Dearest fellow Christ seeker!
– – In my search for Christ, I discovered some clues to the significance in his life in a deeper study of Luke’s Gospel, which I thought I’d share with you, “O most excellent Theophilus.”
Mary (Mariam) was a virgin in Nazareth, and Gabriel is sent from God to her. Suddenly this one who has stood before the face of Yahweh is speaking to her!
- Gabriel’s first word is a very common greeting in those times, “Hey! May your days be well! Great to see you! Rejoice!” all summed up in “Greetings” My that english word can be a bit of a let-down, but in the original it’s a joyful salutation. It’s like “Heyyyyyyy!!!” with a big smile.
- Then he calls her “highly favored.” It’s like In The Matrix, Dozer greets Neo with great excitement and anticipation for what is about to take place. The common solemnity of this occasion is enough to excite some people to fear, but here, this first word from Gabriel to Mary is very a version of: “Hey, you super-special person!”
- The Lord is with you. He is not trying to calm her down yet. He is pointing out what David recognized is the source of the fullness of Joy. “The Presence of the Lord.”
These three parts of his salutation are awesome. It’s about to be some very good news. And earlier in the chapter we got an example of what happens when people don’t believe when an angel is telling them good news. Cousin Zacharias has been silenced now for over 6 months rather inexplicably, because this same angel delivered some super special news, and he didn’t believe him. Mary’s response however is very human and humble. She is doing two things. She is deeply perplexed through and through, and she’s also pondering what kind of visit this is.
Then Gabriel unloads on her a super-duper bombshell of a lifestory.
Now, just to reveal: as I studied each verse, I wondered “What it would mean if he had just stopped there?” What was the significance of everything Gabriel told Mary. Since it was divine communication, kept treasured forever in the heart of a human concerning the salvation of all humanity and the world, I figured it be worth looking into.
- Don’t be afraid.–Mary needed to be calm enough to hear this.
- You have found favor with God–It always starts with God’s grace!
- Behold you will conceive in womb–Life will start
- And you will bill bear a son–Life will be born
- And you will call his name Jesus–The child shall be named.
- He will be great–this will be his quality
- And He will be called the son of the Most High–The child shall be named again.
- And the Lord will give him the throne of his father David.–He will inherit David’s Kingdom
- And he will rule over the house of Israel forever–He will rule in this kingdom forever
- And of his Kingdom there will be no end.–And there won’t be a time when he stops ruling, or when his kingdom falls apart.
These insights stand out to me from these poetic lines from Gabriel’s word.
- The Lord is compassionate of our frailty. He knows we can’t hear or remember anything He said if we are afraid.
- God’s Grace is what shone on Noah before it described him as righteous. It is His way to begin with the face of God’s gracious favor being turned in the direction of an individual through whom he would bring about His salvation. In these moments we glimpse the mirth of God who is glad at the beauty and effectiveness of His plan.
- Jesus’ life is outlined here from “Conceived, born, named . . . to given a throne, ruling, and never-ending. Each piece is important, and each piece speaks to something special that God is doing.
- The middle section is “He will be great and be called son of the Highest One.” There any many high ones, but this child will be son of the “Highest One.” Also, He is called twice, did you notice? First his name is called “Jesus” then he will be called “Son of the Most High.” A mystery, but is this just common parallelistic repeating in the scriptures or is there an intentional pattern here?
In any case, dear Laughing Son of God’s Grace, there is a lot of joy packed into these verses which overuse and traditional limelight can really make hard for our eyes to see.
Merry celebration of Jesus’ Birth! Which probably happened right around this time of year btw!