Sunday, December 13, 2020

Advent 4 Series B

Advent 4 Series B

Stir up Your power, O Lord, and come and help us by Your might, that the sins which weigh us down may be quickly lifted by Your grace and mercy; for you live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  

2 Samuel 7:1–11, 16
Romans 16:25–27
Luke 1:26–38

The Lord Builds a House for David: Jesus Christ Who Comes in the Flesh

 When King David “lived in his house and the Lord had given him rest from all his surrounding enemies,” he piously supposed that he would build a house for God (2 Samuel 7:1–2). But the Lord would turn it around: He would establish a house for David and an everlasting throne. This He has done not only for David, but also for all His people, in the Son of David, Jesus Christ, “conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary” (Apostles’ Creed). 

That holy child, the incarnate “Son of the Most High,” receives “the throne of his father David” and begins to reign “over the house of Jacob forever” (Luke 1:32–33). 

Having given Himself as a sacrifice for the sins of the world, His body is the true and eternal temple of God in which His people have their own place of peace and rest. That is “the mystery that was kept secret for long ages” but is now “made known to all nations, according to the command of the eternal God” in order that we may have faith and life in Christ (Romans 16:25–26).

Our Humble God

Rev. Dr. Daniel J Brege

 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. (Luke 1:31-32)                                                                        

It is beyond our imagination that the infinite God—the creator of the infinite as well as the creator of the infinitesimal—actually cares about us.  But then again He created us to be in His image and because of this He has a “natural” care for and about those who were established to be His children.  The infinite God actually lovingly condescends, or to put it differently, He humbles himself to show His care and concern for us fallen children. Various verses of Scripture describe this astounding attitude of God. 

The Psalmist thus exclaims in amazement, Who is like the Lord our God, who dwells on high, who humbles Himself to behold the things that are in the heavens and in the earth? He raises the poor out of the dust, and lifts the needy out of the ash heap… He grants the barren woman a home, like a joyful mother of children (113:5-7,9, NKJV).  Indeed God has always humbled Himself to associate with the lowly.

But then something even more extraordinary occurred.  God chose a humble, lowly virgin, and this virgin was tapped to be the very vessel of the Son of God; and not just His vessel, but His very mother; this humble, sinful virgin became the very mother of God!  And even more amazing, the Son of God, conceived in the virgin’s womb by the power of the Holy Spirit, humbled Himself to actually be a vulnerable human being, able to suffer and die.

To enable His sufferings and death, the Son of God entered what we call the State of Humiliation, a humble state—or condition of existence—in which the human being Jesus neither always nor fully used His divine attributes communicated to His human nature.  Sunday’s Gospel (Luke 1:26-38) describes how the Son of God was incarnate by the Holy Spirit. Such incarnation is not in itself the State of Humiliation; it only enabled it.  The incarnation also enabled the Son of God to later enter a State of Exaltation. Once God’s Son was conceived in Mary’s womb He literally became Mary’s child, and henceforth God’s Son permanently remains Mary’s son, one with our flesh and blood. Though becoming one with our flesh is not the equivalent of entering the State of Humiliation, nonetheless simultaneous with His becoming one of us God’s Son entered His State of Humiliation.  Though the Son of God possesses all power and all knowledge and is present everywhere, yet in this State of Humiliation He, like us, would grow in knowledge and stature and physical strength. For example he would learn the carpenter’s trade from His “father” Joseph and he would hear and be a student of Scripture like any other good Jewish boy.

Unlike the rest of us, sin did not get in the way of Jesus’ growth in understanding and wisdom.  His mind grasped the teachings of Holy Writ perfectly.  From hearing His mother’s testimony and from Holy Scripture Jesus perfectly grew in understanding His identity and His purpose. From chapters such as Isaiah 53 Jesus knew that He would have to bear the sins of mankind, and this would ultimately mean His sacrificial death.  He also realized from such chapters that He would rise from the dead.

After His resurrection He is no longer in a State of Humiliation.  Jesus, the son of Mary, is now in a State of Exaltation, a state in which He, as a man, is always and fully using the divine attributes communicated to His human nature.  Now, strange as it may sound, the man Jesus is using His omnipresence, His omniscience and His omnipotence.  He does this for us.  Now we may use the words of the Psalmist for Mary’s son:  Who is like the Lord our God, who dwells on high, who humbles Himself to behold the things that are in the heavens and in the earth? He raises the poor out of the dust, and lifts the needy out of the ash heap.  Yes, He through suffering, death and resurrection has lifted the poor and needy out of dust and ashes, and the Exalted One continues to humble himself to relate to us poor, miserable sinners.

Luke 1:26-39
The Birth of Jesus Foretold

Luke 1:26
Ἐν δὲ τῷ μηνὶ τῷ ἕκτῳ ἀπεστάλη ὁ ἄγγελος Γαβριὴλ ἀπὸ τοῦ θεοῦ εἰς πόλιν τῆς Γαλιλαίας ᾗ ὄνομα Ναζαρὲθ
In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth,

"sixth month" establishes a link between Jesus and the prophet John the Baptist.  All predicated on the conception of John. John is the one being sent. The heavens are unloading. It's happening now.  No-huddle, hurry up offense.

Nazareth was a small town off the main trade routes. Its insignificant size contrasts with Jerusalem, where Gabriel's previous appearance had taken place. 

John 1:46 - records the negative Judean opinion of Nazareth. “What good ever came out of Nazareth?” 

The region of Galilee contrasts with Judea. Surrounded as they were by Gentiles, the Galileans were not necessarily irreligious but many were somewhat lax regarding strict Jewish traditions. 

And what really is the point? Jesus did not come to the high and mighty, the religious. He came from a region of sinners and a family of sinners to redeem sinful people.

Luke 1:27
 πρὸς παρθένον ἐμνηστευμένην ἀνδρὶ ᾧ ὄνομα Ἰωσὴφ ἐξ οἴκου Δαυὶδ, καὶ τὸ ὄνομα τῆς παρθένου Μαριάμ
to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin's name was Mary.

"Betrothed" more than engaged. Mary is from house of David. See Luke 3.23-37 see vs. 31 we do not worship her but do not ignore her.  Another reference to virgin  παρθένου "Parthenon" 

Luke 1:28
καὶ εἰσελθὼν πρὸς αὐτὴν εἶπεν• Χαῖρε, κεχαριτωμένη, ὁ κύριος μετὰ σοῦ
And he came to her and said, "Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!"

Greetings” - Χαῖρε - rejoice!  -See Matthew 5:12, Acts 5:31, Romans 5, suffering accompanies rejoicing. She will experience disgrace, and watch her son murdered innocently. Rejoice that the Lord loves you so. 

κεχαριτωμένη - " you, favored with grace

Luke 1:29
ἡ δὲ ἐπὶ τῷ λόγῳ διεταράχθη καὶ διελογίζετο ποταπὸς εἴη ὁ ἀσπασμὸς οὗτος.
But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be.

Upon the word she was troubled. She knew enough to be worried. She is troubled by the word.  See Isaiah 6:1-5; Luke 1:11-12; Luke 1:28-30; Matthew 28:1-4. 

See also under Lutheran Satire U-tube video on "Angels"
Luke 1:30
καὶ εἶπεν ὁ ἄγγελος αὐτῇ• Μὴ φοβοῦ, Μαριάμ, εὗρες γὰρ χάριν παρὰ τῷ θεῷ• 
And the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 

"Stop fearing" - Μὴ φοβοῦ The Lord loves before He looks. He had regard for Able. Noah found favor. She feared, loved, trusted in God. She did co-operate with God. She does have faith yet it was received. 

Contingent upon the Word which comes to her - not her assent. God is not waiting to see her response. “The good and gracious will of God is done indeed without our prayer.” 

She simply says, “Yes! and Amen.”

Luke 1:31
καὶ ἰδοὺ συλλήμψῃ ἐν γαστρὶ καὶ τέξῃ υἱόν, καὶ καλέσεις τὸ ὄνομα αὐτοῦ Ἰησοῦν.  
And behold, - right here and now in time and space - you shall conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus.

THIS is where the conception takes place. 

"shall conceive" συλλήμψῃ are commands not future imperatives.

His name was to be Jesus, ἸησοῦνJehovah is salvation

Jesus is not a rare name in First Century Judea, but this is a telling command that He should be given such a name. Unlike everyone else with that name before and since, He will be the Actual Salvation of Jehovah. The prophet Zephaniah 3:17  pointed to the name in his prophecy that “The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save” that our God will be with Us and that He will save us.

Luke 1:32
οὗτος ἔσται μέγας καὶ υἱὸς Ὑψίστου κληθήσεται, καὶ δώσει αὐτῷ κύριος ὁ θεὸς τὸν θρόνον Δαυὶδ τοῦ πατρὸς αὐτοῦ,
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,

2 Samuel 7 - last promise that the throne will belong to David regardless of circumstances.

Great,” μέγας a title which, unqualified, is usually reserved for God.  

Almost 900 times the word “great” is used in the Bible. Generally, it is used to describe something big, important, or powerful, or it is used for God Himself. Many times, “great” is used in association with a miracle like the great shout of the people that felled the wall of Jericho. In Psalm 42 we read “For the LORD, the Most High, is to be feared, a GREAT king over all the earth” as an example of how it is used to describe God.

Luke 1:33
αὶ βασιλεύσει ἐπὶ τὸν οἶκον Ἰακὼβ εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας, καὶ τῆς βασιλείας αὐτοῦ οὐκ ἔσται τέλος.
and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end."

Forever = unto the end of the ages...

As heir to David’s throne He will reign over God’s people. 

As Mary is of the house of David, Jesus would be of the lineage of David, “The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David.”

This Son is the Messiah, come to fulfill God’s promise to save us. While many devout Jews at the time had the idea that the Messiah would be a political leader and would drive the Gentiles out of the Promised Land, there is something more than saving physical lives and restoring a temple made by men.

Jesus has come to live the perfect life we could not live. As both the Son of Mary and True Man and as the Son of the GREAT King, the LORD, the Most High.  He will take all of our sins and the sins of all men upon Himself, paying the full penalty we owe to the Father—death and eternal damnation. Upon His death, the debt was paid “…and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done…” resting in the tomb. And man was then reconciled with the Father and Jesus Christ was raised from the dead in glory the next day, on the first day of the week, showing that all had been accomplished, and all who would ever believe in Him are saved and written into the Book of Life. Jesus has come to bring  this true, lasting comfort.

His kingdom will be eternal. 

And he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” From His ascension, Jesus has been seated at the Right Hand of the Father reigning over His Heavenly kingdom. He is ever working to save His people until the Last Day when He will return to earth and all will be judged by Him. The unbelieving goats will be bound cast into the pit and His flock of believers will joyfully serve Him in His New Jerusalem, in His kingdom that will have no end.

Luke 1:34
εἶπεν δὲ Μαριὰμ πρὸς τὸν ἄγγελον• Πῶς ἔσται τοῦτο, ἐπεὶ ἄνδρα οὐ γινώσκω; 
And Mary said to the angel, "How will this be, since I am a virgin?"

"How will this be?" is a question asked in faith. 

"A man I do not know" literally spoken. 

Luke 1:35
καὶ ἀποκριθεὶς ὁ ἄγγελος εἶπεν αὐτῇ• Πνεῦμα ἅγιον ἐπελεύσεται ἐπὶ σέ, καὶ δύναμις Ὑψίστου ἐπισκιάσει σοι• διὸ καὶ τὸ γεννώμενον ἅγιον κληθήσεται, υἱὸς θεοῦ• 
And the angel answered her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy-the Son of God."

Luke 1:36
καὶ ἰδοὺ Ἐλισάβετ ἡ συγγενίς σου καὶ αὐτὴ συνείληφεν υἱὸν ἐν γήρει αὐτῆς, καὶ οὗτος μὴν ἕκτος ἐστὶν αὐτῇ τῇ καλουμένῃ στείρᾳ
And behold, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren.

Luke 1:37
ὅτι οὐκ ἀδυνατήσει παρὰ τοῦ θεοῦ πᾶν ῥῆμα.
For nothing will be impossible with God."

Luke 1:38
εἶπεν δὲ Μαριάμ• Ἰδοὺ ἡ δούλη κυρίου• γένοιτό μοι κατὰ τὸ ῥῆμά σου. καὶ ἀπῆλθεν ἀπ’ αὐτῆς ὁ ἄγγελος.
And Mary said, "Behold, (right now in time and space reality) I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word." And the angel departed from her.

Luke 1:39
Ἀναστᾶσα δὲ Μαριὰμ ἐν ταῖς ἡμέραις ταύταις ἐπορεύθη εἰς τὴν ὀρεινὴν μετὰ σπουδῆς εἰς πόλιν Ἰούδα,
In those days Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a town in Judah.

The Greek New Testament: SBL Edition. Copyright © 2010 by Society of Biblical Literature and Logos Bible Software 

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