Let us continue on with my fourth message in the Holy Land, which was presented at the Church of the Annunciation in Nazareth. I was explaining in the first part the eight promises the Angel Gabriel gave Mary concerning the Messiah, and how three are still yet future in their fulfillment.
The Miraculous Confirmation
Let's continue reading the story of Mary in Luke 1 with verse 39. "Now Mary arose in those days and went into the hill country with haste to a city of Judah." We don't know in the Scriptures what city that is, but we know from tradition that is the village of Ein Kerem which is located just outside the city of Jerusalem. It's a beautiful village and there is a church there built to honor the meeting of Mary with Elizabeth.
We read in verse 40, "She entered the house of Zacharias..." That's very important because this is a priestly family. "...and greeted Elizabeth. And it happened," (I love this), "...when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary the babe leaped in her womb." Who's that you ask? It's John the Baptist. He's turning somersaults in his mother's womb he's so excited to be in the presence of the Savior. I love that! "The babe leaped in her womb."
Elizabeth was then filled with the Holy Spirit. When she was filled with the Spirit she was given a supernatural word of knowledge. Look what Luke 1:42 says, "Then she spoke with a loud voice and said, 'Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb.'" She didn't even know that Mary was pregnant yet, but she spoke it. "But why is this granted to me that the mother of my Lord..." see, she knows not only is Mary pregnant, but she is the mother of the Messiah, "...should come to me. For indeed, as soon as the voice of your greeting sounded in my ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy. Blessed is she who believed, for there will be a fulfillment of those things which were told her from the Lord."
Mary starting in Luke 1:46 sang a Hebrew song. She begins to sing, "My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit is rejoiced in God my Savior." The rest of her song is a quotation of Hebrew prophecy. She knew the Scriptures by heart. She's quoting the prophecies and talking about how they will be fulfilled in the birth of her Son.
Not only is the divinity of Jesus under attack, but the Virgin Birth is under attack as never before. You can even find evangelical leaders questioning it these days. I say to you without stuttering that the Virgin Birth is essential to the faith. If Jesus was not virgin born, He was not who He said He was. He was not God in the flesh. He could not have been born naturally because He would have a sin nature. His divinity depended upon that virgin birth. He was born of the Holy Spirit, and not of a man.
Evidence of the Virgin Birth
Look at the evidence of the Virgin Birth here in this Luke 1 passage.
First of all, let's look at Mary's reaction: "How can I have a baby when I've never known a man?" That's the first evidence of the Virgin Birth.
The second evidence is the first thing she did when she became pregnant. She ran to relatives to share the news. How many girls have you ever known who were pregnant outside of marriage who wanted to get on the phone and call all their relatives and share the news? They usually want to hide it because they are ashamed. They are embarrassed. Although, increasingly in our society, that's not as true as it once was. But, in that First Century society, you don't get on the phone and call everybody and tell them you are pregnant.
Look what else she did. The third evidence is that not only did she proclaim her pregnancy, but she ran to a priestly family. It was the obligation of the priest to report her to the authorities, try her, and then stone her to death. And yet, she went because she was completely innocent. She probably didn't even think about the consequences of doing that.
The fourth evidence is when she gets to Elizabeth's house, the miracle was confirmed to her by God in a miraculous way — John the Baptist jumps in his mother's womb. Elizabeth then speaks a word of knowledge that she knows Mary is pregnant with the Christ child. What a passage this is!
I want you to notice something here. Notice what Mary says at the beginning of her song. "My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.'" She knew she needed a Savior, just like I need a Savior, and you need a Savior. She knew she was not sinless. She knew that she needed a Savior, and she rejoiced that she was going to give birth to the very one who was going to make it possible for her to be reconciled to God.
With God Nothing Is Impossible
I want to end by emphasizing Luke 1:37. It's a verse that I'm claiming in prayer every night and all throughout the day and every evening. Its this — with God nothing is impossible.
Whatever is in your life right now that is causing some lack of peace or causing a disturbance, whether it be the sickness of a wife like in my case, or whether it be a decision you are trying to make about business or a job career, or whether it be a relationship that is messed up, or whether it be a child who has gone astray and broken your heart — nothing is impossible with God.
I had some folks share with me about a daughter of theirs who has gone astray. For them it's a situation that seems hopeless. They believe there's no possibility that she could ever come back from where she's gone. And yet, I've seen it happen twice in my lifetime.
I have two daughters named Ruth and Rachel. The younger daughter came out of the womb a rebel. There were many times when my wife and I looked at each other and said, "Did these two daughters come out of the same womb? I mean, how could this be?" One was so compliant and the other one was so rebellious. She nearly drove us crazy.
At age 16, she just disappeared off the face of the earth. My wife and I got up one morning and my youngest just wasn't there. For eight months we did not know whether she was alive or dead. We went to the police for help, but they could care less. They said, "Don't bother us. She'll come back." Finally, after two or three months of looking for her, driving down the streets and calling all our friends, we just got on the floor on our faces and said, "God, we've done everything we've can. We can't do anything anymore. We are just at our wits end." Lying on the floor on our faces, holding hands, we said, "Lord, we turn her over to you. We feel sorry for you that you have to deal with her. We're putting her in your hands and we're going to rely on you."
About a month later, I got a phone call one Sunday afternoon. The man on the phone said, "Hello, are you Dave Reagan?" I answered, "Yes." He said, "Do you have a daughter named Rachel?" I said, "Yes." He said, "Well, she's sitting in my living room. I am the pastor of so-and-so church in Shelbyville, Indiana. She's been up here for six or eight months working at a fast food restaurant and attending my church every Sunday. She told me she had run away, and I told her you have to call your dad right now."
During that period she was gone, every time we turned on the TV there was a story about a runaway being raped or killed. There was one even who got both her arms cut off and had been thrown to the side of the road. Satan was just attacking and attacking and attacking! So, obviously, we were so relived to hear where she was and that she had been going to church all this time. Then she came back, but she didn't turn around. So, we kept on praying.
Today, Rachel is the director of our ministry and she has a wonderful marriage. She has two children and two grandchildren. She is a pillar of the faith. It came about just through prayer and never giving up, and believing in the impossible.
Out of her womb came a little girl who was more rebellious then her. And I thought, "There really is justice!" But, then I've seen God transform her as well. He did it two times radically.
All I can say is — nothing is impossible with God. Don't give up. Just keep praying and praying.
I often tell people when they come up and ask for prayer for their rebellious child, or it's some grandmother who's just filled with tears, I say, "Let me tell you, if you've got a grandma who's a believer praying for you, then you don't have a chance. God will get you. If He has to hit you over the head with a 2x4, He's going to get you sooner or later."
Don't give up praying. Whatever it is that you need the Lord's touch, then reach out to Him. Reach out in faith and keep praying. He will hear and He will answer in His own time. In the meantime, God will be drawing you closer and closer to Him. Sometimes He has to have these difficult things happen in our lives to get our attention and to bring us closer to Him.