Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Observe & investigate - Lk. 1:26-38


1. John was to be "great" and his work was to be one of reformation and readying the people of Israel to meet God (1:16-17). However, Jesus was to be "great" and was to reign and rule over all the people of Israel (1:32-33). Elizabeth was to bear a godly son, but Mary was to bear "the Son of God." The reformer was to ready people for the ruler. John was to stir up loyalty to the coming royalty, Jesus.

2. John was one who would be "filled with the Holy Spirit" even before he was born(1:15). However, the Holy Spirit is not mentioned in connection with Jesus here, but with Mary, in that the Holy Spirit would "come upon" her and "the power of the Most High" would "overshadow" her (1:35). John would indeed be empowered to do what he did, but it would take Mary being empowered just to bear "the Son of the Most High" - "the Son of God."

3. Great grace typically involves great, personal price. Grace doesn't come cheap. No wonder Mary "was shook" and "wondered what kind of greeting this might be" when Gabriel told her she was 'highly favored." (1:28-29)

4. It would seem on whoever God's favor lands, his Holy Spirit is also found. (1:28,35)

5. Three times this passage states that Mary was a virgin (vs.27[2x],34) before she conceived Jesus. Elizabeth's pregnancy in her elderly years was nothing short of remarkable (1:36), but Mary's pregnancy was nothing short of the working of the impossible (1:37).

6. Whatever the relationship is between "the Lord God" and "the Son of the Most High," it is "the Lord God" who is supreme for he will "give" the throne to Jesus (1:32). As great as Jesus is, Jesus is not the center of all things. God the Father is "the Most High" (1:35).

7. Jesus is "the Son of God" (1:35b). Sons tend to be like their father ("like father like son"). I can understand who the Most High God is if I look closely at his Son.

8. As Elizabeth's pregnancy was a bit of "proof" to Mary that God can do what he will, when he will, with whoever he will (1:36), so we would do well to be reminded by Mary's pregnancy that the one who can do what he will, when he will with whoever he will is "with us" (1:28b).

9. "No word from god will ever fail" (1:37). And so the proper response to receiving anything from the Most High God whether in terms of promise or command is the humble, submissive, obedient, unquestioning, unhesitating response Mary gave:
"I am the Lord's servant; his will be done" (1:38).

10. It was God's plan for his Son to some into this world and rule. May he do just that, beginning with me.


1. “The Old Testament was familiar with the concept of the divine fatherhood. Israel had been declared to be God’s first-born son (Ex.4:22; Hos.11:1; Jer.31:20), and, because the nation’s life, character, and destiny were summed up in its ruler, the Davidic king was the particular embodiment of this sonship (2 Sam.7:14; Ps.2:7). Since the monarchy came to an end, Israel had been waiting for its restoration under the Lord’s Anointed, the Messiah, ‘great David’s greater Son’, who would in a special sense be called the Son of the Most High. But . . . as the Gospel proceeds, we shall see Jesus taking this inherited notion and remodeling it in the crucible of his own experience.” [Caird 52-53]

2. “Luke has a rather large place for angels as God’s means of announcing, instructing, guiding, and protecting (1:11,26; 2:8-15; Acts 8:26; 12:7).” [Craddock, 27]

3. “Nazareth is not mentioned in the OT, Josephus, or rabbinical writings. . . . The later prominence of the town is the result of the Christian gospel tradition.” [Fitzmyer 1:343]

4. “Throughout chapters 1-2, Mary is portrayed as favored of God (vs.30), thoughtful (vs.29; 2:19,51), obedient (vs.38), believing (vs.45), worshipful (vs.46), and devoted to Jewish law and piety (2:22-51).” [Craddock, 27-28]

5. “. . . clear allusions to the dynastic oracle of Nathan in 2 Samuel 7. Compare the following:

2 Sam. 7:9 – “a great throne”
2 Sam. 7:13 – “the throne of his kingdom”
2 Sam. 7:14 – “he will be my son”
2 Sam. 7:16 – “your house and your kingdom”
Luke 1:32 – “he will be great”
Luke 1:32 – “throne of his father David”
Luke 1:32 – “Son of the Most High”
Luke 1:33 – “king over the house of Jacob forever” [Fitzmyer 1:338]

6. “Jesus’ mother bears the name of the famous sister of Moses, Miriam.” [Fitzmyer 1:344]

7. “[vs.30-31] It is, of course, a complete misunderstanding which translates [cf. the Latin Vulgate] the words, ‘Hail Mary, full of grace’, and understands them to mean that Mary was to be a source of grace to other people. Gabriel is simply saying that God’s favor rests on her.” [Morris, 72]

8. “In Palestine of the time of the marriage of a young girl took place in two acts: (a) the engagement or formal exchange of agreement to marry in the presence of witnesses and the paying of the mohar, ‘bride price’; (b) the marriage proper or the ‘taking’ of the girl to the man’s home. The engagement gave the groom legal rights over the girl, who could already be called his ‘wife.’ It could only be broken by his divorcing her, and any violation of his marital rights by her was regarded as adultery. After the engagement the girl usually continued to live in her family home for about a year before being taken to her husband’s home.” [Fitzmyer 1:343-344]

9. “[vs.35] ‘will come upon you.’ . . . Only in . . . Acts 1:8 is it [the verb eperchesthai] is it again used by Luke of the ‘coming’ of the Spirit on the disciples.” [Fitmyer 1:351]