Note: I preached this short message in the chapel of Africa Nazarene University (Nairobi, Kenya) on December 13, 2017. Thanks to Chalé Atikonda, a BTh student at ANU, who heard the sermon and later suggested a further point, i.e. “an unusual task,” which I’ve added to this revised version.
Scripture reading: Luke 1:26-38
All Scripture citations are from the Common English Bible.
“How should a King come?”
Jimmy and Carol Owens penned these words to the popular Christmas song:
How should a King come?
Even a child knows the answer of course;
In a coach of gold with a pure white horse.
In the beautiful city in the prime of the day,
And the trumpets should cry
And the crowds make way.
And the flags fly high in the morning sun,
And the people all cheer for the sovereign one.
And everyone knows that’s the way that it’s done,
That’s the way that a king should come.
And yet the Gospel accounts of Christ’s coming to earth make it clear: God’s ways are not our ways. Today, let’s look at 7 unusual things about the Incarnation, based on Luke 1:26-38, the angel Gabriel’s announcement to Mary that she will give birth to a son.
FIRST, GOD SENT AN UNUSUAL MESSENGER.
The appearance of angels was hardly an everyday occurrence. This is implied when Gabriel says to Mary: “Fear not.” People aren’t afraid of everyday events, but when they’re rare, they might give you a scare. Here was God’s messenger coming to deliver stupendous news. The name “Gabriel” means “God is my strength.” Here was an unusual messenger, a mighty being sent by God, and Mary took notice.
SECOND, THE ANNOUNCEMENT CAME IN AN UNUSUAL PLACE.
If Nazareth were a Kenyan town, it might make the top 100 list, but somewhere at the bottom, nestled between Nambale and Tabaka. Then again, Nazareth might not make any list, for at the time, people said: “Can any good thing come out of Nazareth” (John 1:46). Wouldn’t it make more sense for a King to come to Jerusalem, the Nairobi of its day, the main commercial and economic hub? But God’s ways are not our ways.