Jesus would come, and now she hears, you will be the vehicle.

Your womb, preserved in purity, will bear the child. She doesn't get it. In fact, if we were to respond today, like probably a teenager would respond, she'd have three responses. Wow. Now? How? How's it going to happen?

I'm a virgin. You seem to forget. Oh, no. It's remembered.

It's essential. You see, Mary, the Holy Spirit will come upon you. The power of God shall overshadow you, so the baby born to you will be utterly holy.

That's it. You see, Gabriel was equipped not only with information, where to go, and to whom to speak. He was also told how it would happen, because angels wouldn't normally know that. They're curious about a lot of things, and so he comes equipped with everything, including the information Mary needs, and when she hears it, there's no argument, there's no struggle, there's no discussion. She says, get this, I am the Lord's servant. May it be as you have said, may everything come to pass, I am willing.

And then you know what happens? He's gone. Scripture says he disappeared. She's gone. He's gone.

She's there. By the way, think about that. It was all done in private.

We have a record of it, it's been read for centuries, but when it first happened, there was no sky writing, so that all people in Nazareth could read it. It was her word against the world. And what a price that was. First with her parents that night at supper. Mom and Dad.

I'm pregnant. But their heads are reeling. Think if you were the parents. She says to them, the Holy Spirit will come upon me, and the Lord will overshadow all of it, and the Holy One born will be the Son of God. Then the grandparents, we don't read about that dialogue. And then Joseph, Joseph at first couldn't believe it. Decided to put her away quietly.

We'll look at that next time. Because an angel plays a role in his life. And then, could I add, the whole world of their day would sneer. Read John 8 41, when Jesus is now an adult and ministering, and they're arguing with him about his identity, and they say to him, we're not of illegitimate birth, we know who our Father is. See, he lived with that. He bore all of that on our behalf. God stepped in time and did what only God could do, a miracle.

And he brought the baby to us from a virgin's womb. One final thought. It would be easy to be envious of angels. I remember growing up thinking it'd be great to be one.

I'd like to fly around and deliver messages and do amazing things. But, you know, I was just reading in 1 Peter 1 12, which says they peer with interest into the gospel story because Jesus didn't die for angels. They don't have souls.

They have wills. So they obey or disobey, but they're not able to be saved. That's reserved for us sinners as we are. Years ago a song was written, it was 1894 as a matter of fact, that the composer wrote of all of this, Holy, holy, holy is what the angels sing, and I expect to help them make the courts of heaven ring. But when I sing redemption's story, they will fold their wings, for angels never felt the joy that my salvation brings. Has salvation come to you? Are you entering this Christmas season singing about Christ and angels and the Lord and a virgin birth and all that without knowing the Savior?

Oh, no wonder it's just another season. Let's take care of that right now. Bow with me, will you? Just for a moment, close your eyes. Wherever you are right now, just close your eyes. You who are watching online, just close your eyes.

Think. Has Christ come into your life? Was there ever a time when you said, Yes, Lord, I long to have forgiveness and a purpose for living and a reason to go on and sins forgiven and a home in heaven?

I'd love that and thousands of other things that you've promised us. Please come into my life, Christ. I accept you as my Savior. I take the gift that you have given me, O God. And then this Christmas, thank him as never before for the greatest gift of all.

Let's pray. Father, thank you for that holy night, that special moment when there was a gush of birth and a miracle landed on straw. Thank you for Jesus who would grow up loving us and willing to die for us that we might know the life that only he can give. We are grateful.

And this Christmas season, accept our thanks. In his name, we pray. Everyone said, Amen. Amen. Amen. Amen. Amen.

Amen. A majestic musical celebration of that grand moment when an angel spoke to Mary. Now, in case you joined us late in the program, you're listening to a song that is called, And to learn more about this ministry, please visit us online at Well, today, you're hearing the first of five programs devoted to a brand-new miniseries from Chuck Swindoll. This, of course, follows our study in the Gospel According to Matthew. The teaching series came to a crescendo in Matthew 28 when Jesus delivered his Great Commission.

Because of the ministry, the teaching series came to a crescendo in Matthew 28 when Jesus delivered his Great Commission. Because of the magnitude of this command from Jesus, we sat down with Chuck Swindoll in our studios for a one-on-one conversation. In addition to recording his voice, we had the video cameras rolling as well.

And the 30-minute conversation has just been posted online so you can enjoy the entire exchange. To see and hear what Chuck had to say, follow the link at insight.org slash conversation. Well, Chuck, Jesus gave us our marching orders when he said, Go and make disciples of all the nations. And then he added these assuring words, Be sure of this, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. Yeah, we have no doubt that he is with us always. This helps remind us that you, our listeners, are with us as well. If you believe you are, your gift is a tangible proof of how closely aligned you are with us. We've often said, and I want to repeat it, that we don't shape our appeal for funds out of some kind of system to get money out of your pocket. If a need weren't real, we wouldn't call it a need.

But it is real. This is the time of the year that you can do more than just say, I really believe in Insightful Living's ministry. This is your time to say, I participate in that. I'm a part of it.

I'm part of the reason they're able to be engaged in this another year with us. And I'm grateful they're there, and I want them to know that I'm here with them all the way. And I would love to hear from so many of you that some of you have never connected with us before, and others of you have, and we thank you for your gift. Yet another time we ask that you'd be just as generous as you've been before.

Thanks, Chuck. And now, with boldness, we're asking you to respond with your generous year-end gift to Insightful Living. Let me explain how you can easily get in touch with us right now. Many prefer to use the convenient mobile app by simply clicking on the donate button, or give directly online at insight.org slash donate. To speak with one of our friendly ministry reps, call us. If you're listening in the U.S., dial 1-800-772-8888. That number to call again, 1-800-772-8888, or give online at insight.org slash donate. I'm Dave Spiker, inviting you to join us tomorrow when Chuck Swindoll describes the moment an angel spoke to Joseph. That's Tuesday on Insight for Living. The preceding message, when an angel spoke to Mary, was copyrighted in 2020 and 2021, and the sound recording was copyrighted in 2021 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights are reserved worldwide. Duplication of copyrighted material for commercial use is strictly prohibited.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-07-07 15:43:40 / 2023-07-07 15:50:52 / 7

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