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ADVENT 2019 | Son of the Most High

12.16.19 | Advent | by Dave Dietz

ADVENT 2019 | Son of the Most High

    December the 16th finds us again in the Gospel, of Luke chapter 1 verses, 26-38:

    In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”

    Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”

    “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”

    The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. For no word from God will ever fail.”

    “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her.

    “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.” These are the first words Mary heard from the angel Gabriel. When Gabriel told Mary that she would have a son, he was echoing a promise that can be found throughout the entire Old Testament. God picked David, the youngest of eight brothers, a young shepherd and made him king of Israel. God promised David, after he died, that one of his descendants would reign on his throne forever:

    “The days are coming,” declares the LORD,
    “when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch,
    a King who will reign wisely
    and do what is just and right in the land. (Jeremiah 23:5)

    You said, “I have made a covenant with My chosen one,
    I have sworn to David My servant,
    I will establish your line forever
    and make your throne firm through all generations.” (Psalm 89:3-4)

    For to us a child is born,
    to us a son is given,
    and the government will be on his shoulders.
    And he will be called
    Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
    Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
    Of the greatness of his government and peace
    there will be no end.
    He will reign on David’s throne
    and over his kingdom,
    establishing and upholding it
    with justice and righteousness
    from that time on and forever.
    The zeal of the LORD Almighty
    will accomplish this. (Isaiah 9:6-7)

    We learned on December the 14th that Gabriel stands in the presence of God:

    The angel said to him, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to tell you this good news.” (Luke 1:19)

    He was sent to Zechariah to bring him the good news that his and Elizabeth’s prayer had been heard by God. Elizabeth, who was barren and old in age, was going to bear Zechariah a son. In the sixth month of Elizabeth's pregnancy, the angel Gabriel was sent to Mary to bring her the great news that she was chosen to be the mother of Jesus, the Son of God.

    Can you imagine that, being chosen to be the mother of the Son of God? I would have had a lot of fear, and a lot of questions, not the least of which, what is Joseph going to say about this? What are the townspeople going to say about this? Mary had but one question:

    “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”

    I think Mary’s question was more out of wonder than doubting or disbelief. The last sentence of Gabriel’s response is reminiscent of God’s response to Abraham:

    Then the LORD said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh and say, ‘Will I really have a child, now that I am old?’ Is anything too hard for the LORD? I will return to you at the appointed time next year, and Sarah will have a son.” (Genesis 18:13-14)

    But Mary answered with a calm, humble spirit; “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” What favor Mary found with God we aren't told but, at least a part of it must have been her courage and her humility. That's a lesson for us today, isn't it?

    On December the 15th we saw the prophecy in Isaiah 7:14 that told us about the coming virgin birth of the Messiah, and how that prophecy was fulfilled through Mary. Today we have seen the announcement from the angel Gabriel that Mary was chosen to be the mother of Jesus.

    In fact, there are at least five prophecies answered in this announcement: first, the virgin birth of Jesus (Isaiah 7:14); second, He will be called the Son of God (Psalm 2:7); third, He will sit on the throne of His father David (Isaiah 9:7 & Jeremiah 23:5); fourth, He will reign over the house of Jacob (Numbers 24:17); and fifth, His kingdom will have no end (Psalm 45:6-7 & Daniel 2:44).

    Mary is told by Gabriel that she will give the baby the name Jesus. The Old Testament form is Yeshua (Joshua) meaning “YAHWEH is salvation.” This baby will grow up to be the Messiah that Israel has been waiting for; Immanuel, God with us.

    The ornament that goes beside the tree is a small sign with the words of Luke 1:32 printed on it.