Fourth Sunday in Advent


 Sermon Text: Luke 1:26-38

 Other Readings: 2 Samuel 7:8-16 and Romans 16:25-27


  1. How was it that Mary found favor with God?
  2. What connection is there between Luke 1:32,33 and our First Lesson?
  3. “The power of the Most High will overshadow you” (v. 35) seems like an odd phrase. How can Exodus 40:34-38 (and especially verse 35) help shade our understanding of Luke 1:35?
  4. Examine this painting of our text. In your opinion, what does it capture well? What are some discrepancies with the text? (Painting done by Francesco Albani, 1630s.)


  1. Many people focus on Mary’s virtues, but God’s favor starts with his own loving plans and his unmerited choice. His favor focused on this one individual through whom the Holy Spirit would provide this miraculous birth. This happened so God’s favor could, in turn, rest on everyone because of that child.
  2. 2 Samuel 7:8-16 is ultimately a prophecy about how one of David’s descendant would be the Messiah and the eternal spiritual king. Luke 1:32,33 connects Jesus, the son conceived in Mary (a descendent of David), to the prophecy to King David. Jesus fulfills this prophecy.
  3. The kind of “overshadowing” that God would do with Mary would be as glorious as his overshadowing the tabernacle with his glory. Whereas the people went to the tabernacle to see God’s glory and be in his presence, God brings his glory and presence to mankind through the holy child conceived in Mary.
  4. Observations will vary. It captures well the Holy Spirit coming upon her (see the dove, a symbol of the Holy Spirit) and God the Father overshadowing her (see the figure in the top center). Mary seems to be captured in a pose of humble reverence. Also, it’s nice to not see a halo around Mary, as if she is perfect like our God. An oddity is the baby angels.