“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.”
Every time I hear the Christmas song Mary, Did You Know?, my first thought is, “Yes, she did.” At least up to a point, she did. The Bible says that there were several times in Jesus’ life that Mary “pondered” these things in her heart (Luke 2:19, 51). Undoubtedly she spent those thirty-three years worrying and pondering from time to time over the meaning of Simeon’s dire prophecy to her and Joseph that “a sword will pierce through your own soul also” (Luke 2:35), only to discover all too clearly what they meant at the foot of her Son’s cross of pain and death (John 19:25-27). By the time we last read of her in the New Testament, she is among her resurrected and ascended Son’s disciples in the days immediately before His church began, indicating that she was a fully devoted and loyal follower (Acts 1:14).
What did she know after Gabriel’s initial announcement? She knew that her pregnancy and birth of Jesus would be miraculous in nature, done through the power of the Holy Spirit (Luke 1:34-35). While this news would bring Mary joy as it would most expectant mothers, it would also be cause for alarm and unease.
After all, Mary was a Jewish virgin betrothed to Joseph; a betrothal in that time legally bound the groom and bride even though the marriage had not yet been consummated. Under the Law of Moses she could be stoned for fornication (Deuteronomy 22:23). Joseph knew this and thus was planning to put her away quietly in order to try to spare her life before God explained to him what was going on (Matthew 1:18-25). Who would believe that her pregnancy was a miracle of God?
She also knew that her boy would be the Son of God the Most High and that He would rule on David’s throne over the house of Jacob, being the King of an eternal kingdom (Luke 1:32-33, 35). The Jews of Jesus’ day thought that was a physical kingdom (Acts 1:8), as do many in both Judaism and Christendom today. However, in reality Jesus’ kingdom is spiritual in nature, not physical (John 18:36).
This eternal kingdom was prophesied to begin during the days of the Roman empire (Daniel 2:1-44; cf. Luke 3:1-2; Matthew 3:1-2), during the lifetimes of Jesus’ apostles (Mark 9:1). Jesus spoke of His kingdom and the church interchangeably (Matthew 16:18-19), while Paul and the other New Testament writers living in the days of Rome told Christians, members of the church, that they were currently in the kingdom (Colossians 1:13; Hebrews 12:28; 1 Thessalonians 2:12; Revelation 1:6, 9). Paul also referred to the church as “the Israel of God” (Galatians 6:16) and to Christians as “Jews” in a spiritual sense (Romans 2:28-29). Thus, the kingdom of Jesus, the house of Jacob over which He is reigning by sitting in the throne of David, is His church.
I love Christmastime because so many in our culture think a lot about Jesus during this time. While the actual holiday of Christmas nor the actual birth date of Jesus are not found in the Bible, nonetheless most of us think about Him and His birth these days. So if you are one who thinks a lot about a little baby in a manger in Bethlehem during this month, I encourage you to take some time to also think about what Gabriel said to Mary that her boy would become. Mary’s son – God’s Son – is currently King of kings and Lord of lords, reigning over His church.
Is He your King? Are you in His kingdom, the church? Do you obey His will in the Bible? Remember, Jesus is more than the “reason for the season.” He is the Reason for our entire lives (Ecclesiastes 12:13).