Sermon: “The Virgin Shall Conceive” (Luke 1:26–38)
Our sinful, human ideas about power and glory distort our outlook on everything in life. Because we habitually look on the outward appearances rather than at the Lord’s spiritual evaluation, our opinions are notoriously unreliable. So, we judge wrongly, calling good what God declares to be evil, and evil what God declares to be good. Also, we tremble before human power, but we treat lightly the awesome power of God himself. Finally, we reverence what is external and ceremonial, but we disdain the glory of God revealed in what is humble, simple, and unadorned. Our perspectives are thoroughly mixed-up, upside-down, backwards, and wrong.
To counteract our foolishness, it pleases God to reveal himself in ways that overturn our assumptions. Nowhere is this clearer than at the cross of Jesus Christ, where God reveals his mighty power unto salvation through what is weak, foolish, and despised in the world (Rom. 1:16; 1 Cor. 1:18–24). By this, God not only demonstrates that his foolishness is wiser than our wisdom, and his weakness is stronger than our strength, but he brings the wisdom and power of this world to shame so that no one may boast in his presence (1 Cor. 1:25, 27–29). The cross, however, does not represent a deviation from the normal course of Jesus’ ministry. Indeed, God upends human expectations throughout the life and ministry of Jesus, beginning with the annunciation of Jesus’ conception in Luke 1:26–38. Here, we see that God reveals his glory in the humiliation of his Son and in the faith of the humble.