What Love Is

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Turn with me in your Bibles to …

Luke 1:26-29 And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, 27 to a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. 28 And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. 29 And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be.

What does love look like? Everyone wants love. The bulk of most songs we hear deal with love, and relationships. Years ago when I was young, one of the groups I listened to called Foreigner did a song entitled “I Want To Know What Love Is”. In the chorus of that song the group said:

I want to know what love is, I want you to show me
I want to feel what love is, I know you can show me

There is Someone Who can show us what love is. We all need love, and need to love. We see what love is in the true story of our Lord Jesus Christ’s birth. Let’s look at this recounting one more time.

Luke 1:26-29 And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, 27 to a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary.

Love Fulfills It’s Promises

Every word is important in the Bible. We start out with “in the sixth month”. The “sixth month” is very important. In order for Christ to come, before He came His prophesied Herald would have to come. 700 years before this moment the Prophet said that the Herald would come:

Isaiah 40:3-5 The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. 4 Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain: 5 and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.

The King of Kings, God Almighty, will write Himself into humanity. But the King must have a Herald. The Prophet Malachi also saw the Herald:

Malachi 3:1 Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the Lord of hosts.

Six months prior to this moment, the Angel Gabriel comes to Zacharias and Elisabeth, and tells them that they will have this Herald. The same Gabriel now comes to Mary 6 months later to bring her good news. God’s Plans cannot be thwarted.

Isaiah 14:27 For the Lord of hosts has purposed, and who shall {stop} it? And His hand is stretched out, and who shall turn it back.

God so loved the world that He gave His Only Begotten Son” (John 3:16). This Son was “foreordained before the foundation of the world” (1 Peter 1:20) to come and dwell among us. The Apostle said:

Galatians 4:3-5 Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world: 4 but when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, 5 to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.

Love Reaches Out To The Lowly

The time for the sending of God’s Son had come. It was six months after Elisabeth became pregnant with John the Baptist. Gabriel did not go to Jerusalem, the Holy City. He did not go to a well known place, or a powerful place. When God came into the world, He would come “unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth”. Nazareth is not even mentioned in the Old Testament. Bethlehem is mentioned as the birthplace of the Messiah. But not Nazareth. “Can anything good come from Nazareth?” is a question often on the lips of people (John 1:46). Nazareth was perhaps the least of all the towns in Israel. And yet, God sent Gabriel to Nazareth. Not to New York City. Not to New Jersey. To Nazareth. A humble place. The angel comes to a young virgin named Mary, engaged to an unknown carpenter working in Nazareth.

Luke 1:27-29 … the virgin’s name was Mary. 28 And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. 29 And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be.

I find this very interesting. The Angel Gabriel tells Mary that she is highly favored. This is the Greek χαριτόω charitóō, {pronounced khar-ee-to’-o}, which means “to be given special honor”. The Lord God was going to bestow a special honor upon Mary. Blessed art thou among women. Mary would be given the greatest honor that a woman ever had. What I find most interesting is that Mary is not shocked at the Angel’s appearance. We are told, Mary was troubled AT HIS SAYING. She was not troubled at his appearance, but with what he said. Why was this? Because Mary was a believer, a person well acquainted with our Heavenly Father. What was it that her Father wanted her to do? The Angel continues:

Luke 1:30 And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found FAVOR with God.

Word Study The word translated FAVOR is the Greek χάρις cháris, {pronounced khar’-ece}. Mary had found GRACE. Grace is unmerited favor from God. Mary was saved by Grace, and it is Grace that now chooses her to be the vessel by which the Savior will come.

What is Nazareth to the world? Nothing!
Who is Mary to the world? Nobody!
Love Reaches Out To All!

When Jesus came, when …

John 1:14 … the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

Grace is Heaven’s coin. Grace is God’s way. Mary loved the Lord. She was saved by Grace, and love Him by Grace. Now God in His Grace decides Mary would be the vessel by which He would “become flesh”. When we love God, and follow Him by Grace, He will call on us to show our love. The Angel tells Mary:

Luke 1:31-33 And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. 32 He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: 33 and he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.

Mary is told “you shall conceive in your womb”. This is something Mary her self cannot do. No woman can “concieve in her womb”. She must have the donation of a man in order to conceive – that’s basic biology. But this child is different from any other child ever born. This child is JESUS. His name means “Yahweh our Savior”. Jesus’ birth is the fulfillment of the promise God made in the Garden of Eden. He told the serpent, that old devil:

Genesis 3:15 … I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.

The “seed of the woman”, the Messiah, would come from a virgin birth. Jesus would “become flesh and dwell among us” (John 1:14) through the supernatural birth of Jesus. As the Prophet said:

Isaiah 7:14 … the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. (meaning, God with us).

Jesus is “the Son of the Highest”. He is God the Son become flesh. The Angel says, “the Lord God shall give Him the Throne of His father David”. Jesus is from the lineage of King Davids. He is the fulfillment of the promise that God made to David,

1 Chronicles 17:11-14 it shall come to pass, when thy {O David} days be expired that thou must go to be with thy fathers, that I will raise up thy seed after thee, which shall be of thy sons; and I will establish his kingdom. 12 He shall build me an house, and I will stablish his throne for ever. 13 I will be his father, and he shall be my son: and I will not take my mercy away from him, as I took it from him that was before thee: 14 but I will settle him in mine house and in my kingdom for ever: and his throne shall be established for evermore.

The Child that Mary would bear would be the fulfillment of the Davidic Covenant! Jesus is “the Son of the Highests .. and of His Kingdom there shall be no end”. What a wonderful blessed truth this is. The King of Kings and Lord of Lords would enter humanity. He would enter through a lowly virgin, and be raised in a lowly place.

Mary does not doubt God, but she is curious. Again, I find this amazing. When Gabriel came to Zacharias, the father of John the Baptist, the Bible says:

Luke 1:12-13 … when Zacharias saw him, he was troubled, and fear fell upon him. 13 But the angel said unto him, Fear not, Zacharias…

Mary, on the other hand, is excited but curious. She asks a good question.

Love Does The Impossible

Luke 1:34 … How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?

Mary knows her basic biology! She has never been intimate with any man, but is chaste, awaiting the consummation of her marriage. How can a virgin have a Child such as Jesus? The Angel tells her:

Luke 1:35-37 … The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. 36 And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren. 37 For with God nothing shall be impossible.

Among humanity, it is not possible for a woman to have a child without the seed of man. But God the Holy Spirit would bring a miracle in Mary. She would experience the power of God, for with God, nothing is impossible.

I want you to think about this. You are a young girl, perhaps just a teenager, who will soon be pregnant. You are not growing up in a permissive and liberal society like America. You are growing up in ancient Israel, under the harsh laws of the Torah. A young woman, pregnant, and without a husband, would certainly be ostracized. Mary’s family would probably disown her. Joseph would probably divorce her. She might have been run out of town. Yet her words were simply:

Luke 1:38 And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.

Mary does not know how God will do what He will do. She doesn’t know what is to come. But she trusts God, and is willing to be the “handmaid of the Lord”.

Mary does not doubt the Lord, but knows that her elderly cousin Elisabeth – well advanced in years – is with child. Elisabeth is carrying the Herald, and Mary the Son of God. So she doesn’t hesitate – she goes to Elisabeth’s home to help her out. I remember when Sherry was 6 months pregnant, and how hard it was for her to do the simplest of things. I had to help her. Mary goes to help Elisabeth.

Luke 1:39-45 Mary arose in those days, and went into the hill country with haste, into a city of Juda; 40 and entered into the house of Zacharias, and saluted Elisabeth. 41 And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost: 42 and she spake out with a loud voice, and said, Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. 43 And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44 For, lo, as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in mine ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy. 45 And blessed is she that believed: for there shall be a performance of those things which were told her from the Lord.

There is no indication in the Scripture that anyone – even the Angel Gabriel – told Elisabeth that Mary would be bearing the Messiah. The Angel has just told Mary about it. So Mary goes to Elisabeth’s home, and as soon as Mary enters the home, Elisabeth knows that Mary is carrying the Messiah. To those who tell me the Fetus is no life until it is born, I love to point out this text. The Fetus in Mary would have been in the earliest stages of development, and yet it was the Lord Jesus. And the baby John, still in his mother’s womb, jumped for joy at the presence of Mary and Jesus. The baby John jumped for joy, according to Elisabeth. Life is precious in the womb. Life is precious, even if still in the embryo stage, as Jesus no doubt was.

Love Is Not Self Centered, But God Centered

Mary has been told by the Angel Gabriel that she has been given exceptional favor from God. Mary now hears her cousin Elisabeth acknowledge her special place in God’s Plan. But Mary does not go all egotistical on us. She does not become puffed up with pride.

Mary praises God! She says:

Luke 1:46-47 … my soul doth magnify the Lord, 47 and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Savior.

Mary does not boast on what she has. She boasts on God. There are some who believe that Mary had some special construction that made her sinless. Yet this is not true. The Bible says:

Romans 3:23 … all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

The Bible says that, compared to God,

Isaiah 64:6 … we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.

Mary knows that she is a sinner saved by Grace. She magnifies God. She says “my spirit hath rejoiced IN GOD MY SAVIOR”. If Mary were sinless, she would not require a savior. But she needs a Savior, as do we all. Since the Bible says:

Romans 5:12 … by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:

Oh Beloved, “By MAN came DEATH” (1 Corinthians 15:21). So God now bypasses Man, fallen Man, and creates in Mary a sinless Man named Jesus. This child Mary would bear …

Hebrews 4:15 … was in all points tempted like as we are, yet WITHOUT SIN

This Child that Mary would bear will grow up to be the Sin Bearer. Because God loves us, He sent Jesus. The Bible says:

Hebrews 9:27-28 And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: 28 so Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.

No, Mary was not sinless. She was a believer, one who looked unto God for salvation. Her Son will be the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world. Mary does not magnify herself, but magnifies God.

Luke 1:48-50 For {God} hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden: for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed. 49 For he that is mighty hath done to me great things; and holy is his name. 50 And his mercy is on them that fear him from generation to generation.

Mary speaks of her “low estate”, the Greek ταπείνωσις tapeínōsis, {pronounced tap-i’-no-sis}, which means “pitiful” or “vile”. The Apostle Paul used the same word when he spoke of the future resurrection of the saints, saying:

Philippians 3:21 {God} shall change our VILE {tapeínōsis} body, that it may be fashioned like unto His {Jesus’} glorious body …

Mary is not puffed up with what God has promised to her. She humbles herself before God, showing us that God chose the right vessel for the Christ’s birth. Our bodies are indeed VILE. But God in love will one day raise up His Children, and then we shall be VILE no more. Mary shows us the strength of humility. She is surrendered to the Lord, willing to do whatever God would require of her.

Oh Beloved, what a wonderful thing it is to surrender to the Love of God. The Apostle said that the secret of joy in this life is the surrendered life.

2 Corinthians 12:10 … when I am WEAK, then am I STRONG

God will do great things with us if we would but humble ourselves before Him.

God does not save a man standing up.
God saves a man kneeling.
God empowers a man willing.

God was able to do the impossible with Mary because she was willing and surrendered. God will do the impossible with anyone who is willing and surendered.

Dr. W.A. Criswell once said, “The Christian faith addresses itself to the need for regeneration—for the forgiveness of sins; for a new life, a new heart; a new way, a new day.” What God is doing in Mary is a new thing. What God will do in you is a new thing, if you will but turn to Him. Mary continues her beautiful prayer:

Luke 1:51-53 {God} hath shewed strength with his arm; he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. 52 He hath put down the mighty from their seats, and exalted them of low degree. 53 He hath filled the hungry with good things; and the rich he hath sent empty away.

To those who are self-sufficient, proud, mighty, or arrogantly rich in the things of this world, God has nothing for you. God scatters the proud in the imagination of their hearts. God puts down the mighty from their seats. But if you are lowly, humble, willing, God will bless you. What does God say?

John 7:37 … If any {one} thirsts, let him come to Me and drink

Revelation 22:17 the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.

To those who are thirsty, if you come to the Lord, He will quench your thirst. As Mary did, make yourself available to God even when what He asks doesn’t make sense. Like Peter’s boat filled with fish, sink in your own esteem as God blesses you. Be like the Baptist who said “He must increase but I must decrease” (John 3:30). The river called Pride has drowned more Christians than any other body of water. Put your pride away and do as God bids you to do. The root of false theology is found in putting my desires above God’s Will.

Luke 1:54-55 {God} hath {given help to} His servant Israel, in remembrance of His mercy; as He spake to our fathers, to Abraham, and to his seed forever.

God never changes. His love is never ending. He loves you, and has shown His love in the supernatural birth, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. If you do not know Him as Savior, then I beg you, come to Him today. Do not delay. Surrender to His love. He is the very definition of love. May God touch your hearts with His Word and His Spirit. Amen and Amen.

About bibleteacherorg

A searching Pastor, I am looking for a people who love the Lord and love one another. Daily I pray for the Church. Most of what the world sees today is not the Church, but clubs pretending to be the Church. God is calling to Himself a people willing to be righteous, not self righteous, serving not served. I am called to pastor God's people, those who want to change the world by willingly and willfully following Jesus Christ. Only God is able to change the world, and we must follow His Christ. He is able! Praise His Name! Come quickly Lord Jesus!
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