168. “Gabriel! Gabriel! Wherefore Art Thou Gabriel?” (A Christmas Puzzle. Luke 1)

These words in the title are not from some recently discovered manuscript written centuries ago by William Shakespeare as he tried to improve on his “Romeo! Romeo! Wherefore art Thou Romeo?” expression in his “Romeo and Juliette” composition. Rather they echo the questions many have regarding Gabriel’s activities in the world among human beings. When and why did he come? Does he need to explain himself?

We read in the Bible about Gabriel’s appearances to 3 different humans.
The first was to Daniel in Daniel 8 and later in Dan 9. He came to bring meaning to mysteries so that Daniel was able to interpret them.

The second appearance was to Zechariah to tell him that he and his wife Elizabeth would have a son. Luk 1:13 But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John. That came to pass as predicted and John the Baptist was born.

The third and final appearance in the Bible was to a virgin named Mary to tell her that she would bear a Special Son. Luk_1:26) “In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, (27) to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin’s name was Mary.” That came to pass as predicted also. Jesus was born.

It is this third appearance we major on at this Christmas Season. We also need to see whether the New Testament writers were convinced by what Gabriel prophesied to Mary. In other words was Gabriel a reliable witness? Did he really bring forth the words of Yahweh, the Most High God that Jesus was the Son of God?

A). GABRIEL GAVE GOD’S MESSAGE TO MARY. Lk 1:28-31
(28) “And he came to her and said, “Greetings, O favoured one, the Lord is with you!” (29) But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be. (30) And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favour with God. (31) And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus.”

The interesting truth in this passage is that Mary is told she will conceive and bear a son whom she is to name “Jesus”. She has no choice in naming the child, for His name will signify His mission in life, namely to be a “Saviour”.

B). GABRIEL GAVE GOD’S MESSAGE ABOUT JESUS TO MARY. Lk 1:31-33
The truths about Jesus
1). Jesus Would Be A Saviour. Jesus = “One Who Saves”
(31) And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. Joseph was told in Mat 1:21, that the child was to be named “Jesus”, “… for he will save his people from their sins.” From the very beginning Mary and Joseph knew that Jesus would be a Saviour for His people.

2). Jesus Would Be “Great”
(32) He will be great. The word for “great” is (megas) and is used widely in the NT to describe the size of things. But it can also be used to describe importance or significance, as the words which follow make clear.

3). Jesus Would Be The Son Of The Most High
(32) “. … and will be called the Son of the Most High. Jesus’ greatness would be due to His being the “Son of The Most High.” The word for “Most High’ (húpsistos) is used to denote high places such as the highest heavens. But “Son of the Most High” is used of Jesus in Mk 5:7, here in Lk 1:32 and in Lk 8:28.

The Jews of that day with their strict form of monotheism had difficulty in coping with the description of Jesus as the Son of God. Yet these verses affirm that truth about Him. Many of the Jews wanted Him dead because they believed He had claimed to be the Son of God.

There is overwhelming evidence in the New Testament that Jesus was recognised as the Son of God. (This massive amount of convincing evidence is summed up below in Note 1.)

4). Jesus Would Reign Over The Throne Of His Father David
(32) … And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David.
Perhaps one of the most well-known Messianic prophecies regarding this is in Isa 9:7 “Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this”. Jesus was that Messiah. His kingdom is everlasting.

5). Jesus Would Reign Over The House Of Jacob Forever
(33) and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever.
The house of Jacob stands for the people of God whose forefather was Jacob (later changed by God to Israel”. Sometimes the two names are joined such as in the following verses. Isa_10:20 In that day the remnant of Israel and the survivors of the house of Jacob will no more lean on him who struck them, but will lean on the LORD, the Holy One of Israel, in truth.
Isa_14:1 For the LORD will have compassion on Jacob and will again choose Israel, and will set them in their own land, and sojourners will join them and will attach themselves to the house of Jacob.
(See other references in Isa_46:3, Isa_48:1, Jer_2:4, Eze_20:5 and Mic_3:9.)
The house of Jacob (or the house of Israel) stands for all those who belong to God by faith. Jesus does and will rule over all those who have trusted in God. Forever!

6). Jesus Would Reign Over His Kingdom Forever
(33) …. and of his kingdom there will be no end.”
Jesus taught that the kingdom arrived with His coming into the world, Mat_4:17 ”From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

His ministry focussed on proclaiming and demonstrating the good news of the kingdom, Mat_9:35 “And Jesus went throughout all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction.”

One of the dying thieves recognised Him as having a kingdom. Luk_23:42 And he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”

He described His kingdom as being different from human kingdoms, Joh_18:36 ‘Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.”’

Preaching the kingdom meant preaching about Jesus, Act_8:12 But when they believed Philip as he preached good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.
Act_28:23 When they had appointed a day for him, they came to him at his lodging in greater numbers. From morning till evening he expounded to them, testifying to the kingdom of God and trying to convince them about Jesus both from the Law of Moses and from the Prophets.
Act_28:31 proclaiming the kingdom of God and teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ with all boldness and without hindrance.

His arrival at His Second Coming will bring the kingdom to completion and will also bring about the judgment of all people, 2Ti_4:1 “I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom”.

C). GABRIEL EXPLAINED GOD’S MESSAGE ABOUT JESUS TO MARY. Lk 1:34-35
(34) And Mary said to the angel, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?”
1). Jesus’ Birth Would Be By The Supernatural Means Of The Holy Spirit
(35) And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.” The Holy Spirit would bring the power of the Most High upon Mary to enable her to conceive the Son of the Most High.

2). Jesus Would Be Called “Holy”, The Son Of God
therefore the child to be born will be called holy–the Son of God.
The above ESV translation places both “holy” and “the Son of God” after the verb “will be called”. Jesus would be called both those things. The HCSB and the NIV2011 however add “holy” as an adjective to the words “one to be born”. Eg., “… Therefore, the holy One to be born will be called the Son of God”. In a sense they both mean the same. Jesus (the One to be born) would be holy –set apart for God – as well as being the Son of God.

D). GABRIEL HEARD MARY DECLARE HER WILLINGNESS TO GIVE BIRTH TO JESUS AND THEN HE DEPARTED. Lk 1:38
(38) “And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.” The Bible record of Gabriel finishes with his delivering the message from God about Jesus to Mary. She responds in faith and places herself at God’s disposal. Gabriel’s work is done. He appears nowhere later in the Bible record, As Luke records, “And the angel departed from her.”

What a messenger was Gabriel! What a message! How a child to be born to a young woman would become the Saviour of the world, the Ruler of an everlasting Kingdom and be recognised as the Son of the Most High God.

BUT there are some who say Gabriel appeared again later in human history! With a very different message! According to this later message, Jesus is not the Son of God.

“Gabriel! Gabriel! Wherefore Art Thou Gabriel?” What do you have to say for yourself Gabriel? Why would you come with a different message about Jesus when it seems you gave God’s definitive message about Jesus being the Son of God, the Son of the Most High God, the Saviour of the world, and the ruler of an everlasting Kingdom, the Kingdom of God?

Why come again later with a different message that Jesus was not the Son of God? Why? It doesn’t make sense!

(UNLESS of course Gabriel didn’t ………………………………  ____________________________________________________

NOTE 1. The Evidence In The New Testament That Jesus Is The Son Of God
Sometimes He described Himself as the Son of God or inferred that God was His Father in a special way.
People said that Jesus taught He was the Son of God.
Mat_27:43 He trusts in God; let God deliver him now, if he desires him. For he said, ‘I am the Son of God.'”
Joh_19:7 The Jews answered him, “We have a law, and according to that law he ought to die because he has made himself the Son of God.”

Jesus spoke of Himself as the Son of God.
Joh_3:18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.
Joh_5:25 “Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming, and is now here, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live.
Joh_10:36 do you say of him whom the Father consecrated and sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’?
Joh_11:4 But when Jesus heard it he said, “This illness does not lead to death. It is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.”

The apostle John wrote that He was the Son of God.
Joh_20:31 but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.

Jesus spoke of God as “My Father”
Joh_5:17 But Jesus answered them, “My Father is working until now, and I am working.”
Joh_5:19 So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise.
Joh_6:32 Jesus then said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but my Father gives you the true bread from heaven.
Mat_16:17 And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.
Joh_8:19 They said to him therefore, “Where is your Father?” Jesus answered, “You know neither me nor my Father. If you knew me, you would know my Father also.”
Joh_8:28 So Jesus said to them, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am he, and that I do nothing on my own authority, but speak just as the Father taught me.
Joh_8:49 Jesus answered, “I do not have a demon, but I honour my Father, and you dishonour me.
Joh_8:54 Jesus answered, “If I glorify myself, my glory is nothing. It is my Father who glorifies me, of whom you say, ‘He is our God.’
Joh_10:25 Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name bear witness about me,
Joh_14:23 Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.
Joh_20:17 Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.'”

Jesus addressed God as “Father” when praying to Him
Mat_11:25 At that time Jesus declared, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children;
Luk_23:34 And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” And they cast lots to divide his garments.
Luk_23:46 Then Jesus, calling out with a loud voice, said, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!” And having said this he breathed his last.
Joh_11:41 So they took away the stone. And Jesus lifted up his eyes and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me.
Joh_17:1 When Jesus had spoken these words, he lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you,

In other places He is described as the Son of God
Before His birth.
Luk_1:35 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.

During His ministry.
Mat_14:33 And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”

At His crucifixion.
Mat_27:54 When the centurion and those who were with him, keeping watch over Jesus, saw the earthquake and what took place, they were filled with awe and said, “Truly this was the Son of God!”(Also Mk 15:39)

The New Testament writers affirmed His Sonship
Mark.
Mar_1:1 The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

John.
Joh_1:34 And I have seen and have borne witness that this is the Son of God.”
1Jn_3:8 Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil.
1Jn_4:15 Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God.
1Jn_5:5 Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?
1Jn_5:10 Whoever believes in the Son of God has the testimony in himself. Whoever does not believe God has made him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony that God has borne concerning his Son.
1Jn_5:12 Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.
1Jn_5:13 I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life.
1Jn_5:20 And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true; and we are in him who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.
Rev_2:18 “And to the angel of the church in Thyatira write: ‘The words of the Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and whose feet are like burnished bronze.

Luke.
Act_9:20 And immediately he proclaimed Jesus in the synagogues, saying, “He is the Son of God.”

Paul.
Rom_1:4 and was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord,
2Co_1:19 For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, whom we proclaimed among you, Silvanus and Timothy and I, was not Yes and No, but in him it is always Yes.
Gal_2:20 I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
Eph_4:13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ,

The writer to the Hebrews
Heb_4:14 Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession.
Heb_6:6 and then have fallen away, to restore them again to repentance, since they are crucifying once again the Son of God to their own harm and holding him up to contempt.
Heb_7:3 He is without father or mother or genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but resembling the Son of God he continues a priest forever.
Heb_10:29 How much worse punishment, do you think, will be deserved by the one who has trampled underfoot the Son of God, and has profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has outraged the Spirit of grace?

At times He was addressed as the “Son of God” by others.
Mat_8:29 And behold, they cried out, “What have you to do with us, O Son of God? Have you come here to torment us before the time?”
Mar_3:11 And whenever the unclean spirits saw him, they fell down before him and cried out, “You are the Son of God.”
Mar_15:39 And when the centurion, who stood facing him, saw that in this way he breathed his last, he said, “Truly this man was the Son of God!”
Mat_27:54 When the centurion and those who were with him, keeping watch over Jesus, saw the earthquake and what took place, they were filled with awe and said, “Truly this was the Son of God!”
Luk_4:41 And demons also came out of many, crying, “You are the Son of God!” But he rebuked them and would not allow them to speak, because they knew that he was the Christ.
Joh_1:49 Nathanael answered him, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!”
Joh_11:27 She said to him, “Yes, Lord; I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into the world.”

He was challenged as to whether He was the Son of God
Mat_4:3 And the tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.”
Mat_4:6 and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written, “‘He will command his angels concerning you,’ and “‘On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.'”
Mat_26:63 But Jesus remained silent. And the high priest said to him, “I adjure you by the living God, tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God.”
Mat_27:40 and saying, “You who would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save yourself! If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross.”
Luk_4:3 The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread.”
Luk_4:9 And he took him to Jerusalem and set him on the pinnacle of the temple and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here,
Luk_22:70 So they all said, “Are you the Son of God, then?” And he said to them, “You say that I am.”
All of the above verses show that Gabriel’s message to Mary was indeed true. Jesus Christ, born of Mary, is THE SON OF GOD!

Blog No. 168. Jim Holbeck. Posted Tuesday 22nd December 2015

About Jim Holbeck

Once an Industrial Chemist working for the Queensland Government but later an Anglican minister in Brisbane, Armidale and Sydney. Last position for eighteen years before retirement in 2006 was as the Leader of the Healing Ministry at St Andrew's Cathedral Sydney.
This entry was posted in Bible verses. Comments, Forgiveness, Questions and Answers, Salvation, TOPICS and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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