Before Mary had conceived Jesus, God sent an angel to the city of Nazareth to inform her about some fascinating events. Here is a portion of Gabriel and Mary’s conversation that is recorded in Luke 1:
(31) And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus. (32) He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. (33) And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.
If we consider Mary’s life in chronological order, this visit from Gabriel was the first event in her life that is recorded in the Bible. After she heard this message from God’s angel, surely her thinking and life would never be the same again! Our focus, though, is not on Mary, but on the glorious things that Gabriel told her about her firstborn child. Let us look at some of the facts set forth by Gabriel.
(1) “He will be great” (1:32). Yes, He would be greater than great! Melchizedek was great (Hebrews 7:4); so was John the Baptizer (Matthew 11:11). The greatness of those two men, however, was nothing in comparison to our Lord’s. Our “great High Priest” (Hebrews 4:14) is not God the Father, yet the Bible describes Him as “Mighty God” (Isaiah 9:6).
(2) Mary (and others) would “call His name Jesus” (1:31). Neither Mary nor Joseph selected that name. God did the choosing. But why that particular name? Because “He will save His people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21). You see, the name “Jesus” means Savior or “Jehovah is salvation” [Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, word no. 2424].
(3) He “will be called the Son of the Highest . . . that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God” (1:32,35). Born of a virgin human female, He is called “the Son of man” (Matthew 16:13), a designation which points to His humanity. To call Him “the Son of God” shows His divine nature, which is what the Father confessed when He declared, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Matthew 17:5; 3:17). Jesus said that those who refuse to believe in His deity will die in their sins (John 8:24).
(4) “The Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David” (1:32). Jesus was a descendant of David (2 Timothy 2:8). Why is that so important? Because “God had sworn with an oath to him [David, rdc] that of the fruit of his body, according to the flesh, He would raise up the Christ to sit on his throne” (Acts 2:30). The apostle Peter preached that message on the Day of Pentecost to a Jewish audience that knew well the promise that Jehovah made to King David (2 Samuel 7:12-14). After David’s death, his son Solomon, “sat on the throne of his father David” (1 Kings 2:12), or, as it is written in 1 Chronicles 29:23, Solomon “sat on the throne of the LORD.” Those dual ideas point to the truth that Solomon exercised authority over the people of God. In the same manner, the throne of David on which Jesus sits and rules is not a literal throne, but rather His rule is a spiritual reign over the spiritual people of God.
(5) “And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever” (1:33). Jesus later told His apostles that they would “sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.” When would that take place? “. . . in the regeneration, when the Son of man sits on the throne of His glory” (Matthew 19:28). That is happening now – this is the time of regeneration, being born again into the Christ (Titus 3:5; John 3:3,5). Now, through their message that causes men and women to become believers in Jesus and serve Him (John 17:20), the apostles judge the true “Israel of God,” which is made up of all new creations in the Christ (Galatians 6:15,16). By providing instructions/commands via His apostles (1 Corinthians 14:37), the Christ rules over spiritual Israel, which is composed of both Jews and Gentiles.
(6) “. . . of His kingdom there will be no end” (1:33). Some quick observations about the kingdom:
– The Kingdom is the church (Matthew 16:18,19; 26:29).
– It is His Kingdom (Colossians 1:13). He paid for it with His own blood (Acts 20:28).
– It is a spiritual Kingdom, “not of this world” (John 18:36).
– It is an eternal Kingdom. That is exactly what Daniel had prophesied (Daniel 2:44). Earthly kingdoms and empires rise and fall, but not the Kingdom of King Jesus!
– In earthly kingdoms, power/leadership passes from one person or group of people to another. Not so in our Lord’s Kingdom! He maintains all authority (Matthew 28:18) and remains the Head over His body (Eph. 5:23). Those two truths will be changeless as long as the world exists. In the end, He will deliver the Kingdom to His Father (1 Corinthians 15:24).
Let us do more than acknowledge these truths about Jesus and His Kingdom. May they burn like a fire in our souls, causing us to live for Him and tell others about the salvation that He brings.
—Roger D. Campbell