The Greatest Announcement Ever! (Luke 1:26-33)

The Greatest Announcement, Ever!

Luke 1:26-33  Pre-Christmas 2021

There have been some rocking announcements that have shaped your life–some announcements that have even altered the direction of our country, and a few announcements that have changed the world. No one here remembers the newspaper extras of November 11, 1918 that heralded the end of World War I. You have to be 90-plus to recall the dramatic and exhilarating headlines of May 1927 that said Charles Lindbergh had officially completed his daring attempt to be the first aviator to fly solo across the Atlantic.

Some can remember the somber news of December 7, 1941–the surprise bombing of Pearl Harbor and the American entrance into World War II. A few more will remember what they were doing on November 22, 1963 when they first heard the shocking news that President John F. Kennedy had died from gunshots. Sci-fi fans here will never forget May 25, 1977, when the movie Star Wars premiered. Not enough of you know September 29, 1980–that was the date when Jean Sharpe said, “Yes” to her first and only marriage proposal. Or January 28, 1986, when the entire crew of the space shuttle Challenger died when the craft exploded shortly after liftoff.

Most of you remember the world-changing event when Muslim terrorists hijacked jet airliners and flew them into the Twin Towers and the Pentagon on September 11, 2001. As staggering as those announcements were, they are inconsequential, even unforgettable, when compared to the startling announcement of the birth of Jesus Christ, which was first proclaimed in Luke 1 by an incredible angel named Gabriel.

Turn in your Bibles this Christmas season to Luke chapter 1 and hear it for yourselves. Gabriel explicitly exalts God’s person, God’s character, His wisdom, grace and His amazing salvation. This is not merely an announcement of a virgin birth, but an announcement of the only way to be forgiven–the only way to be right with God, the only way to avoid eternal Hell, and the only way to enjoy eternal Heaven. See in your Bibles Luke 1:26 to 33, follow along with your outline, and read aloud with me from your outline this familiar but profoundly powerful, greatest of all announcements.

Verse 26, “Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city in Galilee called Nazareth, 27to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the descendants of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. 28And coming in, he said to her, ‘Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.’ 29But she was very perplexed at this statement, and kept pondering what kind of salutation this was. 30The angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary; for you have found favor with God. 31And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus. 32He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David; 33and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and His kingdom will have no end.’”

The angel Gabriel is promising that God is coming to the world. Now if you’ve read your Bible at all, you’d know that this is not the first time this was promised. Thousands of years before the birth of Christ, God told us He was coming and it is recorded in the Bible in the Old Testament Scriptures. The 39 books of the Old Testament were already collected and they were translated from Hebrew to Greek 200 years before the birth of Christ. So these predictions are legit.

There are over 350 promises in the Old Testament of the coming of Christ, like Isaiah 7:14, “Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel.” And Isaiah 9:6, “For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; and the government will rest on His shoulders; and His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. 7There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness from then on and forevermore.”

Daniel 7:13 and 14, “And behold, with the clouds of heaven One like a Son of Man was coming, and He came up to the Ancient of Days and was presented before Him. 14And to Him was given dominion, glory and a kingdom, that all the peoples, nations and men of every language might serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion which will not pass away; and His kingdom is one which will not be destroyed.” And Micah 5:2, “But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel. His goings forth are from long ago, from the days of eternity.”

Over 350 times, God declared in the Old Testament Scriptures that Christ was coming. Gabriel’s prediction is not new. But Gabriel’s announcement is now imminent. God in the flesh, God born as a man would do what no man or no religion could do–provide forgiveness from sin, which separates every person from God. God made it clear He will provide salvation sufficient to rescue a doomed humanity.

This is the big difference between Christianity and every other religion. Every religion on Earth and every religion designed in your heart teaches the necessity of human achievement–that you must do good or live religious in order to accomplish salvation, in order to work your way to God and secure a place for yourself in Heaven. But the Christianity taught in the Bible, the true faith which springs from the pages of Scripture, teaches the opposite. The Bible teaches you will never be good enough, religious enough, nice enough for God to accept you and bring you into His presence.

But the faith taught in the Bible says God loved His children enough to actually do the work for them. And that required that God Himself be born as man, live a perfect life and then die for your sins as your substitute, rise from the dead, and live to provide you with the only way of salvation. God started that process with the birth of His Son, which is being announced in these verses. But this was God’s plan, even before the creation of the world.

So now with unmistakable simplicity, God announces that all the Old Testament promises are now about to be fulfilled in these verses through the virgin birth of Jesus Christ. These verses break down into several key points in order to understand God’s single intended meaning through Luke. And remarkably, they all begin with the letter M.


Verse 26, “Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city in Galilee called Nazareth.” This is an amazing verse. Do you know why? There has not been a direct message, no Scripture recorded, no prophet spoke, no angelic visitation, no miracle performed, and no revelation from God for four hundred years. The last Old Testament book, Malachi, was written and closed the Old Testament–then nothing for four centuries.

So now with verse 26, there have been two messages given by a holy angel on Earth within six months of each other. The first was to the parents of John the Baptist–the priest Zacharias and his barren wife Elizabeth with the news about the coming birth of their son, John the Baptist. And now this verse 26, the angel Gabriel, God’s supreme messenger–who is a part of the race of beings we know from Scripture called angels. These holy angels are sinless creatures, who serve God in unique ways.

Angels are mentioned twenty-three times in Luke, but only two are ever named in Scripture. Michael the super angel who is usually given tasks requiring power and strength, and here Gabriel who is God’s chief announcer, the giver of great, glorious and grave messages from Heaven to Earth, from God to humankind.

In verse 19 of Luke 1, Gabriel said “I am Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to bring you this good news.” So this amazing being, a high ranking angel of God, comes down out of heaven to a small, out-of-the-way Galilean town named Nazareth. Only a few thousand people, an obscure, off the trade routes, sitting above the valley of Megiddo, town is the place Christ would be born and grow up. Nazareth was mocked by Israelites for being a hick town, and for having a large population of Gentiles who lived among the Jews there.

Almost as if God were foretelling that Christ has come for all who are insignificant in the eyes of the world, yet loved and treasured by their Savior and Creator. And it’s almost as if God is declaring, “I didn’t send my Son only to the Jews who’d believe, but also become the Savior of believers from every tribe, every tongue, and every nation.”

#2  MARY

In just a moment, I want to ask some people to stand and remain standing for about 10 seconds. So when I ask you, please do not hesitate and do know I will have you stand for 10 seconds only. This is so important. Will all the high school and junior high school age young men and women stand for just a moment. Take a look, friends–that is the age of Mary and Joseph when she was visited by the angel Gabriel.

Now read Verse 27, “to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the descendants of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary.” Here is God’s choice–this would be the mother of Jesus, the one who would birth God the Son. In verse 27, she’s identified as a young woman who is in the line of King David. She is still a virgin who is engaged to be married to Joseph. She could have been a queen, a powerful ruler, a princess, a daughter of someone influential or wealthy–she could have been a woman of renown. But like God’s choice of the city of Nazareth, Mary is obscure, normal, unknown, even poor.

Her name Mary, meaning exalted one–and Luke reminds us she is a virgin, she’s had no sexual relations. The Greek term virgin is never used to describe a married woman, so we can be certain Mary was truly a virgin, especially because we know that the normal practice of engagement in Israel in the first century and according to Roman law at the time meant that young girls about the age of 12 to 13 (about the age when puberty sets in) were engaged for about a year, then were married at the end of that period. This was the practice of that early culture to ensure that adolescent girls maintained their virginity until marriage.

God sovereignly chose an unknown, unassuming young woman named Mary, from an obscure village called Nazareth, to be the mother of Jesus just to make a point. God’s plans, God’s purposes, God’s wisdom, and Gods’ choices do not conform to our ideas, our preferences, or our selections. His ways are not your ways. And Mary is about to find out just what God has in mind for her life.


We know the messenger, and we now know a little about Mary, but what is the content of the message that Gabriel brings from God? It is a message of blessing in verses 28 to 30. “And coming in, he said to her, ‘Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.’ 29But she was very perplexed at this statement, and kept pondering what kind of salutation this was. 30The angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary; for you have found favor with God.’”

As Luke writes this in his gospel under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, he keeps it simple. Gabriel appears to Mary, who apparently is alone–some say she’s cooking food (which would put her in a solo spot alone) and Gabriel keeps it real low key and not over the top, with no fanfare, no intense drama, no lightning or thundering voice. In order for Gabriel to not shock or frighten this young gal, Gabriel says, “Hello”—verse 28, “Greetings.”

The Greek word for greetings, which is hail or rejoice, is a simple, “Hello, Mary.” Gabriel keeps his appearance and message understated so as to not cause Mary any panic. So in a calm, reassuring, human-style voice, Gabriel announces himself to Mary. What’s the mighty angel say? He said to her, “Greetings, favored one!”

For all you ex-Catholics, let me clarify the translation of favored one. “Favored one” is correct. For hundreds of years, Catholic theologians and commentators intentionally and errantly translated this phrase from the Latin vulgate, “Hail Mary, full of grace.” No! This is where all the “Hail Mary”s come from–this phrase. But the intention of this text is not to communicate Mary as one who is full of grace, or ever as one who dispenses grace. No, a thousand times no! Luke’s intended meaning here is this Mary, who is receiving God’s grace, highly favored one–the Lord is with you. Luke is saying, ”You, Mary, have found favor with God. You are being graced.”

John MacArthur says, “These words are not praising Mary for her inherently virtuous, godly or worthy character, but Gabriel’s message to her simply says that God has freely chosen to give grace to Mary and that is what made her favored and blessed.” Gabriel had to use this expression because before God, Mary was unworthy in her own strength and in her own character. She, Mary, is a sinner just like you and just like me–and sinners need God’s grace. Later, in verse 47 Mary calls God “My Savior”—and only sinners call God a Savior. And sinners need a Savior and they each need God’s grace to make that happen.

Mary didn’t respond with pride or smug self-satisfaction, as if she were sinless. But instead, she responded in humility and perplexity. Verse 29, “But she was very perplexed at this statement, and kept pondering what kind of salutation this was.” Perplexed is a state of mind that is disturbed, confused and questioning. She responds that way because she is a sinner in need of a Savior. Mary knew what all believing people know–that she needed a Savior. Whenever anyone considers being judged by God face-to-face, everyone admits they are a sinner.

Everyone knows they fall short of God’s perfection. Everyone knows they have violated God’s law. You have lied, lusted, looted, and lipped off. You have hated, hurt, harmed and hassled. You have broken most, if not all of the ten commandments. You have failed to love, to give, to sacrifice, to care for the hurting more times than you will admit. You are a sinner and you need God to be gracious to you, and I need God to be gracious to me.

So Mary is thinking, “Why would God ever want to choose me, an unworthy sinner, to be the recipient of His amazing grace? Why would the Lord single me out for such a special privilege?” Nothing on Earth could prepare Mary for this staggering announcement. So here she is, perplexed and pondering, but also afraid. Angels are awesome creatures–and though Gabriel is subdued in his words, his very presence is beyond words. Most often in Scripture, when someone sees an angel, they try to worship them, because they are such glorious creatures. And of course, every holy angel immediately corrects those who fall down before them, reminding them only God should be worshiped.

But Mary’s fear is met with verse 30, read there, “The angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary; for you have found favor with God.” God is not coming to you in judgment, Mary–there is nothing for you to fear. No, I am coming to you in God’s good pleasure, by His sovereign choice, by God’s glorious giving, unearned, like a gift for free, grace. Mary responded later in verses 46 to 49–not as the blesser, but as the one who was blessed.

Did you know this very blessing, this same grace, this kind of giving is also available to you? God also stands ready to be gracious to all who are under the judgment of sin if you hate your sin and desire His forgiveness. But that blessing will come only through . . .


Gabriel reveals the biggest announcement given. God will become a man and it will start with you, Mary, giving birth to the God-man as a baby. Read verses 31 to 33, “’And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus. 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 father David; 33 and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and His kingdom will have no end.’”

Mary is going to be the virgin mother of the divine child Jesus, the King, the Lord, the Redeemer, the second person of the Trinity. I’m not certain how much the announcement of God’s gracious favor chocked Mary, but I am certain that the announcement of Mary giving birth as a virgin to the God-man did rock her heart and mind. How could it not? How in the world will she conceive God’s own son in her womb?

Mary knew only one way to conceive and that was to have sexual relations with a man. But she had never had a marital relationship, a fact she confirmed with verse 34. “Mary said to the angel, ‘How can this be, since I am a virgin?’” Mary is affirming she is still a virgin and humanly she knows no young woman can have a child without the involvement of a man.

But Mary is not left to speculate how this will happen. Gabriel declares in verses 35 to 37, “The angel answered and said to her, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy Child shall be called the Son of God. 36And behold, even your relative Elizabeth has also conceived a son in her old age; and she who was called barren is now in her sixth month. 37For nothing will be impossible with God.’”

Just like Isaiah 7:14 prophesied, “Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel.” God with us. Jesus will be born of a virgin to be both God and man in one person, without confusion, making Him able to satisfy God’s requirement of the perfect sacrifice. As God and also able to be fully human so as to be our substitute, dying for sin in our place. Then what did Jesus come to do?


Verse 31, “’And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus.’” The name Jesus means Jehovah saves–the one true God is a saving God. At His birth, Luke 2:11 says, “For today in the city of David, there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” This is the second person of the Trinity who was born as a man in order to seek and to save that which is lost. Verse 31 adds, not only is Jesus the Savior, but he is great. Verse 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 father David.”

Great is so overused today. We have great problems, great candy bars, great socks–but this great is beyond splendid, magnificent, eminent. This great is not something Christ has done. Great is what Christ intrinsically is in every way. Jesus manifests and magnifies greatness for all to see. He is the glorious character of God. You see God in every picture of Christ. Christ will talk like God, act like God, think like God, perform miracles only God can do, teach truth like God and respond with a love, goodness, wisdom and omniscience that only God could possess.

In the wisdom of the Triune God, it was the predetermined plan from eternity past for the second person of the Trinity to be the person who reveals God to humanity and to accomplish salvation for His chosen humanity. And this mission begins with the birth of Jesus Christ showing us . . .


Gabriel, the angel, continues in verse 32, “He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High.” Most High or highest is a familiar title for God–there is no one higher than Christ. In culture, when Japanese businessmen meet each other, they exchange business cards, then quickly look at the card and the one who has less credentials, less responsibility, less authority, less income–that man bows lower than the man who is on the upper end of the exchange. And the other, who is of higher rank, does not bow as low.

Friends, there is no need to exchange cards–each of you here and the most powerful on Earth, the richest who have ever lived, will bow lower, actually face down before Christ. Jesus Christ is the Most High. Mary knew the title, “Highest”, because it’s used through the Old Testament. The term is actually used by Luke elsewhere as El Elyon–God Most High, describing God’s sovereignty, power, and glory, establishing Christ as the one who is the highest. No one is higher than Christ. No one is more exalted than Jesus. No one is more powerful than Christ.

And calling Christ the Most High means Jesus shares the same essence as the one true God–Jesus is equally God with the Father and the Spirit. So much so, Jesus said in John 14:9, “’He who has seen Me has seen the Father.’” Or in John 10:30, “’I and My Father are one.’” Gabriel announced, and the New Testament confirms, that Jesus was and is matchless, because He is the Savior, the second person of the Trinity and the Son of God who will be born of the virgin Mary as a baby on Christmas morning. But to what purpose?


Christ was born a baby, knew He was God by the age of 12, lived a totally perfect life–then taught, discipled and ministered for three and half years. Then He finally offered Himself to die for the sins of His children on the cross, rise from the dead and ascend into Heaven. He now lives as the only one who can take the punishment for your sin as 100% God. He was the only perfect offering God could accept, and as 100% human, He could substitute Himself for His chosen children, to take the death sin demanded, and take the eternal punishment we deserved forever in Hell, taking that upon Himself on the cross.

When you surrender to Christ in genuine salvation, everyone of your sins is punished on Christ on the cross and His perfect righteousness covers you completely, so that you can stand in God’s presence perfectly in Heaven forever. Not because you are perfect, but because you were made perfect by Christ’s righteousness. But that is not the finish of your salvation–no, Christ is coming back. He will return, no longer veiled in His human flesh. No longer looking just like a regular person, but now unveiled in all His glory, the Most High, to conquer, judge and rule this planet.

Verse 32b and 33, “and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David; 33and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and His kingdom will have no end.” When people say to you, “Jesus, He’s cool. Yeah, I like Jesus,” like the Doobie Brothers—”Jesus is just alright with me,” affirming Christ in some manner, but not submitting to Him as Savior. After today, you say to them, “No, Jesus is not a nice guy–He is the God you have to answer to. He is the Lord you will submit to. He rules this universe. He rules your life. And if you don’t repent and turn from your sinful ways, He will be the one who judges you, condemns you and casts you for all eternity into Hell, where you will suffer for all eternity because of your sinful rebellion to His rule. Merry Christmas!”

Gabriel affirms, Christ will reign forever in His eternal Kingdom–and only those who submit to His rule will reign with Him. Gabriel tells Mary that her soon-to-be Holy Spirit-conceived newborn baby will actually rule this planet, just like He promised. The King of all kings, the Lord above all lords, the promised Messiah from the line of David, the everlasting, eternal God in the flesh Jesus Christ.


A  ALONE: Only Christ ALONE can forgive you of your SINS

God is perfect and you are not. God is holy and you are sinful. God is righteous and you are unrighteous. The human race has rebelled against God’s perfect will for our lives and we have fallen short of His perfect character. The Bible calls this sin and the punishment for sin is death. Physical death and eternal death are not annihilation, but eternal torment in Hell. You can’t undo what you have done, you can’t start living better nor make up for what you have done. You are lost, blind, condemned and bound for torment. Unless a perfect man dies in your place, unless God Himself is satisfied by a perfect sacrifice–and that is what Jesus accomplished.

If you surrender to Christ, exchange all that you are for all that He is, by faith depend on His sacrifice on your behalf, and through repentance turn from your sin, your sin can be forgiven and His perfect righteousness can cover you, giving you the only outfit acceptable in God’s presence, now and forever wearing Christ’s perfect righteousness. You have to be perfect to make it to Heaven, and only Christ can cover you with His righteousness.

B  BOTH: Eternal LOVE and Eternal JUDGMENT are found in Christ

There is both compassion from Christ and there is condemnation from Christ. How can God be unjust, when He Himself provided the sacrificial suffering and death needed for you to become right with Him. Christ paid the ultimate price for those who choose to rebel against Him. Today, the responsibility lies with you, whether you submit to His eternal love and live with Him now and forever in Heaven in perfect bliss.

Or, you reject His sacrifice and continue to live in rebellion to Christ, your way and not His way. And as a result, be justly condemned by Christ forever in Hell in torture. The apostle John put it so simply in John 3:36, “He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”

C  COME: to Christ, by crying out for a NEW HEART

Like Joshua called the Israelites to choose between the false gods of the Canaanites and the one true God in Joshua 24:15b, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” Like Elijah shamed the nation with a similar challenge in 1 Kings 18:21, “Elijah came near to all the people and said, ‘How long will you hesitate between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him.’”

Come to Christ, our great Creator and Redeemer, Jesus Christ says to you in His greatest sermon in Matthew 7:13 and 14, “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. 14For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.”

Jesus says to you, there are many false, easy ways–broad ways making you think you are right with God. But there is only one narrow way, more difficult way, that leads to life abundant–life now and eternal life forever. And that is through Jesus Christ alone. As Jesus said in John 14:6, “Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.’”

Come to Christ today–your family and friends have been praying for you! Why do you hesitate? Do not delay. Do not turn away from Christ. Let today be the day of forgiveness, new life, with a new heart and eternal life forever. Let’s pray.

About Chris Mueller

Chris is the teaching pastor at Faith Bible Church - Murrieta.

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