Monday, October 06, 2014
More Than a Baby
Sometimes it is difficult to see something by standing too close--you gotta take a step back and look at the whole thing again. Often too, familiarity creates blind-spots and while we think we see or have seen, we actually no longer see because we think we “know, understand” what we are viewing. Jesus is a familiar figure that often gets relegated into the realm of by scrutiny and we often lose sight of who He is. This is one reason I am so grateful to have the angelic announcement to Mary concerning His birth.
Luke records that the angel visited Mary with a birth announcement loaded with information. He does not merely say, “you’re gonna have a baby.” No, the angel makes some very specific statements about this child, identifying unique characteristics that distinguish this prophetic announcement.
First, the angel declares the Humanity of The Child, saying “you will conceive in your womb and bear a son” (Luke 1:31). How’s that for an ultra-sound. The yet-to-be conceived baby will be a boy!
Second, he declares the Deity and Mission of The Child, “you shall name Him Jesus” (Luke 1:31). This name has a specific meaning, “The LORD saves.” The covenant-making God will rescue His people from their sins.
Third, the angel proclaims the Greatness of The Child, this boy Jesus “will be great” (Luke 1:32). When you think of “greatness,” what comes to mind? Will Jesus be large, great in size--will he be one of those big bouncing baby boys? Actually, the next descriptors help define the kind of greatness He will bear, and when we look at these we understand that his greatness describes His rank, His authority, power, influence, importance and most importantly, His excellence.
Fourth, the angel reveals the Identity of Jesus as He will be “called Son of the Most High” (Luke 1:32) Who will call Him this? Mark records the testimony of demons calling Him such (Mark 5:7). But does Jesus require the testimony of these rebellious spirits? How were they able to identify Him the Son of the Most High? Consider the testimony of the Father Himself at Jesus’ baptism: “Thou art my beloved Son, in Thee I am well pleased” (Luke 3:22). This declaration is given because Jesus was baptised but because He was filled with the Holy Spirit at the time of baptism. This is just as the angel explained to Mary, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy offspring shall be called the Son of God.” (Luke 1:35)
Fifth, the angel discloses His Title To The Throne as “the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David” (Luke 1:32). No other person living, yet to live or dead has the title. The Lord God assigned this one person to the throne through a very public history. We don't make Him Lord. The Lord God makes Jesus Lord.
Finally, Jesus will have an Everlasting Universal Kingdom as, “He will reign over the house of Jacob forever; and His kingdom will have no end” (Luke 1:33). Let that sink in for a moment: His reign will never end. Never.
How does one respond to that kind of announcement? We've already considered the response of Zacharias who doubted God’s announcement concerning his son, John. He did not believe God and his disbelief silenced his mouth. What will Mary do? The angel reminds Mary about Elizabeth, who conceived in her old age (hint: don’t be like her old man)--so Mary submits herself to God.
This is not an issue of "who is Jesus to you" but who are you in the light of how Jesus is revealed in time and space. Will you respond to Him as Mary--with belief, allowing God to accomplish His purpose in you?
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