This advent season we’ve taken more of a 360-degree view of Jesus. In looking to the various names prophesied for Him in Isaiah 9:6, we’ve been able to explore His life, ministry, and character from multiple angles. Those different angles speak to the richness of our Savior. This week as we draw nearer to Christmas day, let us continue looking to the coming Christ child by exploring the angel Gabriel's description of Him in Luke 1.
Wednesday, December 16th
Larger Portion of Scripture - Luke 1
Focused Passage for Reflection - Luke 1:26-38
Reflecting on the Text:
You can tell a lot about the glory of a leader from the glory of the messenger who introduces him. When the President of the United States makes his way around the country, one of the most important “locals” will come to the podium to introduce him. And then the President will walk up to the platform with the sound of the band playing in the background. It’s an impressive show. But it bears no comparison to the angel Gabriel showing up on the scene.
Gabriel is an angel who stands in the presence of God. That description alone speaks to his weightiness. But the weightiness of his message, and of the One he has been sent to introduce far surpasses his own glory. In all his glory, Gabriel comes to Mary with a message from the Lord. She has found favor with the Lord and has been chosen to bear the Christ child.
With this greeting, Gabriel “introduces” the child to His mother by telling her His name. In the brief introduction found in vv. 31-32, Gabriel shares two names. The first speaks to His mission, the second to His lineage. Gabriel first tells Mary, “you shall call His name Jesus.” It is a name rich with meaning, spelled out for us more clearly in Matthew 1:21. There, Joseph was told, “you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save his people from their sins.” His name Jesus speaks to His mission of salvation.
The second name given by Gabriel refers to His family line. “He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High.” The Most High is the Almighty…Almighty God, or the Most High God. This child is the very Son of God, given to Mary, and all His people as the Savior of sinners.
This is the child we celebrate at Christmas. He is a child whose glory far surpassed that of His messenger because both His lineage and His mission were far superior. He came for Mary. He came for His people. He came for us…to save us from our sins. But there was more in Gabriel’s brief introduction. Not only did He come to save. He came to reign…forever. And “of His kingdom, there will be no end.”
Mary’s mind and heart must have been swimming with questions at this point! But regardless of all we may have said in response, she asked one simple question and offered one simple response. The question? How? How can this be? And to her simple question, Gabriel offered a simple response. God will do this. Nothing is impossible with God.
Mary simply, and beautifully received this answer. How do we know? We can tell in her response. “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” It is a response of submission matched with joyful celebration (as shown later in vv. 46-55).
This Christmas, with all we have heard and learned about the Christ child through the names given Him, joy is most certainly an appropriate response. Celebration is also an appropriate response. But what might it look like for joy and celebration to be blended with simple submission? With Mary, let us marvel at the proclamation of His everlasting reign, but in our marveling, let us also respond in sweet, simple submission.
Questions for personal reflection:
What does joyful, celebratory submission look like in your life?
What could joyful, celebratory submission look like?