We believe Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit.

I believe Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit

Luke 1:26-38              Philippians 2:5-11                 June 16, 2013

I am going to tell you a truth that is hard to argue against.  The truth is this:  we do not know how the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit do what God does.  We cannot know this mystery.  Why can we not know this mystery?  It is impossible for humankind to know the workings of the Holy.


We cannot become too familiar with the Holy.  We do know what the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit do.  We do not know how they interact as one God.  However, we do know that God is involved!  Since God is involved, then we can find what it means for Jesus to be conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit.  We know how God has been involved in other times of pregnancy, so we can discover some of what it means for God the Son to be conceived by the power of God.


  1. Mary gets a visit from Gabriel (Luke1:26-29)
    1. 6th month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy
    2. Mary was living in Nazareth
    3. Mary was engaged to Joseph, of the family of David
    4. Gabriel acknowledges Mary as favored by God
    5. Mary did not understand why Gabriel was visiting her
    6. Angels have visited many people in the Bible.  An angel visited with Abram before Abram and Sarai were parents to Isaac.  An angel was with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the fiery furnace.  Just before Gabriel visited Mary, an angel had visited Zechariah to tell about the birth of John.  Being from a village off the beaten path, Mary was most likely not expecting a visit from an angel.  Gabriel had some explaining to do.


  1. Gabriel explains the reason for his visit (Luke 1:30-33)
    1. “Do not be afraid.”
    2. You will conceive and bear a son
      1. The son’s name will be Jesus
      2. Will be great
      3. Will be called the Son of the Most High
      4. Will have the throne of David
      5. Will reign over the house of Jacob
      6. His kingdom will have no end
  2. What an announcement to make to Mary!  At no other time has an announcement been made like this one.  It is an announcement that will change Mary’s life and change the world forever.  How does Mary respond?


  1. Mary wants to know how this will be (Luke 1:34-37)
    1. How can this be?
    2. She admits that she has not been with a man
    3. Gabriel says to her
      1. The Holy Spirit will come upon

–          Same Spirit that was hovering over the waters (Genesis 1)

–          Same Spirit that gave prophets their ability to speak

  1. The power of the Most High will overshadow you

–          Matthew Henry Greek Study Bible – “to envelope in a haze of brilliancy”

–          Same overshadowing that happened as God directed Israel out of Egypt

–          Same overshadowing that we see at the Transfiguration as Peter, John, and James see Jesus visited by Moses & Elijah

  1. The child will be holy
  2. He will be called Son of God
  3. Even barren Elizabeth is now pregnant!
  4. Nothing is impossible with God
    1. God created everything
    2. God made a nation that was not a nation into a nation
    3. God recreates us into the image of Jesus
  5. Though we will spend more time next week talking about the Virgin conception and birth, it is important to know this fact.  At earlier times in this world, being a virgin was honorable.  Somehow God was going to be at work.  From Article II of the Articles of Religion of the Methodist Church: “took man’s nature in the womb of the blessed Virgin.”[1] We also learn from the other branch of the United Methodist Church, the Evangelical United Brethren, in Article II of the Confession of Faith this about Jesus, he was: “born of the Virgin Mary by the power of the Holy Spirit.”[2] How the Holy Spirit worked with Mary, we do not know, nor can we ever find out.  It is important that it is a mystery.  With this mystery, we can be like Mary.


  1. Mary accepts the word of Gabriel (Luke 1:38)
    1. Here I am (what we say when God speaks to us)
    2. Let it be with me according to your word (what we say when we place faith in God)
    3. When we hear God speaking to us, we can accept what his word for us.  That is what Mary did.  She did not know the details of how she was to become pregnant.  But she trusted God.  As we do not know the details of how we can grow as disciples of Jesus, we trust God.  We also know this about how the Holy Spirit works in us as we hear John A. Ross describe the Spirit of the Lord working in us (Read quote on p. 66).


It is a mystery how God works and functions as God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  We do know and can trust that the Holy Trinity is alive and working in this world.  We have heard and seen God at work in this world. 


Believing the conception of Jesus was by the Holy Spirit enables us to demonstrate our trust in God.  God the Father wanted a way for us to be delivered from sin.  God made that way.  It took God’s Holy Spirit and a faithful servant, Mary, in order for this to happen. So God the Son was conceived.  He grew up so that we may know and believe God.


What else in this world can take place as we are faithful to God?  May Jesus Christ be conceived in us as we have faith like Mary!

[1] 2012 Book of Discipline, p. 64

[2] 2012 Book of Discipline, p. 71


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