Luke 1:31-33 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name JESUS. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end."
Who is this Jesus?
In Matthew we find out that the name Jesus is given to him because He is going to save. The name is a variant of the Old Testament name Joshua which means Jehovah the Savior or Jehovah saves. Matthew 1:21 says, “And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins." The angel foretold the means of the Lord’s birth, the name of the Lord, the greatness of the Lord and the everlasting kingdom of the Lord. What was left out was the rejection of the Lord. How can one Who never had wealth, Who came from a humble city called Nazareth, and Who was born without a natural father (and thus was illegitimate in the eyes of many), be someone great? How could the Lord who came unto His own but was not received by them (John 1:11) be someone great?
Fulfillment of the Prophecy
This prophecy will be literally fulfilled when the Lord sets up his earthly 1000 year reign, yet the prophecy overlooks many things that happened between the Lord’s birth and His earthly reign. There is a lesson here for us. Everything that the Lord says will happen or that He says has happened is accurate and true. But the Lord hasn’t told us everything in each of His prophecies. And sometimes we think God’s word has failed when in fact we are living out events that were not included in the prophecies we are considering. Thus, everything in the above prophecy will be literally fulfilled but there are some other events that will happen that aren’t covered here. One is the crucifixion and one is the resurrection. One is the ascension back to heaven. Another has to do with all the events associated with His coming again. We don’t see those events in this prophecy directly, but they must all occur in order for the Lord to be great. All of these events are foretold elsewhere, but the timeline with regard to all of these events was not clear until the events took place. For example, we know that the Lord had to suffer before He could reign. This passage deals with His reign. Isiah 53 and Psalm 22 deal with His suffering. But how and when do the events unfold? The nation of Israel still is having trouble figuring that out since they do not consider Jesus to be their Messiah. But for those of us who accept the testimony of the New Testament witnesses, the timeline for us is now clear.
When will He be Great?
For the New Testament believer, the Lord is already great. And yet, we understand that before He could be great He had to humble Himself and become obedient unto death (Philippians 2:8). Looking at those events from a natural point of view, the Lord didn’t seem so great. Even those crucifying Him thought that if He was the Son of God, He could and should save Himself. But of course to be great, He couldn’t. God has now exalted Him and given Him a name that is above every name. We exalt Him when we trust Him. The Jewish nation will one day have to confess, “Surely He has borne our griefs And carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed (Isaiah 53:4-5).” Only then will He be considered great by the nation that rejected Him at His first coming.. The unbelieving nations will also be forced to acknowledge the greatness of this one called Jesus when the Lord descends on the white horse with the armies of heaven supporting Him to save the Jews from being exterminated. Philippians 2 reminds us that one day every knee shall bow at the name of Jesus.
I think He is Pretty Great
Much of what is practiced as Christianity today is all about us. We go to the church of our choice. We go where the music pleases us. We go where there are programs for people who need marriage and financial and drug counseling and where our children can find mates. These things are all well and good. But we make bad choices in these areas if our Christianity is always all about us. We need to find out how great the Lord is. Then we will find our needs met by the Lord through others who have also realized how great this man is.
There was an afternoon sitting in my room all alone pondering my own need of this Savior, that I came to understand that He Had already died to save me and I had His Word for that. He took me a nobody, a sinner of the Gentiles and made me a child of God by faith. Thus, I am glad that I found that this Jesus was and is great. It is nice in a day when loyalty is in short supply, that I can honestly say that the Lord has always been loyal to me. He has been faithful. I can honestly say that He is pretty great. I hope my reader can say that as well.
Meditation for the week of March 19, 2017