Rightfully so, every parent believes their own children are unique and amazing! In those first few moments after birth, parents dream with high expectations and hopes that their children will have success and make a positive impact in the world. Can you imagine how Mary felt when the great angel Gabriel appeared to her and told her about the greatness of her child? This is what the angel told Mary, “Behold, you will conceive in your womb, and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David; and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever; and His kingdom will have no end.” Mary was confused because she was a virgin, and the angel told her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy offspring shall be called the Son of God.” (Luke 1:26-35)
The angel said to Mary that her son was going to be “great.” The angel was telling Mary that her son was going to be extraordinary, wonderful, splendid, magnificent, noble, distinguishable, eminent, and powerful. Jesus was going to be someone who was set apart from all the rest. The word “great” was used of John the Baptist but was qualified as “being in God’s sight” (Luke 1:15). Jesus’ greatness would be unqualified; He would be great in and of himself. His greatness was intrinsic to His very nature. This baby was going to be unlike any other baby every born!
Gabriel tells Mary exactly who and what the child was going to be like. The description is extraordinary. The angel gives six amazing characteristics of this Christmas child.
Fully God: The first and most important quality of this amazing Christmas Child is that He was going to be the “son of the Most High.” Gabriel was telling Mary that Jesus was going to be God in human flesh. This perplexed Mary because she was still a virgin. But the Angel told her not to worry, but that she would conceive when the Holy Spirit would come upon her, so that her child would not just be a man child, but actually a God-child. While Joseph was the earthly father of Jesus, he was not the biological father of Jesus. Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit. The “Most High” is a title given to God who in His sovereignty and majesty rules over nations, and is sovereign over the whole earth (Deut 32:8, Ps 18:3, 47:2). This amazing child born of a woman would be none other than the very Son of God, equal in essence to God Most High!
Fully Man: While Jesus was fully God, the angel said that Mary would “bear a son.” This child who was going to be born was also fully human. The virgin birth of Jesus allowed Jesus not only to be God, but also to be fully human. This incarnation of God in human flesh is truly a mystery in which Jesus was fully man and at the same time fully God. The theological term for the union of both the humanity and divinity of Jesus is called the hypostatic union of Christ’s natures, which the early church recognized in the Athanasian Creed.
Sinless: The third amazing characteristic of Jesus is that he would be sinless. Even though Jesus was born of a human woman, the angel said He would be a “holy offspring.” The angel was telling Mary that her Son was going to be perfect, without sin. Jesus would be the only child ever born of a woman who was without a sinful nature. Because of the fall of Adam in the garden of Eden, every human being is born with a sinful nature (Romans 5:12, 19). But this child, being born of a virgin, was born without a sinful nature. He was born not of a human seed, but the divine seed, so that the sin nature was not passed on to Jesus (Heb 4:15). Can you imagine Mary’s thoughts as the angel told her these amazing things?
Sovereign King: Fourth, this child was going to be given the “throne of His father David, and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever; and His kingdom will have no end.” This child was going to be a King, just as God had prophesied a thousand years earlier (2 Sam 7:11-16). Even the wise men, God-fearing Magi from the east who grew up under the tutelage of Daniel’s teaching (Daniel 9:24-26) came to Herod and said they had come to “worship the King” (Matt 2:1-6). This child was going to have a kingdom that would last forever. This Kingdom of Jesus began as the throne of Israel, but will one day become a universal throne in the new heavens and the new earth (Rev 21:1-8).
Savior of His People: Fifth, the angel said that the baby was to be named Jesus. In Matthew’s Gospel, the angel said he was to be named Jesus because “He will save His people from their sins” (Matt 1:21). The name Jesus comes from the Hebrew name Yeshua which means “to deliver; or to rescue.” Jesus was born in order to save not from worldly disaster, but from sin (Eph 2:8-9, Acts 4:12).
Determiner of Destinies: The last shocking quality of this amazing Christmas Child is that he was “appointed for the fall and rise of many in Israel” (Luke 2:33-34). Simply stated, every person’s destiny will be determined on how they respond to this amazing child. God appointed Him to be the determiner (Acts 17:31, John 5:27). Those who believe and trust in Jesus will be granted eternal life (John 3:16). Those who disbelieve and reject Him will not be given eternal life (1 John 5:12). This child who was born over 2000 years ago continues to be the one who determines every person’s eternal fate.
This Christmas Child is truly amazing! There has never been a child born like Him. Since all of these qualities are indeed true of Jesus Christ, then we must bow before Him and worship Him. When the wise men and the shepherds found Jesus, they bowed before Him. They recognized Him to be the Son of God. They recognized their own sinful condition and worshiped Jesus as King. While there are many today who will not bow before Christ, there is a day coming when “at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Phil 2:10-11). But for those who willingly bow before Jesus today, Jesus becomes a Savior for them. This is truly the greatest Christmas gift ever given. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). If you will trust in Jesus to save you from your sins, He will save you and grant you eternal life.