“For nothing will be impossible with God” (Luke 1:37). It’s an overwhelming statement made by Gabriel the angel in his announcement to Mary, the virgin mother of Jesus. 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 heal, except here. God can forgive, except me. We live in a world darkened by doubt and hopelessness. The incarnation of Christ introduces us to the idea that God breaks 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
Mary and Joseph lived in a tough time of history. Herod was a controversial king over Judea. The census enforced by the Roman Empire wasn’t 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 wouldn’t 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 was leaving the throne room of heaven to arrive on the dirty earth. Jesus gave up His omnipresence to enter Mary’s womb in microscopic fashion. He was born as we are but conceived by the Holy Spirit. In doing so, Jesus didn’t inherit the sin nature from Adam’s race. He arrived as the spotless Lamb of God to take away the sin of the world.
The virgin birth reveals that we can’t save ourselves because of our tainted nature. Our morality and achievements will all fall short so God intervenes by His power. But the Son of God arrives in fragility to display God’s great power. A life lived in perfection will end in a brutal execution. But, for now, the Christ child displays the immensity of power God is willing to exert so that we might be saved.
The Titles of Jesus Reveal God’s Authority
Looking at 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 and He’ll do it through this Child.
Gabriel also described Jesus as the “Son of the Most High” (v. 32). Only God’s Son can complete the mission of redemption. 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. Jesus isn’t one of the ways to salvation. He isn’t the best way to salvation. Because of His royal rule, He is the only way to salvation.
Thirdly, the angel said that Jesus will “reign over the house of Jacob forever” (v. 33). 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 authority over all powers, Jesus has no rivals and no equals.
Finally, Gabriel said that “his kingdom will have no end” (33). Every kingdom of the world’s history eventually comes to 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, can’t fade or fail. He has ruled from eternity past and will do so for eternity future. Entering this terrestrial space, Jesus reestablishes 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.
The arrival of Jesus should encourage us in numerous ways. As you and your family move through the Christmas season, take time to focus on His greatness and power. We can happily come under His authority. With Mary-like faith, be ready to serve His kingdom purposes. It is a time to be merry and bright under the covenant promises of God.
This article is adapted from HomeLife Magazine.