Views from the Pew – 11.23.21

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What did you learn from last Sunday’s sermon, “Mary’s Good News”?

Q1: Which angel came to give Mary good news?

Q2: What makes the arrival of Mary’s child more significant than the arrival of any other?

Q3: Is the Bible a reliable historical record?

Q4: Is it okay to make the Bible more believable or to tell people it’s hard to believe just know He died for your sins?

Q5: Was Mary an ordinary sinner?

Q6: Why did Joseph change his mind about sending Mary away?

Q7: What is the significance of the virgin conception?

Sermon Summary & Answers

This Sunday, we continued in Luke 1:24-38 with “Mary’s Good News”. Pastor Steve explains that Mary is a young woman, approximately 13 to 14 years of age, and a virgin, when she has an encounter with an angel. Mary gets good news from Gabriel. Now, this news was suspect. Science, in the early years, walked with the church because of the pursuit of truth. David Hume who is credited for the philosophy of empiricism, which basically means if an event can’t be repeated and can’t be verified than it can’t be an event at all. This is known as empirical truth. History always must repeat itself, and if it doesn’t then it didn’t happen and is not history at all. So, it can only be true, if we can make the same observations in the present. However, if we think that way, there was no virgin conception or resurrection because neither event can be repeated, BUT both did happen. Any obstetrician would say, it’s not possible for a virgin to conceive a child. Furthermore, if another virgin did, then it would not be miraculous. Luke makes it clear, the arrival of this child is more significant than the arrival of any other EVER.

There is no human explanation for the event we are about to read about in Luke. Don’t forget, this is the account Luke told us he worked hard to compile, so we’d know the exact truth. When faced with a difficult circumstance, the mind attempts to apply logic beginning with syllogism, a logical premise that leads to a conclusion. Logically, a virgin conception is not possible; therefore, Jesus was not conceived by virgin and is not the Son of God. As Christians, we have to be careful how we respond. When faced with this, we may be inclined to respond with our own syllogism and say, it does happen, did happen, and Jesus is the Son of God. That’s a trap that implies there are many virgin births and many Christ’s. That is not our answer. We don’t rely on logical premises to address the reality of Christ. Regarding the core beliefs about the Messiah paying for sins with His life, we don’t rely on syllogism and logic. Here is where we lose our footing with the world. We try to persuade them with logic and end with confusion.

If we begin with the Bible instead of logic, and go to the events as recorded, we have a history of these events recorded within a generation of when they happened. The Bible is a reliable document and has been tested and examined more than any other. Not to mention four different authors share the same account. How can we read the account of God coming to earth as normal? We can’t, it has to be miraculous as was His resurrection. Kinda ridiculous to think it wouldn’t be spectacular. This child was born just the way it was recorded and will grow into a man and accomplish supernatural events. He predicts His own death and resurrection, and it happened exactly as He said it would. And we know that hundreds watched and recorded the event.

“We must conclude it happened the way it says it happened. Especially, the most difficult parts of Bible like the supernatural parts. Some Christians approach it like surgery. Cut out the gall bladder make a little hole take out virgin conception, and there’ll be no negative effect, take out resurrection too, and all the miracles. Church has done it be just fine. But that isn’t true, you cannot remove these things and have any Christianity left at all. We lose ground here really often. So many of us say, I know it’s hard to believe, you just need to know He saved you from your sins. Don’t try to make Jesus more believable by removing His birth and resurrection. Can’t remove things Gabriel says He is and still have a Savior worth believing in.”

Pastor Steve Wilson

Back to Luke, the miracles had begun. In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, Gabriel is sent on another mission and comes from the presence of God to make another announcement. This time, Gabriel goes to Nazareth, an ol’ tiny, dusty town in the middle of nowhere without trade routes or rivers in Galilee, a beautiful area, mostly agricultural similar to California. Gabriel comes to the city and meets a virgin who is betrothed. Typically, a young girl would be promised to a man not much older but older, and there’d be a waiting period for the man to become financially able to provide and build a house and time for the woman to prove her virginity. A normal, serious thing in Jesus’ day, Luke then introduces us to Joseph, a descendant of King David and average Jewish carpenter. Then, Luke introduces us to Mary, a virgin. That’s it. He does not have much to add to his introduction of Mary. I mean Luke at least shared that Elizabeth was righteous in the sight of God, but Mary is entirely ordinary.

“…Like any other young girl. Nothing else is said. This is the ordinariness Luke captures by saying nothing more. Her virginity is all that is essential to God, she doesn’t bring anything else to the table, naturally. Gabriel said greetings, means hello. Picture that, an angel in whatever form he took (enough to scare Zechariah), comes in and says hello, favored one the Lord is with you.”

Pastor Steve Wilson

But this is not a picture of a young woman with a lot of grace to dispense to people. This is a picture of the woman who carried Grace not found in herself but only when God favored her with that Grace. If you were taught Hail Mary full of Grace that’s not what Gabriel said. He said, Hello Mary who has God’s Grace upon her. Mary is a sinner just like any other, and later Mary will declare that she needs a savior in Luke 1:46-47. The Catholic Church believes the doctrine of immaculate conception and that Mary must be a person without any stain of human, original sin but that is not in the Bible. Mary says in Luke 49 holy is His name not mine!

Back to Luke 1:29-38, Mary is perplexed and pondered. She takes the time to think. A welcome reminder to us all. The angel said don’t be afraid as we know is a very ordinary reaction as a sinner in the presence of an angel. Why be afraid? Sinners are afraid to be judged! But the angel said Mary had nothing be afraid of, God has favored her! And, God’s Grace removes fear! Then he says, behold Mary, you’ll have a son, Jesus, the son of the Most High that will reign forever! Now, pause, we could assume Mary will conceive the same way as Elizabeth and Joseph, an ordinary conception but for some reason, Mary doesn’t take it that way. She asked how can this be since she’s a virgin, but why? What did she hear? The scriptures, most likely prophet Isaiah! What she would have read as a Jew. Isaiah chapter 7:14, a virgin will bear a son. Mary wants to know how can that be? And probably really means, how can that virgin be me that Isiah prophesied about. Surely, Mary was feeling many emotions, excited to have a child, and overwhelmed with the responsibility of being that virgin Israel waited for, for years! And she is gonna be pregnant while she is a virgin. The angel said the Holy Spirit will come upon you and the power of the Most High will overshadow you and the holy child will be called the Son of God. This overshadowing of God in Luke 9:34-35 that’s how it can happen. Gabriel also says, And, behold, your relative Elizabeth also conceived and is 6 months along! Good encouragement for Mary! For nothing will be impossible with God. Mary resolved and resolute said behold right back at him, may it be done. She did not know how it could be possible but knew the God of the impossible. Mary says let it be and Gabriel left.

Thus, far, we’ve met a virgin who became pregnant in a miraculous way. This would have been difficult to bear, she was not married. Imagine the accusations, suspicions, and being laughed at for claiming to be a virgin. Not to mention what Joseph will think. Matthew 1:18-19, says he planned to send her away/divorce her secretly to avoid disgracing her because he wanted to act righteously because he knows the child isn’t his. Then cue miraculous intervention. The angel comes to Joseph while he’s asleep and tells him not to be afraid to marry her, the child is of the Holy Spirit, and to call him Jesus, He will save people from their sins! Yeshua means Jehovah saves! Joseph wakes up and took her as his wife and kept her a virgin until she gave birth. We believe this is what actually happened, and it couldn’t have happened any other way. Some call it the virgin birth but, the birth of Jesus was ordinary other than the location. The miracle was at conception.

I think that matters for us that miracle at conception. Important because Jesus and doesn’t involve anyone else but God, and He wants us to see how his work begins with Him. No assistance like when you were born again. Fairly ordinary…like others, want to repent for sins but proceeded by miraculous thing of your new birth. God removed your heart of stone and God gave you a heart of flesh and caused you to say I believe in the Son of God and He is my savior. Because of the virgin conception, Jesus is truly human and truly God! This is what we believe.”

Pastor Steve Wilson

Did you find this quiz and sermon summary helpful? Log on to each week for the latest Q&A. Jessica will send the link out in the Midweek church emails. I’d love to hear your thoughts and suggestions. Please email me at


  1.  Gabriel
  2. The virgin conception
  3. Yes
  4. No, you can’t remove anything Gabriel says and still have a savior worth believing in.
  5. Yes. She is a sinner just like any other and will declare she needs a savior.
  6. Divine intervention. The angel comes to Joseph in a dream and said not to send her away and told him about Jesus, the Son of God.  
  7. The miracle was at conception. It doesn’t involve anyone but God, and we see how His work begins with Him with no assistance like when we were born again.