Son of the Most High
Advent reading: Luke 1:5-38
From the opening chapters of Genesis, the Old Testament looks forward to the fulfillment of God’s promise of a Savior. The New Testament, from the opening chapters of the Gospels, looks back to demonstrate that the promise has been fulfilled.
Luke begins with the angel Gabriel’s announcement that Zechariah and Elizabeth will have a son, and they shall call his name John. He announces that John will go before the Lord “in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children… to make ready for the Lord a people prepared”(Luke 1:16-17). These beginning verses of Luke’s Gospel link to the last verses of the Old Testament where the LORD announced, “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and awesome day of the Lord comes. And he will turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers…” (Malachi 4:5-6).
Six months later in the same chapter of Luke, God sends Gabriel to Nazareth “to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David” (Luke 1:26). That one sentence points to the fulfillment of God’s promise to David a thousand years before (2 Samuel 7:1-17) and to Isaiah’s prophecy 700 years before that a virgin would conceive (Isaiah 7:14).
The virgin Mary is told that she will conceive and bear a son, and call his name Jesus (Luke 1:31). Gabriel spoke of
- His deity: “He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High,” the Son of God.
- His royalty: “The Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David” (1:32).
- His eternal reign and kingdom: “He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of this kingdom there will be no end” (1:33).
Mary wonders how this will be since she is a virgin. The angel explains that this will be a creative act of the Holy Spirit: “The Holy Spirit will come upon you and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.” The result is given: “therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God” (1:35). That is how the Son of God would come into the world: through the virgin birth.
“How will this be, since I am a virgin?” That which seems impossible will happen “for nothing will be impossible with God” (1:37).
Salvation, like the virgin conception and birth, is impossible for man, but the impossible is possible with God. Mary’s response must be our response to the Good News of Jesus Christ: “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word” (1:38). We cannot save ourselves, but we can say, “Let it be to me according to your word.” “I am yours; save me!” (Psalm 119:94).