“The Christmas Miracle: Nothing Is Impossible With God!” | Luke 1:34-38 Bible Study

First shared on 12.14.22. First posted on 12.15.22. See the previous study on Luke 1:5-17 (“Get Ready For Christmas! Celebrate the Presence!”) and on Luke 1:26-33 (“Prophetic, Angelic Pregnancy Announcement”).

Introduction

Now, this time of year, many shows and movies and stories will feature a so-called “Christmas Miracle”.[1]

It seems like everything is going wrong for the main character. But then something suddenly happens that turns everything around —  just in time for the holiday.

Then the hero of the story is able to get into the so-called “Christmas spirit”, which the world will water down to mean vague qualities like cheer, gratitude, and peace… love, joy, and generosity.

Well, my brothers and sisters, those things sound nice, but the true “Christmas Spirit” is the Holy Spirit. And the true Christmas Miracle is the birth of Christ to a virgin.

So this holy day season, let’s always remember that Christmas begins with Christ – the Son of God.

And if we wonder how the Christmas Miracle can be possible; let’s remember that nothing is impossible with God (Lk 1:37; Gen 18:14)!

[1] https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/ChristmasMiracle

Context

Now, we’ve been studying Luke 1 for the last couple of lessons (see links above).

And, last week, we talked about the first part of Gabriel’s prophetic, angelic pregnancy announcement to Mary about Jesus. And we saw how this follows the prophetic, angelic pregnancy announcement to Zechariah about John.

In Luke 1:5-17, the angel Gabriel appears to Zechariah, John’s father, during the time of the incense offering in the Temple. He tells Him that His older, infertile wife, Elizabeth, would bear a son, who will be great in the sight of God, and a joy to the people. For he will bring about repentance, reconciliation, and godly wisdom as he gets the people ready for the Christ.

We discussed how John the Baptist was the prophesied Elijah-like prophet who was to come and prepare the way for the Lord – the Lord Jesus (Is 40:3; Lk 3:4; Mal 3:1, 4:5-6; Lk 7:27; Mt 11:13-14; Mt 17:10-13).

That said, though we can understand his skepticism (cf. Gen 15:8),1 starting at Luke 1:18, we see that Zechariah does not respond faithfully to words Gabriel speaks. Therefore, Gabriel says Zechariah won’t be able to speak any words until the baby is born. And, he’s likely made deaf, as well (cf. Lk 1:62).2

If Zechariah asked for some sort of miraculous sign as proof, he got it.3 After asking Gabriel, “how can I be sure of this?” (Lk 1:18), Zechariah is miraculously made mute.

Now, as a priest, he should know how, in the Old Testament, God blessed several, renowned childless couples with children (most notably Abraham and Sarah).4 Thus, Zechariah is punished for his lack of faith.5

Then, as we see in Luke 1:23-25, he returns home, his wife conceives, and then she remains in seclusion for five months. That is, she remains hidden until the time in her pregnancy where her baby bump would be obvious – and thus she would no longer feel shame for being childless.6

Then, as we saw last week, starting at Luke 1:26, it says:

26 Then, in the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee that was named Nazareth 27 to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, from the house of David, and the name of the virgin was Mary. (Lk 1:26-27, AT)

28 And he came to [/came in towards] her and said, “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.”

29 But she was greatly troubled by the statement, and was pondering what kind of greeting this might be. (Lk 1:28-29, AT)

30 Then the angel said to her, “Do not fear, Mary, for you have found favor with God.” 31 And, behold: you will conceive in your womb and give birth to a son, and you shall call His name Jesus. (Lk 1:30-31, AT)

32 He will be great, and will be called [the] Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give Him the throne of His forefather, David. 33 And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His Kingdom there will be no end. (Lk 1:32-33, AT)

Now, as we’ve said, there are many parallels between the pregnancy announcements for John the Baptist and Jesus theChrist. Yet, the former is the forerunner who prepares the way for Christ the King.7

John the Baptist’s birth was miraculous.8 But the birth of Jesus the Christ – the One greater than John – will be even greater and more miraculous.9

And, as we’ve discussed, the birth of John has several Old Testament parallels (Isaac, Samson, Samuel, etc.).10 But the birth of Jesus is in a class of its own.11 It differs from that of John not merely in degree, but in kind.12

And the Lord has preordained the parallel provenances13 of these two, extraordinary, unborn babies. There is divine intervention to bring about God’s divine intention14 – an everlasting Kingdom for His people.15

Now, pregnant mothers often tell others that they’re expecting a little angel. But in Luke 1, an angel unexpectedly tells a soon-to-be-pregnant mother what to expect.

During the “Annunciation”,16 the angel Gabriel proclaims a prophetic, angelic, pregnancy announcement.

The heavenly messenger gives Mary a message of majesty: King, Savior: Coming Soon!

This is the gender reveal of Jesus the Redeemer. And Mary’s not merely having a little prince – but the prophesied Prince of Peace (cf. Is 9:6), the promised Messiah from the line of David who will reign forever.

The Son of the Most High (Lk 1:32), the Son of God (Lk 1:35), the divine Son of Man (Dn 7:13-14; Mk 14:61-62): Jesus will come into the world humbly and human as a son of Mary.

And, though she is only a young girl who may barely be older than twelve, the Lord graciously chooses her – His humble servant – for this momentous mission. Her holy Baby will have humble beginnings – but His righteous rule will be neverending.

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12-14-22 Bible Study Slides Luke 1_34-38

Bibliography

  • Abbott, Edwin A. Johannine Grammar. London: Adam and Charles Black, 1906.
  • Aland, Barbara, Kurt Aland, Johannes Karavidopoulos, Carlo M. Martini, and Bruce M. Metzger, eds. The Greek New Testament. Fifth Revised Edition. Stuttgart, Germany: Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, 2014. [UBS5]
  • Arndt, William, Frederick W. Danker, Walter Bauer, and F. Wilbur Gingrich. A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000. [BDAG]
  • Balz, Horst Robert, and Gerhard Schneider. Exegetical Dictionary of the New Testament. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 1990–. [EDNT]
  • Black, David Alan. It’s Still Greek to Me: An Easy-to-Understand Guide to Intermediate Greek. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1998.
  • Brenton, Lancelot Charles Lee. The Septuagint Version of the Old Testament: English Translation. London: Samuel Bagster and Sons, 1870.
  • Burton, Ernest De Witt. Syntax of the Moods and Tenses in New Testament Greek. 3rd ed. Edinburg: T&T Clark, 1898.
  • Conybeare, F. C., and St. George Stock. Grammar of Septuagint Greek: With Selected Readings. Boston: Ginn and Company, 1905.
  • Elwell, Walter A., and Barry J. Beitzel. “Shekinah.” In Baker Encyclopedia of the Bible, 2:1943–44. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1988.
  • Evans, Craig A. The Bible Knowledge Background Commentary: Matthew–Luke. Edited by Craig A. Evans and Craig A. Bubeck. First Edition. Colorado Springs, CO: David C Cook, 2003.
  • Evans, Craig A. Luke. Understanding the Bible Commentary Series. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1990. [UBC]
  • Green, Joel B. The Gospel of Luke. The New International Commentary on the New Testament. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1997.
  • Kidner, F. Derek. “Isaiah.” In New Bible Commentary: 21st Century Edition, edited by D. A. Carson, R. T. France, J. A. Motyer, and G. J. Wenham, 4th ed., 629–70. Leicester, England; Downers Grove, IL: Inter-Varsity Press, 1994.
  • The Lexham Analytical Lexicon of the Septuagint. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2012. [LALS]
  • Liefeld, Walter L., and David W. Pao. “Luke.” In The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Luke–Acts (Revised Edition), edited by Tremper Longman III and David E. Garland, Vol. 10. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2007. [LP]
  • Long, Fredrick J. Kairos: A Beginning Greek Grammar. Mishawaka, IN: Fredrick J. Long, 2005.
  • Louw, Johannes P., and Eugene Albert Nida. Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament: Based on Semantic Domains. New York: United Bible Societies, 1996. [LN]
  • Marshall, I. Howard. “Luke.” In New Bible Commentary: 21st Century Edition, edited by D. A. Carson, R. T. France, J. A. Motyer, and G. J. Wenham, 4th ed., 978–1020. Leicester, England; Downers Grove, IL: Inter-Varsity Press, 1994. [NBC]
  • Morris, Leon. Luke: An Introduction and Commentary. Vol. 3. Tyndale New Testament Commentaries. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1988.
  • Pietersma, Albert, and Benjamin G. Wright, eds. A New English Translation of the Septuagint (Primary Texts). New York; Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007.
  • Porter, Stanley E. Idioms of the Greek New Testament. Sheffield: JSOT, 1999.
  • Reiling, J., and J. L. Swellengrebel. A Handbook on the Gospel of Luke. UBS Handbook Series. New York: United Bible Societies, 1993. [UBS]
  • Robertson, A. T. A Grammar of the Greek New Testament in the Light of Historical Research. Logos Bible Software, 2006.
  • Schreiner, Thomas R. “Luke”. In The Baker Illustrated Bible Commentary. Edited by Gary M. Burge, and Andrew E. Hill, eds. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2012.
  • Silva, MoisÈs, ed. New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology and Exegesis. Vol. 1–5. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2014. [NIDNTTE]
  • Smyth, Herbert Weir. A Greek Grammar for Colleges. New York; Cincinnati; Chicago; Boston; Atlanta: American Book Company, 1920.
  • Stewart, R. A. “Shekinah.” In New Bible Dictionary, edited by D. R. W. Wood, I. H. Marshall, A. R. Millard, J. I. Packer, and D. J. Wiseman. Leicester, England; Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1996.
  • Strauss, Mark. “Luke”. In Zondervan Illustrated Bible Backgrounds Commentary: Matthew, Mark, Luke. Vol. 1. Edited by Clinton E. Arnold. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2002.
  • Stein, Robert H. Luke. Vol. 24. The New American Commentary. Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1992.
  • Swete, Henry Barclay. The Old Testament in Greek: According to the Septuagint. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1909. [LXX Swete]
  • Trites, Allison A. “Luke”. In Cornerstone Biblical Commentary, Vol 12: The Gospel of Luke and Acts. Allison A. Trites and William J. Larkin. Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 2006.
  • Wallace, Daniel B. Greek Grammar beyond the Basics: An Exegetical Syntax of the New Testament. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1996.
  • Wenham, Gordon J. “Genesis.” In New Bible Commentary: 21st Century Edition, edited by D. A. Carson, R. T. France, J. A. Motyer, and G. J. Wenham, 4th ed., 54–91. Leicester, England; Downers Grove, IL: Inter-Varsity Press, 1994.
  • Wilcock, Michael. The Savior of the World: The Message of Luke’s Gospel. The Bible Speaks Today. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1979.
  • Zerwick, Max. Biblical Greek Illustrated by Examples. English ed., adapted from the fourth Latin ed. Vol. 114. Scripta Pontificii Instituti Biblici. Rome: Pontificio Istituto Biblico, 1963.

Sources

  1. NBC, 981; UBNT, 24
  2. UBNT, 24
  3. UBNT, 24; Trites, 43
  4. Schreiner, 1061
  5. Schreiner, 1062; UBNT, 24
  6. NBC, 982; Trites, 40
  7. UBNT, 25; Trites, 43; Stein, 87
  8. Stein, 84
  9. Stein, 84, 87
  10. Stein, 87
  11. Stein, 87
  12. Stein, 87
  13. Green, 83
  14. Green, 83
  15. Green, 83
  16. Trites, 42; Green, 82
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