Jesus Is Worthy — Luke 1:26-56

Series: Luke—The Infancy Of Jesus (1:1-2:52)

20161218FBCAM

Levi Durfey

 

IS JESUS WORTHY TO YOU?

 

In Luke 5, Peter, James, and John encounter Jesus after a long night of fishing that netted zero fish (My family and I can relate!). Jesus tells them to let down their nets into the water. 

 

After complaining that the fishing wasn’t so good right now (and they should know, they’re expert fisherman), they do as Jesus requested and let down their nets. They end up catching so many fish that the boats start to sink!

 

8 When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord. 9 For he was astonished, and all that were with him, at the draught [catch] of the fishes which they had taken: (Luke 5:8–9)

 

Jesus turned to them and told them they would now become fishers of men. They pulled their boats onto shore and left everything behind to follow Jesus. Why? Because Jesus was worthy of worship. Jesus was worthy of forsaking everything and following.

 

Is Jesus worthy like that to you?

 

We’ll start our lesson in verse 31, with what Gabriel tells Mary about Jesus. He has, of course, only great things to say about Jesus. What we should gather from these things is an understanding that…

 

JESUS IS WORTHY (1:31-33)

 

Gabriel says to Mary…

 

Luke 1:31 And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. 

Luke 1:32 He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: 

Luke 1:33 And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end. 

 

What does Gabriel say about Jesus?

 

1. His name will be “Jesus.” 

 

“Jesus” is the Greek version of the Hebrew name, “Yeshua,” which means, “Yahweh (or Jehovah) saves.” Jesus’s very name points to what His mission would be—to bring salvation to sinners. He once said, “For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.” (Luke 19:10)

 

Next, Gabriel says that…

 

2. “He shall be great.” 

 

Why is Jesus “great”? Because He is God. He is the immortal, infinite, eternal, all-knowing, all-seeing, all-powerful God. And this God became human—

 

14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. (John 1:14)

 

Jesus will be great, Gabriel says, and…

 

3. He “shall be called the Son of the Highest.” 

 

Whenever you call someone the “son” of someone else, you are saying that they share the same essence—or the same DNA. 

 

Calling Jesus the “Son of the Highest” means that He is the same essence as God. Or, if you will, Jesus has the same DNA as God.

 

Human sons will exhibit some of the same characteristics as their fathers, but Jesus is exactly the same as His Father—they are one essence. They are God.

 

3 Who [Jesus] being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person… (Hebrews 1:3)

 

4. He shall be given “the throne of his father David:” 

 

One of God’s biggest promises in the Old Testament was to David—

 

16 And thine house and thy kingdom shall be established for ever before thee: thy throne shall be established for ever. (2 Samuel 7:16)

 

The Gospel of Matthew begins with a genealogy that traces Jesus’s family tree all the way from Abraham to David and from David to “Joseph, the husband of Mary” (Matthew 1:16). Thus, Jesus was a legitimate heir to the throne of David. 

 

Luke also has a genealogy of Jesus (3:23-38), where he handles things a bit differently. We’ll wait until we get there to discuss it, but the end result is the same—Jesus is heir to David’s throne.

 

What this means for us is that God is faithful to keep His promises, and His Son Jesus is the means He used to keep His promise to David.

 

Gabriel also says of Jesus, that…

 

5. He shall reign forever. 

 

God promised David that his kingdom and throne would be established forever, and in Jesus, that promise is true.

 

Now, Jesus’s kingdom is clearly not here on earth yet, except in the sense that He rules in the hearts of believers. 

 

But there will come a time when Jesus will literally sit on the throne of David and rule. This will be called the Millennial Kingdom.

 

So what did Gabriel say about Jesus? He said:

 

1) His name will be “Jesus.”

2) “He shall be great.”

3) He “shall be called the Son of the Highest.”

4) He shall be given “the throne of his father David:”

5) He shall reign forever.

 

In just a few words, Gabriel gives Mary and us a lifetime of pondering how Jesus is worthy. But what is He worthy of? 

 

First, from how Mary responds to the massive life upheaval that was suddenly thrust upon her, we learn that…

 

JESUS IS WORTHY OF OUR BODIES (1:26-38)

 

The Bible commands us to give our bodies as a living sacrifice:

 

1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. (Romans 12:1)

 

This is exactly what Mary did. First…

 

Mary Kept Her Body Pure For The Lord’s Purposes

 

Luke 1:26 And in the sixth month [of Elisabeth’s pregnancy] the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, 

Luke 1:27 To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. 

 

In a dramatic contrast with our culture today, Mary valued her purity and remained a “virgin” even after being “espoused” to “Joseph.” Today, couples (if they’ve waited at all) often say, “We’re engaged, why not go all the way?” 

 

In Mary’s culture, being “espoused” was stronger than being engaged to be married because it required a divorce to break it off. For all intents and purposes, they were married. Yet Mary and Joseph were committed to remain pure as they waited a year to be married.

 

Why does God value purity so much? I think that is a question that we, as Christians, need to be asking more today. We easily get sidetracked by our culture and like to think that God doesn’t care what we do with our bodies. 

 

But He does care. God values purity. Why? I think part of it is that He values faithfulness so much.

 

1) Purity expresses our faithfulness to our future spouse (or, obviously, our present spouse if we have one). 

 

This is a concept that our culture declares to be outdated, but really, deep down, everyone wants their spouse to be faithful to them. 

 

To have relations before marriage or after being married is being unfaithful to your spouse.

 

2) Purity expresses our faithfulness to the children who are conceived. The conception of a human being is so very precious. No child should be considered a mistake. 

 

When you conceive a child and you are not in a position to care for that child (that is, in the stable relationship of marriage between a man and woman) then you are being unfaithful to that child. 

 

And need we have to explain why abortion is the ultimate expression of unfaithfulness to a child?

 

3) Purity expresses our faithfulness to God and His desires for us.  To not care about keeping ourselves pure says that we don’t care about God.

 

Mary showed how Jesus was worthy by keeping her body pure. 

 

Second…

 

Mary Gave Her Body For The Lord’s Purposes

 

Luke 1:28 And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. 

Luke 1:29 And when she saw him, she was troubled [confused and disturbed] at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be. 

Luke 1:30 And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. 

Luke 1:31 And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. 

 

How would you have responded to this announcement? You’ve just been told that you are going to conceive and bear a son. Now, for a woman like Elisabeth—married and wanting to have a baby—this would have been incredible and exciting news.

 

But for Mary, young and engaged, not yet married, this would have been anything but exciting. You have “found favour with God…” Really? Favor? This messes with the plans for my life in a really big way!

 

Here’s a couple things that I think went through Mary’s mind as she asks this carefully worded question:

 

Luke 1:34 Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?

 

1) I think she was concerned about her purity. Her question is very close to saying, “I’ve been pure, you know that, right?”

 

2) Is Joseph going to be the father and, if not, how will this pregnancy bode for our impeding marriage?

 

Gabriel’s response seems to acknowledge those unspoken concerns:

 

Luke 1:35 And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. 

 

Gabriel was saying, “Mary, this baby is going to be the purest and holiest thing you’ve ever done. I know that you are concerned about your purity—don’t worry, everything about this is going to be holy and pure.

 

No, Joseph will not be the father, but neither will be any other man. The Holy Spirit will be involved in the conception. Again, this child is going to be the purest of the pure and the holiest of the holy.”

 

As a sign to Mary that this was true, Gabriel says:

 

Luke 1:36 And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren. 

Luke 1:37 For with God nothing shall be impossible. 

 

Mary knew about “Elisabeth” being barren—she was probably past child-bearing age when Mary was born. All her life, she probably heard the hushed whispers at family gatherings about how Zacharias and Elisabeth had wanted children, but it just never happened. 

 

Mary could, and she would, go to “Elisabeth” and see for herself that she was pregnant. 

 

She could see for herself that “with God nothing shall be impossible.”

 

Mary’s body was now a living sacrifice for use by God for His purposes. 

 

One could say that Mary had no choice in the matter, and that’s true. We often don’t have choices about the things that happen to us.

 

It may be a bad diagnosis from the doctor. It may be that our parents are called by God to move to a new location and, we as their children, have to go. It could be that economy collapses and we lose our job.

 

It could be any number of things that “happen” to us where we have no choice in the matter. God does it, or at least allows it to happen.

 

But we do have a choice in our response. 

 

There’s someone in the Bible who also got called into service by God and he responded negatively—Jonah. God didn’t say, “Okay fine, I’ll find another volunteer.” God had to work with Jonah to get him on track.

 

With Mary, it was a lot easier for God! She accepted the task given to her. She gave her body for God’s purposes.

 

Luke 1:38 And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.

 

I don’t know if she ever got to read Romans, but if she did, she would have stopped and rejoiced in Romans 12:1—

 

1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. (Romans 12:1)

 

From Mary, we learn that Jesus is worthy of a living sacrifice of our bodies. Next, from John and then Mary again, we learn that…

 

JESUS IS WORTHY OF OUR PRAISE (1:39-56)

 

Luke 1:39 And Mary arose in those days, and went into the hill country with haste, into a city of Juda; 

Luke 1:40 And entered into the house of Zacharias, and saluted Elisabeth. 

 

When she gets to the home of Zacharias and Elisabeth, she walks in the door, says “Hello,” and that is when we see…

 

The Praise Of John

 

Luke 1:41 And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost: 

Luke 1:42 And she spake out with a loud voice, and said, Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. 

Luke 1:43 And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 

Luke 1:44 For, lo, as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in mine ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy. 

Luke 1:45 And blessed is she that believed: for there shall be a performance of those things which were told her from the Lord.

 

John was able to recognize Jesus with the help of the Holy Spirit. Remember that Gabriel said that John would “be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother’s womb” (Luke 1:15). 

 

On a similar note, how did Elisabeth know that Mary was pregnant with Jesus? Again, she had been filled with the Holy Spirit.

 

When they entered, John “leaped in her womb.” What was this about? 

 

In verse 44, Elisabeth explains that John “the babe leaped in my womb for joy.” This was John the Baptist praising God for Jesus before he was even born!

 

Later in John’s life, he would explain that it was Jesus who gave him joy:

 

28 Ye yourselves bear me witness, that I said, I am not the Christ, but that I am sent before him. 29 He that hath the bride is the bridegroom: but the friend of the bridegroom, which standeth and heareth him, rejoiceth greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice: this my joy therefore is fulfilled. 30 He must increase, but I must decrease. (John 3:28–30)

 

What is it that we praise? We praise the people and things that make us happy—that give us joy. Does Jesus make you leap for joy? Is He the source of happiness for you? If not, why?

 

The Praise Of Mary

 

At this point, Mary bursts out in praise to the Lord. First, she praises God for including her in His great plan:

 

Luke 1:46 And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord, 

Luke 1:47 And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour. 

Luke 1:48 For he hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden: For, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed. 

Luke 1:49 For he that is mighty hath done to me great things; And holy is his name. 

 

Unlike Jonah, who pouted at having his life interrupted by God’s call, Mary praises God for the privilege He had given her. 

 

You could argue that Mary’s situation was more of a privilege than Jonah’s. But Jonah had the opportunity to share God’s message to unbelievers, isn’t that a privilege?

 

Really, if our heart loves the Lord, then any calling—any situation God puts us in—can be viewed as a privilege. 

 

Mary could have responded very badly to being pregnant with God’s Son. After all, many people would view her as being unfaithful to Joseph—she could have loved her reputation more than she loved the Lord. 

 

Instead, she expressed her love for and faith in the Lord by accepting His will for her as a privilege and not an interruption or a burden.

 

In the second half of her praise, Mary praises God for His mercy and faithfulness to His people.

 

Luke 1:50 And his mercy is on them that fear him From generation to generation. 

Luke 1:51 He hath shewed strength with his arm; He hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. 

Luke 1:52 He hath put down the mighty from their seats, And exalted them of low degree. 

Luke 1:53 He hath filled the hungry with good things; And the rich he hath sent empty away. 

Luke 1:54 He hath holpen his servant Israel, In remembrance of his mercy; 

Luke 1:55 As he spake to our fathers, To Abraham, and to his seed for ever. 

 

And then Mary goes home.

 

Luke 1:56 And Mary abode with her about three months, and returned to her own house.

 

You can imagine that, at three months pregnant, she would have had some explaining to do when she got home. It would have been difficult, I am sure, but, from what I know of Mary, she would have simply said, “Jesus is worthy.”

 

CONCLUSION

 

Let me ask some questions, and if you agree in your heart, then say “Amen” as a way of verbally committing yourself.

 

Is Jesus worthy to you? Let’s unpack that:

 

  • Is Jesus worthy of your praise because He gives you joy?
  • Is Jesus worthy of making your body a living sacrifice? 
  • Is Jesus worthy of saving yourself for marriage or remaining faithful in your marriage?
  • Is Jesus worthy of doing the right thing at work?
  • Is Jesus worthy of spending your life on godly pursuits and not wasting your life on worthless things? 
  • Is Jesus worthy of resolving a conflict between yourself and a fellow brother or sister in Christ?
  • Is Jesus worthy of loving your enemies?
  • Is Jesus worthy of not compromising biblical principles even while living in a culture that hates us for not compromising?
  • In short, is Jesus worthy of obeying Him? Remember, Jesus said, “If ye love me, keep my commandments” (John 14:15).
  • Is Jesus worthy of trusting your life and your salvation to Him for all eternity?

 

Is Jesus worthy to you?

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