St. John's & Zion Lutheran Churches

Jesus Is

Text: 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.

Just who is Jesus, anyway? You might think that the answer is obvious. We all know who Jesus is. Yet, if you look in our world today, you will find many different opinions about Jesus. For example, the Jehovah’s Witness would say that Jesus was the first-born of all creation, referring to Colossians 1:15 (The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.). By this, they mean that Jesus was the first thing that God created, not that he actually is the Son of God, as we think of him. Mainstream Islam thinks of Jesus as an ordinary man, who was chosen by God to spread his message. He was the forerunner of Mohammed. There are those who think that Jesus was only a myth, much like the Greek and Roman myths of gods and goddesses. Others today will acknowledge that Jesus really did exist, but only as a charismatic preacher, who advocated love and women’s rights and respect for children, who spoke out against the hypocrisy of the religious leaders and the rich. Jesus, in speaking with his disciples, asked them, point blank, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” (Matthew 6:13) Let us today, as we celebrate Jesus’ birth, ask ourselves this question, “Who is Jesus?” Based on the angel’s pronouncement to Mary, we see that JESUS IS 1. The Son Of God, 2. The Fulfillment of Old Testament Prophecy and 3. The Everlasting King.

Gabriel told Mary that the child she would bear would be “called the Son of the Most High.” (Verse 32) This is important for us to remember, especially at this time of year. We have our manger sets with the little baby in the middle of the scene. We may get sentimental about the baby being born under such circumstances. We need to remember when we look at that little baby that this is no one less than the almighty Son of God. He was not just the first thing created, as the Jehovah’s Witnesses allege. He is God’s own Son, eternally begotten of the Father. This is an important fact that we dare not overlook. God sent down just the type of Savior we needed. Yes, he was a human being, born of the Virgin Mary, but he was also the Son of God, having been conceived by the Holy Spirit. If Jesus had been only a human being, he could never have been our Savior. He would have been born sinful, as you and I are. He could never have been perfect, which is what you and I needed, if we were going to be saved. You and I know how often we stray from God’s perfect path. We do so with our words. We do so with our actions. We even stray in our thoughts. We should have spent our eternity in hell because of these sins. Jesus stepped in and was perfect for us. As a human being, he was subject to God’s law, yet as the Son of God, he was perfect. Since God demands that sin be paid for, Jesus again stepped in and took our place. He had to be a human being, so that he could suffer and die. He had to be true God, so that his death would count for all people. When you look into that manger and see that little one, wrapped tightly in strips of cloth, you may feel the strings of your heart being tugged, and that’s OK. After all, what a way to welcome a baby into the world. Yet, do not overlook the fact that this is indeed the “Son of the Most High.” This makes the greatness, by which he will be called, even more pronounced because it is going to be combined with humility and the eagerness of the Exalted One to sacrifice himself for the salvation of sinners. So, who is Jesus? He is “The Son of the Most High.”

The second thing that Gabriel told Mary about this child was that “The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David.” (Verse 32) This is a direct reference to a promise that God made to King David. David had in mind to build a temple for the Lord in Jerusalem. God did not allow him to do so. However, God made this promise to David, “The LORD declares to you that the LORD himself will establish a house for you: When your days are over and you rest with your ancestors, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, your own flesh and blood, and I will establish his kingdom. He is the one who will build a house for my Name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.” (2 Samuel 7:11-13) This is a prophecy that pointed to David’s son, Solomon, but it was also a prophecy that pointed ahead to David’s greater Son, Jesus Christ.

When Gabriel told Mary that “The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David,” (Verse 32) he was telling her that Jesus was the one who would be the fulfillment of all the Old Testament prophecies that had been spoken over the centuries. Going all the way back to Adam and Eve, after they fell into sin, God told the devil, “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.” (Genesis 3:15) Prophecy after prophecy was told to God’s people. These were not just some vague fortunes, like you might find in a fortune cookie. They were specific. Here are some of the prophecies that God gave. The prophet Isaiah, who lived around 740 BC, disclosed that the Messiah would be born of a virgin. A contemporary of Isaiah, Micah, revealed that the Messiah would be born in the sleepy little town of Bethlehem. Bible scholars point to more than forty clear prophecies that refer to the Messiah, all of which were fulfilled by Jesus alone. They include: his childhood would be spent in Egypt; he would ride triumphantly into Jerusalem on a donkey; he would suffer for the sins of the world; he would be hung in a cross, but contrary to the custom, none of his bones would be broken; men would gamble for his clothes; his exact dying words; he would come back to life.

What are the odds that a person could fulfill all the Old Testament prophecies about the Messiah as Jesus did? One mathematician, who calculated the odds, illustrated the answer in this way. Suppose that the state of Texas, some 267,000 square miles, could be covered three feet deep with silver dollars. He calculated that this would take 7.5 trillion cubic feet of silver dollars. Only one of those silver dollars would be marked with a red X and buried randomly in the pile. Finally, a blindfolded man would be dropped from an airplane anywhere over Texas and allowed to stumble around for days, knee deep in silver dollars, before he would be allowed to select just one coin. The odds that the man would select the silver dollar with the X are the same odds as one man satisfying all the prophecies of the Messiah.

When Gabriel told Mary that the Lord would “give him the throne of his father David,” (Verse 32) he was announcing to Mary that the hopes and dreams of the Old Testament believers would be fulfilled in the child she would bear. Dear friend, rejoice as you look at the Baby in Bethlehem’s stall. Here lies the hope and salvation of mankind. His coming was foretold and anticipated for centuries. You have seen the fulfillment of all those Old Testament prophecies. That is who Jesus is.

Finally, the angel told Mary that “He will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.” (Verse 33) When we hear those words, we might scratch our heads. After all there is no house or nation of Jacob around today, at least not in the political sense. Even the mighty kingdom of David was no more than a distant memory at the time when Jesus was born. Can we truly say that Jesus is the fulfillment of this announcement, as well? The answer is “Yes.” This fact becomes clear when we read Romans 9:6-8, “Not all who are descended from Israel are Israel. Nor because they are his descendants are they all Abraham’s children. On the contrary, ‘It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.’ In other words, it is not the children by physical descent who are God’s children, but it is the children of the promise who are regarded as Abraham’s offspring.” These verses tell us that there is a difference between physical Israel and spiritual Israel. A person who is of Jewish descent would be a part of physical Israel. A person who believes that Jesus is the Savior of mankind is a part of spiritual Israel. This fact was promised to Abraham in Genesis 15, when God told Abraham, “Look up at the sky and count the stars — if indeed you can count them. So shall your offspring be.” (Genesis 15:5) Later, Paul remarking on this verse wrote, “Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, ‘So shall your offspring be.’” (Romans 4:18) Abraham, the grandfather of Jacob, has become the father of many nations, as people from around the world are brought to faith in Jesus Christ as their Savior.

You and I became members of this everlasting kingdom the day that we were brought to faith. Jesus is not some sort of cruel dictator, either. Jesus, our loving King, only wants what is best for us. He has promised to care for us. He has promised his protection. He has promised to hear all our prayers and will answer them in whatever way is the best for us. There is nothing that this loving King will not do for your benefit. This is evidenced from the fact that he was willing to suffer and die, and that he rose again. He made sure that you would be with him for all eternity. Surely, he will be there for us every day, as well.

It says, “His kingdom will never end.” (Verse 33) Nothing can separate us from this loving King’s rule. Even death will not separate the child of God from his loving King’s rule. Instead, he will be able to enjoy even more fully the blessings that Jesus won for him. As the hymn writer put it, “When we’ve been there ten thousand years, bright shining as the sun; we’ve no less days to sing God’s praise than when we first begun.” (CW 379:4) Our King reigns now and he will reign forever. We hear the words of Revelation 11, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Messiah, and he will reign for ever and ever..” (Revelation 11:15) Jesus has always been ruling with his Father and he will continue to reign for all eternity. That is who Jesus is.

So, how would you answer the question? If someone were to come to you and ask, “Who is Jesus,” what would you say? There are so many different ideas floating out there, many of which have nothing to do with what the Bible says. We thank God that he has revealed to us the answer to one of life’s most important questions. We know who Jesus is. He is the almighty Son of God. He is the fulfillment of all Old Testament prophecies. He is an everlasting King. He is our Savior. That is who Jesus is. Amen.