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Friday, December 3, 2010

12/3/10 Luke 1:29- 33 A Royal Prediction (Advent)

29 Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 30 But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. 32 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, 33 and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”

(Annunciation, Henry Tanner)

Thoughts: This passage is full of royal overtones. Particularly it speaks of entering the presence of the King of Kings who appoints princes.  Exodus 33:20 says that no one can fully see God's face and live- perhaps this added to Mary's natural fear.  Maybe you remember the story of Esther in which the queen was only allowed in the presence of the king by invitation, or if he extended the scepter toward her.  Otherwise to be in his presence meant death.  Mary is granted favor with the King of kings in much the same way that Esther was granted favor in the presence of the King of Persia who extended a scepter to her so that she would not be killed (Esther 4:11; 5:12).  The angel tells her to not be afraid for God would bless her with a son.  The angel tells him what He is to be called, and that he would be a Prince- but not just any prince: rather a prince who will rule forever- inheriting the throne of David.  It is interesting that two things were dying out during the time of Christ: 1) the Davidic line and throne (the Hasmonean line was all but dead), and 2) the sacrifices in the temple- stopped within a generation of Jesus' death.  God was interested in continuing the work of the king (governing), and of the priest (sacrificing).  This took a major act that started with the angel's coming to Mary. The king was coming- and coming through Mary.  Because this king/priest came through Mary we can approach the throne of grace with confidence (Heb. 4:16). In a time in which the Federal Bank spends 3 trillion dollars without any government approval, in which huge debates about morality are going on, and so many are oblivious to the presence of God- it is important to enter the presence of the King of Kings through prayer!

Prayer: Lord, may I find your favor.  May those who come after me praise your name forever and ever.

John Calvin abridged: The angel had not been sent to her for trivial purposes.  We too should not be careless observers of the works of God; and our consideration should be regulated by fear and reverence.  A person receives favor not when they seek it, but when it is freely given.  The angel adapts his words to Isaiah's prophecty (7:14).  The word "conceive" sets aside any idea that Christ was only a ghost or phantom.  Here Jesus is given a name "Jesus" meaning salvation, and titles Jesus, the anointed one, Son of God. Christ's throne was erected among the people of Israel that He might be given the entire world.

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