DECEMBER 13, 2023

“He 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.” (Luke 1:32, NIV)

The Father of the Eternal King

When the angel Gabriel delivered the news to the virgin Mary that she would bear a child, he said that her son would be the Son of the Most High. Then he promised that this child, to be named Jesus, would be the fulfillment of the promise God had made to David. Rather than an eternal succession of Davidic descendants, Mary’s son would be the eternal fulfillment of that promise (see 2 Samuel 7:11–16).

Mary expressed wonder and surprise as she reminded the angel that she was a virgin (Luke 1:34). The angel reassured her that her child would be conceived miraculously by the Holy Spirit (1:35). Mary, though, did not question the angel about Jesus’s ability to fulfill the promise to David. This might have been because, as some argue, Mary herself was in the line of David. This view interprets the genealogy in Luke 3:23–38 as being Mary’s. On the other hand, she surely knew that Joseph, to whom she was pledged to be married, was a descendant of David (2:5). Luke emphasizes that relationship many times, beginning with the account of the angel’s appearance: “God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David” (1:26–27). Luke mentions Joseph’s descent from David again when he explains why the couple traveled to Bethlehem (2:4). Matthew similarly records the angel’s greeting of Joseph: “Joseph son of David” (Matthew 1:20).

Because Jesus is the final and ultimate Son of David, not simply one of many descended from the son of Jesse, Jesus fulfills the promises made to David. Jesus “will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end” (Luke 1:33).

In His ascension, Jesus has returned to the Father, where He sits on the throne of God as the Son of God and the Son of David (Acts 2:29–36). He will one day return to the earth to establish an earthly kingdom that never ends. Those of us who live between His ascension and His return wait patiently for that day when all will be made new (Revelation 21:5). While this is the season when we celebrate His birth, we should also celebrate the hope of His return: “Come, Lord Jesus” (22:20).

Dr. Glenn R. Kreider
Professor of Theological Studies
Editor in Chief, Bibliotheca Sacra