“He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto Him the throne of His father David: And He shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of His kingdom there shall be no end.” ~ Luke 1:32-33
In our text, the angel, Gabriel announces/prophecies FIVE (5) ways in which Jesus would be glorified because He came to save mankind:
- Greatness: “He shall be great”
- Recognition as Deity: “He shall be called the Son of The Highest”
- Sovereignty: “the Lord God shall give unto Him the throne of His father David”
- Eternal Rule: “He shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever”
- Eternal Kingdom: “of His kingdom there shall be no end”
All five prophecies have already begun to come true and will be fully realized after the final judgment (Revelation 21:1-22:5).
Crucially, however, these glorifications of Jesus also point to the place Jesus should have in each of our lives. And reveal a progression of honor by which Jesus becomes both Saviour and Lord for us.
“He shall be great…”
First, Jesus is to be great, uniquely special to us. There are many for whom Jesus is just a historical character, no greater, no more special, than any of a pantheon of prominent personalities. However, the first step towards redemption is recognizing that Jesus stands out from all men, that He is like no other, and thereby the focal point of human history.
Jesus must be unignorable to us, looming large in every facet of life. In short, to come to Jesus we must acknowledge that life is all about Jesus.
“And He is the head of the body, the church: Who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things He might have the preeminence.” (Colossians 1:18)
“…He shall be called the Son of The Highest…”
Second, we are to confess that Jesus is God. Many acknowledge Jesus as great, but not as God. Jesus’ greatness is accepted in many world religions (e.g., Islam, Judaism) and cults (e.g., Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses), but they deny His deity: they reject Him as God.
The same is true for many individuals, for whom Jesus is a great man but only a great man. However, to deny the deity of Jesus is to deny the truth of Scripture and to deny the very character of God.
“1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
14And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” (John 1:1, 14)
“For in [Christ] dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.” (Colossians 2:9)
If Jesus is not God, then there is no salvation. God must provide the ultimate sacrifice (Himself) to redeem man from the ultimate transgression: sin. If sin can be forgiven with less than the ultimate sacrifice, then sin is not the ultimate transgression. As Psalm 113 reveals,
“Who is like unto the Lord our God, who dwelleth on high,
Who humbleth Himself to behold the things that are in heaven, and in the earth!” (Psalm 113:5-6)
Even the things in heaven are beneath The Holy God! How then could anything beneath God be sufficient to atone for rebellion against God?
To accept Jesus, we must accept Him as He truly is; we cannot accept Jesus as less than Himself.
“Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.” (Matthew 1:23)
“…the Lord God shall give unto Him the throne of His father David…”
The third step, in the progression that leads to accepting Jesus as our Saviour and Lord, is to acknowledge Him as King. Many agree Jesus is great, many concede Jesus is God, but many have also not submitted to Jesus as their King: the one with supreme authority over our lives.
However, if we don’t accept Jesus as our King, we will not feel obliged to accept His authority over us or to obey His commands. For us to accept Jesus as Saviour we must first see Jesus as King, rightly having the authority to offer us salvation on His terms. Sin came about when man rejected God’s authority (Genesis 3). Salvation comes about when man accepts God’s authority: when we see Jesus as our King.
“These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for He is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with Him are called, and chosen, and faithful.” (Revelation 17:14)
We should note here that the term “His father David” refers to the fact that Jesus was in the biological lineage of David through His mother, Mary (Luke 3:23-38) and in the legal (but non-biological) lineage of David through Joseph (Matthew 1:1-17) both of which qualified Jesus as an heir to David’s throne.
In perhaps the simplest sense, the term “throne of…David” reminds us that David was God’s choice to rule over God’s people by the old covenant, Israel, the sons of Abraham by blood. And, in like manner, Jesus is God’s appointed choice to rule over God’s people by the new covenant (Hebrews 8:13, 12:24), the church, the sons of Abraham by faith in Jesus Christ (Romans 4:1-5:2, Ephesians 2:1-22, 1 Peter 2:9-10).
“…He shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever…”
This fourth step is the point at which salvation takes place. To acknowledge the eternal reign of Jesus Christ is to acknowledge that there is no other Saviour: Jesus is the only Word, the only way, the only truth, the only life (John 14:6). There is no new Word, no new way, no new truth, no new life now, or coming in the future. And, therefore, there is no other choice but to turn to Jesus for our salvation.
The name “Jacob” means “supplanter”. And every act of sin is an attempt to supplant God as rightful ruler over our lives and replace Him with ourselves. The “house of Jacob” then refers to sinners. And Christ rule over “house of Jacob” is Christ’s rule over sinners saved by grace.
Christ Jesus came to redeem us from sin: to save the supplanters: to save those who wanted to take His place: the ultimate demonstration of love. Salvation comes when the “house of Jacob” accept Christ as the eternal King.
“O house of Jacob, come ye, and let us walk in the light of the Lord.” (Isaiah 2:5)
“…of His kingdom there shall be no end…”
Fifth, and last, accepting that Jesus’ kingdom is eternal means that life is all about serving Him: life is about glorifying God. If Jesus is our King we must serve Him. If Jesus is our eternal King, then we must serve Him eternally: from NOW to forever. This is the principle of sanctification. To sanctify means to set apart. The citizen’s of Jesus’ kingdom are set apart forever to serve Him forever.
“…Unto Him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and hath made us kings and priests unto God and His Father; to Him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.” (Revelation 1:5b-6)