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Conceived By the Holy Spirit Part One (Luke 1:26-38)

November 30, 2011

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St. Luke 1:26-38 “Conceived by the Holy Spirit” Part One


The Holy Spirit is at work.  Yes, the eternal Third Person of the Holy Trinity rolls up His sleeves gets busy!  He does one of the most incredible and miraculous deeds in the history of the world!  It is what all the patriarchs, prophets, and believers in the Old Testament have been waiting for.  What all the angels in heaven have been watching for.  And what is that?  It is this:  just exactly how Jesus would save all sinners from the damnation they deserve because of their sin. 


Yes, and how would that happen?  We see the beginning of the answer tonight.  It is this:  the Holy Spirit conceives the Son of the Most High God –– Jesus – in the womb of an Israelite girl!  In other words, Jesus, the eternal Second Person of the Holy Trinity and the Savior of the world takes on flesh and bones through the work of the Holy Spirit in the belly of a girl.  This is called the Incarnation.  The Creed confesses it this way:  that Jesus was,  “conceived by the Holy Spirit.”


The conception of Jesus by the Holy Spirit’s work takes place in one the most out of the way places in the world.  At Nazareth — a little backwater town in out of the way Israel.  Obscure Nazareth.  Never even mentioned in the Old Testament.


But the Holy Spirit, the Lord and Giver of life, is at work there!  He uses the archangel Gabriel to preach His sermon.  Yes, that’s right – a sermon! 


To who?  Who’s the congregation?  If it’s in Nazareth of Galilee then it can’t be very big.  Can’t be mega at all!  That’s right.  It is a congregation of one.  And what a congregation she is.  A teenage girl.  Her name:  Mary. 


Mary is engaged to be married. Her fiancée’s name is Joseph.  And Joseph is one of King David’s descendants!  She’s marrying a man with royal blood!  Loads of joy!  Much exciting preparation! 


The Holy Spirit interrupts all the happy pre-marital activities with a mind-blowing sermon preached by Gabriel.  And what was the full of the Holy Spirit sermon?  “Hello highly favored Mary!  The Lord is with you!  Don’t be afraid.  I know that seeing a mighty archangel like me is troubling and intimidating!  But I am here to tell you that God would use you as His instrument – His vessel – His tool – His means. You’re going to give birth to a son.   Jesus will be His name.  And He will reign as the Davidic king forever!  Yes, that’s right – FOREVER!” 


“How can this be?”  Mary asks.  That’s a great question.  After all, she is not married yet.  Hasn’t been wedding!  And there sure hasn’t been a honeymoon!  She’s still a virgin!  Can’t have a baby unless … unless she and Joseph … but that hasn’t happened and won’t happened until after the wedding!  So:  “Tell me Gabriel, how in the world can this be?  You know that I am a virgin!”


“Yes, Mary, I know that!  This is how you will get pregnant.  Are you listening?  Good.  The Holy Spirit will come upon you and the power of the Most High God will overshadow you.”


Do you get Gabriel’s sermon?  Do you understand now how Mary gets pregnant? 


She gets pregnant not by being with a man!  The baby boy to be named Jesus is conceived without any man including Joseph!  The full of the Holy Spirit filled sermon that Gabriel preaches into her ear holes conceives the Baby!  In other words, Mary gets pregnant because of the Holy Spirit!  The Holy Spirit does the conceiving of the Baby!  Through the archangel’s sermon proclaimed in her ears!  And that is why we confess in the Creed that Jesus was “conceived by the Holy Spirit.”


So the Baby Jesus conceived by the Holy Spirit in Mary’s womb is true man and true God in one person.  Listen again to Gabriel’s sermon:  “So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.”  “Holy one.”  “Son of God.”  Earlier Gabriel said “Son of the Most High.”   Yes, conceived by the Holy Spirit Jesus is both true man and entirely and completely true God.


All this is for you!  True man and true God conceived by the Holy Spirit Jesus is for you!  For your salvation!  Jesus is the Savior.  Savior in this way and no other — He takes on human flesh – becomes man — so that He can suffer and die.  Savior as true God because only God can save.  And so in His suffering and death Son of the Most High, Holy One, Son of God, Son of the Most High conceived by the Holy Spirit Jesus saves you.  All your sin is forgiven as Jesus the God-man goes and does a Good Friday! 


And what is Mary’s reaction to this incredible sermon?  “I am the Lord’s servant.  May it be to me as you have said.”  I.E.  I believe!  Gift given!  Gift received.  Amen!  She trusts the sermon!  For in it the Holy Spirit is at work as the Lord and Giver of life!  His Word does what it says.  Gives exactly what it promises.  Even in her womb!  Conceiving the eternal Son of God Jesus as a human – in the womb of the Virgin Mary.  So that in His conceived by the Holy Spirit human body, He as true God, can suffer, die, and rise from the tomb!  For you and for your salvation!  And then put His Holy Spirited Word of forgiveness in your ears so that you believingly confess like blessed Mary:  “May it be to me as you have said.” 


In the Name of Jesus.    



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