Chapter 1 Paragraph 3 Study # 6
Thesis: To be "Jesus", Mary's Son had to be both "Son of the Most High" and "Son of David".
Introduction: When we considered Luke's record of the greatness of Jesus last week, we noted that the reason for bringing "greatness" into the picture was to set the stage for our developing understanding of why it is important to be "great". It is very apparent from both the text and our personal experience that being "great" is enormously important to all of us. To understand this from our experience, all we have to do is ask ourselves one question: Why does being spoken evil of upset me? The answer is simple: I want to have a good reputation in the eyes of others rather than a bad one. This is nothing more or less than the desire to be great. To understand this from the text, all we have to do is look at the reactions of those involved in the story when they find themselves being treated as "great". They are all filled with joy by the experience. But, this does not answer the specific question of why Luke wanted us to know that "Jesus" was going to be "great". The answer to that is completely tied up in His identity. He was to be "great" because He was to be known as God's chosen King for God's promised Kingdom. But there is a divine twist in this identity: the King will establish the essential nature of the Kingdom and the Kingdom is only of value if it is not a "divided house". The only way it can be a "united house" is if everyone in it has the outward focus that characterizes servants who are servants from the heart. Thus, the greatness of Jesus as the King, and the greatness of every one of His subjects, is tied to the issue of servanthood. Jesus' "greatness" comes from His total commitment to servanthood. Any "greatness" we will achieve will, likewise, be absolutely tied to the degree of true servanthood that characterizes us. In a nutshell, that is the point of Luke's comment about Jesus and His greatness. This morning, we are going to look at another, but connected, aspect of Jesus' greatness. This aspect has to do with His identity as a "son". The text before us tells us that Jesus had two identities as a "son". It tells us that He was "to be called the Son of the Most High", and it tells us that the Most High was going to give Him the throne of "His father, David". So, Jesus was both the Son of the Most High and the Son of David. Why?
January 25, 2004
- I. What Does It Mean to be a "Son"?
- A. There are different aspects of meaning at different levels of reality.
- 1. One can be a "son" at the level of physical reality if one is a result of the genetic mixing of two gene-contributors (Genesis 4:17 and 25).
- 2. One can be a "son" at the level of performance reality if one is an image of someone who has preceded this one in a certain kind of "performance" (Genesis 4:20-22 compared with John 8:39) [since this is a performance based reality, and the spirit is the 'performer', this is the level of 'spiritual' reality].
- 3. One can be a "son" at the level of motivational reality if one does what another has done with the same roots and objectives (John 8:42-44 compared with Romans 8:14) [since this is a motivational reality, and the union of souls is the root of motivation, this is 'soul' reality].
- B. Technically, if there is an inter-relational breakdown between any of these three aspects of reality, the notion of "sonship" is ultimately denied.
- 1. Though Luke ties all of humanity to God as the "genetic material provider" through Adam in his genealogy in chapter 3, both Hebrews 12:8 and I John 3:9 reject "sonship" in respect to God if there is not a second provision of "seed" unto a second "birth". So, no one is, any longer, a "son" of God by reason of physical generation alone.
- 2. Though one can "perform" the same kinds of deeds as God performs, if there has been no "new birth", or there is not a likeness of motivation, God rejects those "performers" as hypocrites who are not legitimate sons.
- 3. The Scriptures are adamant that the only "soul union" actions that are possible for man in respect to God are those that arise from the indwelling of the seed of God, which we know as the indwelling Christ, so that it is impossible for a man to be a "son" of God at the soul level if he does not possess the Son of God within himself.
- C. Conclusions.
- 1. When the text tells us that Jesus "shall be called the Son of the Most High", all three of the issues involved in "sonship" are involved.
- a. Gabriel deliberately ties His "sonship" to the provision of the genetic material in his answer to Mary's question.
- b. He also ties His "sonship" to the other two issues involved because he calls the "son" a "holy thing".
- 2. When the text tells us that Jesus shall be given the throne of His father, David, all three of the issues involved in "sonship" are involved.
- a. Paul tells us in point-blank fashion that Jesus came into existence in the flesh by the "sperm" of David: Romans 1:3.
- b. Gabriel tells us that Jesus is destined to be a "son" of David in at least two ways...
- 1) He shall, as David did, reign over the house of Jacob.
- 2) He shall, as David did, reign under the promise of God of an unending house. [This involves a reign of love, faith, and results that include righteousness, peace, and joy.]
- II. In What Way Was Mary's Son "of David's Seed"?
- A. Luke told Theophilus that Joseph was of the house of David; but, he said nothing of Mary's genealogy.
- B. Luke told Theophilus that Gabriel told Mary that her son, Jesus, would be given the throne of "His father, David" while, at the same time, telling her that Joseph was not to be the father of Jesus in the genetic sense.
- C. The only sense in which Jesus can legitimately be called the "son of David" is if Mary, like Elizabeth in the parallel story, shares the genealogical heritage of her husband to be.
- 1. Luke told Theophilus of the genealogical similarity between Zacharias and Elizabeth.
- 2. He may have intended for Theophilus to note the deliberate symmetry in the stories and assume the genealogical similarity between Joseph and Mary.
- 3. But, for sure, he gave Theophilus the genealogical similarity in chapter 3.
- a. The genealogy of chapter three cannot be that of Joseph if we take Matthew's text as truthful.
- b. The genealogy has to be that of Mary if it is not that of Joseph.
- III. Why Was It Necessary for Mary's Son to Have Two "Fathers" at Every Level of Meaning?
- A. We are already told that in Gabriel's statement: "You shall call His name Jesus".
- 1. In every case that men are named with names that refer to some characteristic or behavior of Yahweh, they are pointers to Yahweh.
- 2. But, when Jesus is named Jesus, the pointer is not to Another, but to Himself.
- a. We know this because, in the "you shall call his name John" context, the "John", who pointed, by name, to another, was characterized as going before the Lord Himself.
- 1) The Elijah text of Malachi, from which John is characterized, is clearly a text that speaks of Yahweh coming Himself.
- 2) The text of Luke 1 tells us pointedly that John will precede the Lord Himself.
- b. We know this because, unlike John who had an earthly genetic-provider in Zacharias, Jesus was directly the Son of the Most High.
- 1) As the direct "Son of the Most High", He was not finite because He shared in the attributes of His Father, all of which are infinite.
- 2) As the direct "Son of the Most High", He escaped the corruption that was an inherent aspect of Adam's progeny that required John to be filled with the Spirit from his mother's womb.
- 3) The only way Yahweh could save man was by means of an infinite sacrifice-in-kind.
- a) The sacrifice had to be human, for humans: Hebrews 2:14 and 17.
- b) The sacrifice had to be infinite to cover all humans: finitude limits expiation to finitude.