We’ve been going through the New Testament in trying to understand the Trinity. Recently, we finished the gospel of Mark so now we’re going to start Luke tonight. I’d like us to begin at Luke 1. After all, the first chapter seems like a good place to begin anything.
26In the sixth month, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, 27to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.” 29Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 30But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. 31You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. 32He 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, 33and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end.”
34“How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”
35The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called[c] the Son of God. 36Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be barren is in her sixth month. 37For nothing is impossible with God.”
38“I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May it be to me as you have said.” Then the angel left her.
It is a passage like this that emphasizes the need to be familiar with the Old Testament. There are many places in the New Testament where an Old Testament passage is not being discussed, but the ideas in that passage are in the mind of the writer. Most noted is the book of Revelation where it has been said that 2/3 of the text has an allusion to the Old Testament. I can only think of one Scripture quotation right off in the book. Christians who only read the New Testament deprive themselves as you need that rich Old Testament heritage to understand the language that is being used.
Let’s look at a few passages. First will be 2 Samuel 7:
12 When your days are over and you rest with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, who will come from your own body, and I will establish his kingdom. 13 He is the one who will build a house for my Name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.14 I will be his father, and he will be my son. When he does wrong, I will punish him with the rod of men, with floggings inflicted by men. 15 But my love will never be taken away from him, as I took it away from Saul, whom I removed from before you. 16 Your house and your kingdom will endure forever before me ; your throne will be established forever.’ “
Christ is the fulfillment of the promise to David and the emphasis of the Son ruling forever means that this passage had to be in Luke’s mind somewhere. Next is Jeremiah 23:
5 “The days are coming,” declares the LORD,
“when I will raise up to David a righteous Branch,
a King who will reign wisely
and do what is just and right in the land.
6 In his days Judah will be saved
and Israel will live in safety.
This is the name by which he will be called:
The LORD Our Righteousness.
This was just after the description of a wicked king being deported and none of his descendents sitting on the throne, but God is saying that this won’t be a permanent situation. A great king will come who will reign wisely. The final passage will be Daniel 7:
13 “In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. 14 He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all peoples, nations and men of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed.
This is one I’d say definitely had to be in Luke’s mind. So what does this tell us?
All of these passages are coming into fulfillment in the time of Christ. The hope the Jews had been waiting for was coming to pass. God was sending the Messiah. There are many Jews today who deny that Jesus is the Messiah, but imagine the joy of those today who do know that he is. Imagine then the joy of a Jew living in the time of the Messiah when he realizes that that moment, the moment his parents had told him and their parents had told them and theirs had told them etc. when God would break into the world and send his Messiah, imagine the joy when he realizes that that moment had come.
Who is the Messiah? The Son of the Most High. We’ll look at the meaning of “Son of God” later on, but this does show the unique nature of this one being born, something we will look at again very soon.