And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to 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.”
- Luke 1:30 – 33
The nine months before a baby takes his or her first breath are filled with mystery. Most parents spend a lot of time thinking about a name that will capture their hopes for their baby and imagining the different things their child will experience. Will this baby be shy or outgoing? Athletic or artistic? What struggles will he face? What joys will fill her heart? So many dreams are packed into such a short time. And so much is hidden as the child grows in the womb.
When God the Father was getting ready to send God the Son into our world, he wanted to make sure nothing was hidden. He wanted everyone to know who his son was and exactly why he had come. So God sent Gabriel to tell Mary the exact name that would capture her son’s purpose for coming and a few of the things he would experience while he was here.
God’s name for the baby in Mary’s womb was Jesus. Jesus is a combination of two Hebrew words. Yahu, which is the personal name for God, and shua, which means a call for salvation. So Jesus literally means the LORD saves or this is the LORD’s salvation.
In giving this name to Mary’s son, God was telling everyone that God’s rescuer was resting in Mary’s womb.
God also told Mary what her son would experience. He will be great…and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David…and of his kingdom there will be no end.
These words reveal so much. They reveal that Mary’s son will be great. He will be called the Son of the Most High. In other words, Mary’s child was not an ordinary human. He was, in fact, the second member of the Trinity, God the Son, entering into human history to be carried and crucified by hands that he formed.
Also, Mary’s son will be given the throne of his father David. This was a big deal because God promised David that one day a king would come from his family to establish a forever kingdom of peace, righteousness and blessing. He promised that a savior king would fulfill all the promises God had made to his people.
This promise to David was just one promise in a long line of promises God had made to his people. To Adam and Eve God promised a child who would destroy the deceiving serpent. To Abraham God promised a son who would bring blessing to the world. Through Isaiah God promised a servant who would suffer for their sins.
And with this single pronouncement from Gabriel, everyone who had ears to hear knew that God’s promises were about to be fulfilled. The great deliverer was on his way. The child of Eve who would crush the Serpent was coming. The seed of Abraham who would bring blessing was being born. The rightful heir of David was bringing his kingdom. The suffering servant was in the virgin’s womb.
God’s declaration to Mary filled her with wonder, anticipation and worship. It called her to find her place in God’s unfolding story of redemption. God’s salvation is coming! God’s rescue is on its way! These words echoed in Mary’s mind, until she felt them stir in her womb. And in that moment she knew in a few short months she would see him who the world had hoped for.
Today as you prepare for Christmas, meditate on Gabriel’s message to Mary. A Savior King is being born! You shall call his name Jesus! Let the reality of those words echo in your heart. Let them impact you the way they must have first impacted Mary.
God came! God is coming! Can you feel it?