“For nothing will be impossible with God.” It is an overwhelming statement made by Gabriel the angel in his announcement to Mary. We want to believe that it will be true in our own lives. But then we get up on Mondays.
We become exceptional people in all of the wrong ways. God can restore marriages, except mine. God can heal, except here. God can forgive, except me. We live in a world darkened by doubt & hopelessness. The incarnation of the Christ introduces us to the idea that God truly can break into any circumstance. It is in the holiday season of song and lights that we can experience it for ourselves and introduce to others the reasons to truly be merry and bright.
In looking at the announcement by Gabriel to Mary in Luke 1:26-38, let me point out two principles and a few applications.
The birth of Jesus reveals God’s power.
They lived in a tough time of history. Herod was a controversial king over Judea. The census enforced by the Roman Empire was not just to count people but to ensure everyone understood the empire’s authority. Caesar Augustus was recognized as a divine savior who brought peace to the world. Meanwhile, everyone lived under the boot of the Roman leaders. As Caesar proclaimed an earthly peace that would not last, God was sending the true Savior who would deliver eternal peace. But to do so, He would arrive in a different manner.
The declaration that the power of the Holy Spirit would cause Mary to conceive was the fulfillment of Isaiah 7:14. Jesus leaves His omnipresence to enter Mary’s womb in microscopic fashion. He is born as we are but conceived by the Holy Spirit. In doing so, Jesus did not inherit the sin nature from Adam’s race. He arrives as the spotless Lamb of God who will take away the sin of the world. The virgin birth reveals that we cannot save ourselves because of our tainted nature. Our morality and achievements will all fall short so God intervenes by His power.
The titles of Jesus reveal God’s authority.
Looking to how Gabriel describes this Child of Mary, we gain insight into His authority.
First, we have his name: Jesus. The name means “God saves.” It was a common Hebrew name for a child but this is the only child who will actually live up to it. God intends to save sinners through this Child.
Then, Jesus is described as the Son of the Most High. Only God’s Son can complete the mission of redemption. He is not one of many ways to salvation. He is the only way. Just as an earthly prince carries his father’s kingly authority, so does Jesus. Even more so. His true nature is royalty; again, not marred by our lineage of sinfulness.
Thirdly, Gabriel says that Jesus will reign over the house of Jacob forever. God made a promise through Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob to bless the world through their family. Jesus is the apex of that covenant. Jesus will reign as if on the throne of David—Israel’s greatest king. He has a spiritual reign with earthly implications. Holding the authority over all powers, Jesus has no rivals and no equals.
Finally, Gabriel says that His kingdom will have no end. Every kingdom we have seen has an end. Every ruler comes to the end of his or her days. With Jesus the Messiah, we have a ruler who, by His very nature, cannot fade or fail. He has ruled from eternity past and will do so for eternity future. Entering this terrestrial space, Jesus re-establishes His kingdom among us. He is the good and kind Ruler freeing us from the dictators of self, false idols, and the death brought about by sin.
What does this reveal to you?
Let me encourage you to respond in these ways.
- Have a Mary-like response of faith and readiness to serve.
- Embrace the life offered to you by Jesus.
- Come happily under Jesus’ authority.
- Deliver the good news of Jesus’ arrival to everyone.
- Be merry and bright under God’s covenant promise.