BEHOLD THE LAMB PREPARED
Behold The Lamb Series – Sermon #2
Intro: Way back in the dawn of time, man violated a sacred trust and fell into sin. At that time, God promised man that there would come One Who would balance the scales, defeat evil and deliver humanity. For thousands of years men waited. And while men waited, God worked.
God worked by choosing a man named Abram from Ur of the Chaldees. Through this man God raised up a nation known as Israel. God worked through this nation to establish His Law and His worship in the earth. Yet, the people of Israel were constantly turning away from the Lord Who had called them and bought them. But, He was patient with them, and He continued to work. He worked in spite of their tendency to follow false gods. He worked in spite of them turning a deaf ear to His Word and to the preachers and prophets He sent to lead them. He worked in spite of the fact that they really did not seem to care about Him at all.
God worked because He was completing a plan that begun before the world was ever made. He worked because He was determined to send a Redeemed to this world to save the lost. He worked because He was motivated by a heart of love to see His people saved. So, He worked in spite of everything they did and in working, His love for them overcame every obstacle they placed in His path.
God kept on because He was had promised to send a Lamb into the world to die for sin. Today, I want to talk about that part of God’s work that brought His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, into this world. Of all the obstacles God faced in completing His plan to save lost sinners, t he most challenging, from a human perspective, was getting His Lamb into this world. We have seen how God promised a Lamb; today, I want to see how that Lamb was prepared. I want to preach on this thought: Behold The Lamb Prepared. I want to take these verses and show you how God accomplished the impossible through the birth of His darling Son.
- v. 26-28 THE PLACE RESERVED FOR THIS PREPARATION
- It Was A Pure Place – We are told that the angel came to “a virgin.” The word used refers to a female that is sexually pure. In fact, the virginity of Mary is affirmed twice in verse 27. Contrary to what liberals and others may say, the word does not simply speak of a “young woman,” but it speaks of one who has never engaged in sexual intercourse. The vessel God chose to use to bring His Son into this world was a perfectly pure vessel.
Some might wonder why this is important. It is important because God promised that the Savior of humanity would be “the seed of the woman,” Gen. 3:15. This simply means that God would send the Savior into the world through the body of a woman without the aid of a human male. Why? Because all humans are sinners and that sinfulness is passed on through the seed of the man, Rom. 5:12. When Adam sinned in the garden, he became a sinner. And, just as he passed on his human nature to his offspring, Adam also passed along his sinful nature to his children. They inherited his sin and they too passed it on down the line.
God’s plan to send a Savior into the world involved Him sending a pure Savior, Who would not inherit the sinful nature of humanity, but One Who would inherit a physical body and a human nature. God accomplished this through the virgin birth of Jesus, Gal. 4:4.
By sending Jesus into this world through the womb of a virgin, God was able to give His Son a human body and a human nature, without His inheriting a fallen nature as well. This enabled Jesus to be born without sin; live without sin and die without sin. He was able to give His live as a pure, perfect sacrifice for fallen man, 2 Cor. 5:21. He was able to satisfy God forever through the offering of His Own body on the cross, 1 John 2:2; Heb. 9:11-14; Heb. 10:10-14.
I certainly do not understand all the mechanics of how God sent His Son into the world through the womb of a virgin, but I do know that the virgin birth of Jesus is a foundational doctrine of the Christian faith. Without a virgin birth, we do not have a Savior. Without a virgin birth, we have no hope. Without a virgin birth, we have no foundation upon which to build the house of our faith! To deny the virgin birth of Jesus is to deny Christ.
- It Was A Prophesied Place – As I have already mentioned, God promised to send His Son into the world through a woman, Gen. 3:15. As the years past, that prophesy was expanded by the prophet Isaiah, Isa. 7:14; Isa. 9:6. Both of these verses tell us that God would move in a miraculous manner to bring the promised Messiah into the world.
Therefore, the virgin birth of Jesus should not surprise anyone. When God makes a promise, He is well able to make it happen, Rom. 4:21. When He makes a promise, He fully intends to bring to it pass.
- It Was A Prepared Place – To watch Mary as these verses unfold is to see a young woman who has been prepared for this moment. History tells us that every faithful Jewish girl was looking for the messiah. We are also told that every Jewish girl hoped that she would be the vessel chosen through which God would send His Messiah into the world.
When the angel appears to Mary, she is amazed and she is startled, but she is a woman prepared to respond to the will of the Lord in faith and faithfulness, Luke 1:38. It appears that God, in His grace, had begun a work in her young heart long before this moment, so that when this moment arrived, Mary was ready and willing to do all the Lord desired of her.
Imagine the faith required for Mary to respond to the Lord as she did. For a young unmarried woman to become pregnant in that day was to be the focus of shame, disgrace and a possible death sentence. But, Mary was willing to bear the shame and the burden of being the vessel through which God would send His Son into the world.
Thank God for people like Mary who are willing to do all the Lord requires, regardless of what it may require of them. May the Lord find a heart like that beating within every one of our chests! After all, nothing reveals our love for Jesus like our unquestioning obedience to all He requests of us, John 14:15, 21!
- v. 29-33 THE PROMISE REVEALED IN THIS PREPARATION
- v. 31, 32 The Promise Of A Special Child – Mary is told that she will become the mother of a son, but that this Son will be no ordinary child. He will be her son, therefore, He will be a human; but He will also be the “Son of the Highest.” He will be a man, but He will also be God. This was the prophecy of Isaiah, Isa. 7:14. This was the message of the angel to Joseph, Matt. 1:23. This was most profound moment of all time and eternity! This was the moment God became flesh and walked among men, John 1:1; 14; Phil. 2:5-8. This was the moment that the Creature became dependent upon the creature. When Jesus Christ was conceived in the womb of a virgin, the plan of the ages moved out of eternity and into time. God Himself robed Himself in human flesh and came into this world that He might die on a cross for save His people from their sins.
- v. 31 The Promise Of A Saving Child – Mary is told that the child’s name is to be “Jesus.” This name was a common name in that day. In the Hebrew tongue, it was the name “Joshua”. Many Jewish parents named their male children Joshua, or as the Greeks rendered it, Jesus. Of course, while the name might be common, the child to Whom it was given was not.
The name “Jesus” means “Jehovah is Salvation.” Although Mary did not understand all that she was being told, she hears for the first time that Name which is above every name! She does not understand it now, but the child she will name Jesus will grow up and one day He will die on a cross to save lost sinners from their sins. He will be the only hope lost sinners have, John 14:6. His Name will be the only Name that will open the gates of Heaven; redeem the human soul from the bondage of sin; deliver lost men from the threat of Hell; and speak peace and hope to those who do not know God. For this child would be the fulfillment of a plan set into motion before the world was ever formed, Rev. 13:8; 1 Pet. 1:20. He would die on a cross; rise from the dead and ascend back into Heaven to guarantee salvation for all who would trust Him by faith. Thank God for the day God sent His Son into the world to be the Savior of God’s people, Matt. 1:21; Luke 2:11.
- v. 32-33 The Promise Of A Sovereign Child – Mary is also told that this special child, this saving child would also be a sovereign child. She is told that He would be a sovereign with a special pedigree. He would rule on the throne of David; thus fulfilling the prophecy given to David over 1,000 years before, 2 Sam. 7:11-13; Psa. 132:11. He would also rule over the house of Jacob, thus fulfilling the prophecy of Jacob made thousands of years earlier, Gen. 49:10. Beyond that, He would also rule over a kingdom that would have no end. He would rule over His kingdom forever, thus fulfilling the prophecy of Isaiah, Isa. 9:6-7; and others of the Old Testament prophets.
In these verses which describe this promised child, we learn the wonderful truth that God will become a man; that He will die for sinners; and that He will rise again to rule forever. All the wonderful truth concerning the life, ministry and death of Jesus that will be made plain later, is revealed here in seed form. The question for you and me is this: Do we know Him, or do we just know about Him? I know you have heard about Jesus, but have you ever trusted Him for your soul’s salvation? You see, this promise was made to Mary; but it is valid for all who will believe.
III. v. 34-38 THE POWER RELEASED IN THIS PREPARATION
- v. 34-38 The Power To Conquer Our Doubts – Mary hears the words of the angel, but she confesses that she does not understand how this can happen. She, like all other Jews, expected the Messiah to enter the world by the old fashioned way. She wonders how she will be able to have a child, since she has never physically been with a man. To Mary’s mind this is a dilemma that cannot be surmounted. Thankfully, the angel has the answer! He tells her that she is about to be part of the greatest miracle the world has ever known. God is about to turn Mary into a miracle! The angel speaks the words that conquer Mary’s doubts.
- v. 35-38 The Power To Carry Out His Desires – The angel addresses Mary’s problem by giving her a promise, v. 35; offering her some proof, v. 36; and by declaring God’s power, v. 37. Mary is told that God is well able to do all the things He has said He will do. Gabriel declares the awesome power of God and offers hope and comfort for the heart of Mary.
(Note: The whole point here is this: we hear the Christmas message and there is a human tendency to doubt. We hear about God becoming flesh and being born in Bethlehem, and there is a part of man that has trouble with that. We hear that He came and that He died because He loves us and that He did it just to save our souls from the fires of Hell, and part of says, “Well, what if He didn’t mean me?”
Well, Mary heard a message that was almost too fantastic to be believable. When she confessed the fact that she did not see how it could be real, the angel offered her the promise that God, in His power, was more than able to bring this thing to pass. If you have heard this message today and you are plagued by fears and doubts regarding the message if Jesus, here is what you need to know.
Everything God said is true! Jesus is His Son. Jesus did come into this world to die for you. He did die for you. He did rise from the dead. He did return back to Heaven. He is coming back to this earth some day. All those who trust Him by faith will be forever saved by His mighty power.
You say, “How can I know for sure?” In Mary’s case, the angel told her about what God had done for her cousin Elizabeth. Mary left immediately to go see Elizabeth, and when she arrived, she found that Elizabeth was pregnant, just like the angel had said, v. 39-56. Mary had proof positive that God had worked in the life of Elizabeth, and that gave her confidence to believe that He would work in her own life as well. For us, the proof that Jesus has the power to take a lost sinner, save them by His grace and change their life can be found by looking around this very room! All around are those lives transformed by the hand of grace. Look at what Jesus has done in the lives of those around and know that what He has done for others, He will certainly do for you, John 6:37.)
Conc: As we hear about the virgin birth and think about God sending His Son into this world to die for sinners, we might wonder why. Why would God go to all that trouble? Why would He send His Son into this world? Why would He allow that Son to die for lost people? There is only one answer and there is only one reason: He loves you! The Bible declares His love, John 3:16, and the death of Christ on the cross at Calvary displays it for all to see, Rom. 5:8. The blessed Lamb of God was sent to this world through the womb of the virgin Mary so that He might be born without sin, live a sinless life and die for sin on the cross. So, the question is not really why did God do this? The question is what have you done about it? Have you trusted Jesus as your Savior? Are you genuinely saved by grace? Do you know the Lord? Or, is there a need for you to come to the Lord today and receive His Son Jesus by faith? God prepared the Lamb so you might be saved, and you can be if you will come to Him.