We’re going to look at the annunciation—the announcement that the angel Gabriel brought to the virgin Mary.
30 And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.
So, Mary has the natural reaction that pretty much invariably occurs when a human encounters an angel who appears in his natural state—awe and fear. Gabriel tells her that she has found favor with God. This word charinwhich is translated as favor here, is so often translated as grace.
31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and give birth to a son, and you shall name Him Jesus.
This calls to mind Isaiah’s prophecy in 7:14 Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, meaning that Mary is the chosen vessel to fulfill this prophecy. And you shall give him the name Jesus and of course, she gave him the name Yeshua, since that’s His name in Hebrew. The name Yeshua is the same name as Joshua, which of course means “the Lord saves”.
32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David;
The Greatness of Jesus is the kind that excels everything—in fact Gabriel says that Jesus will be so great, that He will be called the Son of the Most High, which is just another way of saying the Son of God.
and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David;
Notice that it’s the Lord God who gives Jesus this throne of Jesus’ ancestor David, and Jesus will reign over the house of Jacob (which is just another way of saying Israel), and Jesus’ kingdom will be an everlasting one.
33 and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and His kingdom will have no end.”
Jesus’ rule over the house of Jacob (which is just another way of saying Israel—but a way that in particular makes it clear that Jesus will rule over all 12 tribes).
All of this is important for people like Luke and Peter and Mathew, because a big part of their understanding of the role of Jesus was as the Jewish Messiah. That’s why they keep asking him questions, like in Luke part 2, also known as the book of Acts, in chapter 1 verse 6 6 So, when they had come together, they began asking Him, saying, “Lord, is it at this time that You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?”
They were looking at it from just the perspective of Israel, and didn’t realize that God had a much bigger plan in mind—bringing both Jews and Gentiles together in one body as the Church. And they were looking for a physical kingdom at that time, and not seeing that with the birth of Jesus the Kingdom came near, and the kingdom of God was at hand, as He said. The Church is the earthly manifestation of the Kingdom of God and as we are saved, we are given a new spiritual birth into the Kingdom of God and are therefore members of the Church on earth. The Good News that the Kingdom of God had come and that we should believe and repent was Jesus’ central message in His earthly ministry.
And so, Jesus’ answer to the disciples question of when the kingdom would be restored is really telling, as found in Acts 1:7:
7 But He said to them, “It is not for you to know periods of time or appointed times which the Father has set by His own authority; 8 but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and Samaria, and as far as the remotest part of the earth.”
When Jesus preached about the Kingdom, remember that he preached it primarily to the lost sheep of the house of Israel—the church hadn’t been born yet. When Jesus comes back to rule and to reign, then God’s Kingdom will be manifested more fully on Earth, and when the final enemy Death is destroyed, His Kingdom will be over all creation. But just when this will occur is something that’s really above our pay-grade. Jesus tells us to be the Church—those indwelt by the Holy Spirit. Obey Jesus and focus on being Jesus’ witnesses to the remotest part of the earth. We need to do our job as a witness of who Jesus Christ is, and what He has done for us dying on the cross to save us from our sins—focus on telling people about Him and what He has done. That’s our priority. Let us spend our time ministering to the needs of the saints, and loving Jesus and our brothers and sisters in Christ. Let’s read our Bible, and let the Holy Spirit reveal to us what He wants to reveal to us of The Word.
34 But Mary said to the angel, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?”
Mary understood that Gabriel was telling her that God was going to perform a miracle here, and that she was going to be the vessel for this miracle. But, like the Great Flood, in Noah’s day, God directly creating a human life within the womb of Mary is a unique intervention, a once only miracle never to be repeated. This is an event so outside the normal human experience, that some people are always going to find these unique events difficult to accept down deep.
None of the disciples seem to have challenged this miracle, which certainly would have begged the same question Mary has: “How can this be, since she was a virgin at the time”? And in particular, we don’t see Joseph, her betrothed, challenging it—and he would have had the most reason to, given the social embarrassment, and potential life-threatening danger it caused them both.
35 The angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; for that reason also the holy Child will be called the Son of God.
The Holy Spirit, the active Spirit of God, manifested God’s creative power within the womb of Mary. The Bible presents Jesus’ virgin birth as both factual and necessary. He had to be born of a virgin:
- To fulfill the prophecy in Isaiah 7:14 “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” The word Immanuel means God with us.
- Isaiah 9:6 God tells us ”For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace”. Well, Jesus can’t be both a son that is given from God, Mighty God, and the Everlasting Father and not be the Son of God
- He was born without sin. It was this lack of original sin, and His sinless life (as Hebrews 4:15 tells us “yet without sin”) that enabled Jesus to be acceptable to God as a lamb without spot or blemish.
- Our human flesh is weak, but the power of the incorruptible God is not, and so Jesus qualified to be our Passover lamb, the sacrifice needed to pay for our sins at Calvary.
Belief that Jesus came in the flesh is necessary, because, as we’d read in Ruth, in order to qualify as our kinsman-redeemer, and die for our sins, Jesus had to be 100% man—our close-kinsman. And so, the Gospel writers and epistle writers of the New Testament are careful to emphasize this repeatedly (see Romans 1:3-4). Remember that Jesus’ eligibility as redeemer is tied to His humanity and to ability to redeem is tied to His status as the only begotten Son of God, as is his Holiness. God kept His promises to David to Israel, and to Mary. And so He will keep His promises to you who are His adopted children through your faith in Jesus as Lord and Savior.