Waynedale United Methodist Church
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December 24, 2017 Sermon

“Christ will come: Nothing is Impossible!” 

Luke 1:11 – 17, 26 – 37

Ted Jansen  December 24 am, 2017  Waynedale UMC

 

1.)        Christ will come!  All of the Gospel writers have this in their heart as they are inspired by the Holy Spirit to begin their version of the story of Jesus Christ.  Here is some information about the Gospel of Luke and his approach to the story of Jesus. 

            Luke was a doctor and he was not a Jewish man.  Luke’s mind and heart were trained as a doctor and his spirit had been transformed by Jesus Christ.  We get a sense in this first chapter about how Luke wants to highlight the beginning of the story of Jesus. 

Luke was focused on researching information and discovering the truth.  He then communicated that truth, the story of Jesus Christ, primarily to the Gentiles.  One way we see this perspective is that Luke mentions the governmental leaders who were in power at the time.  They are mentioned in Chapter 2.  They are Caesar Augustus and Quirinius.  Luke also mentions the census of the Roman world that people would have known about. 

We also get Luke’s perspective as we read the first words of his Gospel.  “Many have undertaken to draw up on account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, just as they were handed down to us by those from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the world.  Therefore, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, it seemed good also to me to write an orderly account for you…”  (Luke 1:1 – 3)

               

2.)        Luke begins in this first chapter describing how Elizabeth, Zechariah, and Mary discover that God is going to do something amazing and miraculous in their lives.    

            God’s miracle is that two women will become pregnant.  One was old and according to the scripture was “barren.”  The other was a virgin and had not had sexual relations yet, since she was not married. 

Luke tells us that that there is a family connection between these two women.  We also discover that the same messenger communicates God’s plan to these families.   The angel Gabriel is involved in both of these families.  We also discover a message that Gabriel shares that is a foundation for our faith and one of the truths that we affirm in this time of year.    

 

3.)        Luke tells us about Zechariah who has been chosen to go an offer incense in the Temple.  While he is in there Gabriel, the angel, comes to him and tells him that he and Elizabeth are going to have a baby.  Gabriel tells Zechariah that the baby will be called John, and that that this child, John, will have a special role in God’s plan. 

            Zechariah is shocked and surprised since they have not been able to have children and he tells Gabriel this.   Gabriel then tells Zechariah that since he doubted he will not be able to speak until the child is born and named.  Zechariah is then speechless.     

            Zechariah goes home and tries to communicate to Elizabeth all that has happened to him and what Gabriel told him.  Elizabeth in time discovers that she is pregnant, and the message of the angel comes true.      

 

4.)        Then Gabriel gets another assignment from God six months later.  Gabriel goes to a woman named Mary, who is engaged and living in Nazareth.  Luke tells us that Gabriel comes to her and tells her that God is pleased with her and will show His favor on her. 

            Gabriel tells Mary that she is going to become pregnant and when she gives birth she is to name her son, Jesus. 

            Mary is confused and asks Gabriel how this could be since she is a virgin.  Gabriel tells her that the Holy Spirit will come upon you.    Gabriel tells her that Elizabeth, her older relative, who all thought would never be able to have a child is now six months pregnant.      

            Gabriel then speaks words of grace, power and promise.  “For nothing is impossible with God.” (Luke 1:27) 

            Mary tells Gabriel that she is a servant of God.  Mary make plans to go and see Elizabeth and Zechariah who live several days of travel from her. 

When Mary and Elizabeth meet the Holy Spirit inspires Elizabeth, the baby John inside of her, and Mary, all at the same time.   It is a time of thanks and praise to God.   

            Mary stays there for several months and Luke finishes the first chapter describing what happens when John is born and named.   Zechariah, who had been unable to speak for months, can now speak and praises God. 

 

5.)        Luke wants the reader to know that in these situations and circumstances that were highly unusual and hard to grasp that God did something amazing.  Gabriel’s message of what God wanted all to know would first start with the message to these two families.  That message is this; “Nothing is impossible with God!”  (Luke 1:37)

 

6.)        I looked up the word in Greek for impossible.  It is “adynateo.”  It means “to be unable.”  It has the some root for dynamic or energy, or power.  It means not power, or no energy. 

Something that is impossible means that there is no power to do anything, some is unable to be done.  

One example of the word impossible is I am going to try to create power in my body to overcome gravity.  I am going to jump and stay up in the air.  (Do this.) 

I am unable to jump and stay in the air, I don’t have the power.  It is impossible.  Why is that?   It is because of gravity.  It has a stronger force on me than I have on it.    

When we say that something is impossible it means that there is a greater force that prevents something from happening.  When we say that nothing is impossible with God means that there is no force that is greater than God.  God can do anything.  Nothing is impossible with God.     

           

7.)        When we think about miracles we look to the life of Jesus while He was here on earth.  When Jesus healed the demon possessed man we see the truth that nothing is impossible with God.  When Jesus walked on the water we realize that nothing is impossible with God.  When we see Jesus feeding the thousands with a few small fish and a few loaves of bread we know that nothing is impossible with God.  When we see Jesus on the cross and then laid in the tomb and after three days be resurrected we affirm that nothing is impossible with God.

            This message was a part of the very birth, not only of Jesus, but of John the Baptist who was preparing the way for Jesus.       

 

8.)        I find it interesting that in this time of year when we focus on the birth of Jesus our culture likes to also think of miracles.  In the Christmas Season our culture creates stories of the miraculous.  Some of the stories involve the “magic” of Christmas. 

            Consider the things that are “impossible” but we tell about them happening. We sing about a snowman that comes to life.  We tell the story about a red nosed reindeer.  We “believe” that reindeers fly.   There is a man, and his elves, that deliver presents all over the world in a single night.  We tell these and other stories, and they are all a little bit miraculous.    

            I was thinking about some of the movies and shows about miracles.   A few of the movies that are popular around Christmas are: “Miracle on 34th Street, Preachers Wife,” and “It’s a Wonderful Life,” to name a few.  You might have other movies and shows that tell about miracles.  

            We all like a story that has a happy ending.  We all need the truth that miracles happen. 

 

10.)      We have a need to be reminded that those that face the impossible or unbelievable challenges in life can meet them with faith.  We don’t want to live life holding on to the situation as we know it to be the only truth of our lives.  If miracles don’t exist then we live in dire times.     

            There is a man who was and great diver and strong athlete.  He discovered a brain tumor that left him paralyzed and perhaps all thought his life was over.  

            Through therapy and grace he regained partial use of his left side.  He surrounded himself with other divers and once a year he does something that is inspiring, and perhaps some would say to him would be impossible.   He takes a dive off the high dive.   I want to show you a video clip of this scene.  

 

11.)      When you watch this you imagine all that he has gone through and you think about your situation.  I can keep going.  God is with me.  Others are around me. 

Who are your examples of men and women who inspire you and strengthen your faith? 

I invite us to look to Elizabeth and Mary and Joseph and Zechariah.  They experienced the miraculous in their lives.      

            To someone here who is struggling with something going on in your life hear the message that, “Nothing is Impossible with God!” 

When you are going through a tough time and you don’t understand why things are happening the way they are remember that, “Nothing is Impossible with God!” 

When you look at a baby born long ago, in the midst of a census, to two young people traveling to be registered, amidst their challenges, hear Gabriel saying to you.  “NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE WITH GOD!”