Luke 1:26–38: The Annunciation of Jesus
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.
1) By all external evaluations, the glory of John’s annunciation exceeds the glory of Jesus’ annunciation. Why does God reveal his power and glory in weakness, humiliation, and concealment? In what areas do you tend to look on external appearances (power, riches, beauty, etc.) rather than judging by God’s revealed will in his word? What might change if you judged rightly?
2) Gabriel announces that Jesus will fulfill God’s promises in his covenant with David (Luke 1:32–33; cf. 2 Sam. 7:9–14). If so, why does God choose this humble, humiliating manner of bringing his King into the world? Why should God does his Son’s glory? Why must Jesus endure an estate of humiliation? What does this teach us about the world’s power versus God’s power?
3) Jesus Christ is the dwelling place of God in the womb of Mary (Luke 1:35), replacing the tabernacle and the temple. Later, God will indwell his people by his Spirit, and then we will dwell directly with God in the New Jerusalem (Acts 1:8; Rev. 21:3, 22). When you think about glory, do you long to dwell with God? Or, is your heart primarily attracted to other pleasures?
4) Mary’s humble submission is greater than Zechariah’s skeptical doubt (Luke 1:18, 38). In what situations, relationships, or circumstances in your life does God teach you humble submission? Why do you think God needs to teach you humble submission? Are you willing to submit to his plans and purposes? Why or why not? How does this passage help us in that area?