DECEMBER 9, 2023

“Don’t be afraid, Mary,” [Gabriel] told her, “for you have found favor with God! You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David. And he will reign over Israel forever; his kingdom will never end!” (Luke 1:30–33, NLT)

The Messenger

Gabriel was not just your “normal” angel. In fact, God often asked him to do some very important stuff. 

There was the time God asked him to interpret one of Daniel’s dreams (Daniel 8:16). Gabriel later fought a demonic prince. He needed Michael’s help with that one (10:13)! Then the Lord summoned Gabriel to visit Zechariah to tell him that Zechariah and Elizabeth would have a son named John who would prepare the people for the coming Messiah (Luke 1:13).

But this God-assignment to visit Mary was totally different! Was it unexpected? Probably not—Gabriel lived in the presence of the Almighty. Was it life-changing? Absolutely! The Son was coming to earth!

One can only imagine what must have been going through Gabriel’s mind as he delivered the message to Mary. I would like to think that Gabriel and the rest of the heavenly host knew what his message meant.

It was a message of an invasion. On D-Day, the Allies gave everything to free Europe from the tyranny of Hitler. The message of Gabriel was about an invasion needed to free humanity from the tyranny of sin. Heaven was about to commit everything it had to the invasion of earth. But it wasn’t going to be an army. No, the Invader was going to be an infant! “You will conceive and give birth to a son” (1:31).

It was a message of liberation. In a separate encounter with Joseph, Gabriel gave more details around the upcoming invasion: “He will save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21). Gabriel’s message was about the Baby to be born in Bethlehem who would bring freedom to a world imprisoned by disease, hopelessness, brokenness, and sin.

It was a message of a coronation. Gabriel had to be filled with excitement in anticipation of Jesus’s birth in Bethlehem because of these words to Mary: “The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David. And he will reign over Israel forever; his Kingdom will never end!” (Luke 1:32–33). From heaven’s perspective, that very first Christmas would be coronation day!

If there is one thing we need to understand this Christmas, it is what Gabriel understood—the One coming to that manger in Bethlehem is the King of kings and Lord of lords! Jesus didn’t become the King. He was born the King.

Dr. Philip Humphries
Associate Professor of Educational Ministries and Leadership