“He will reign over the house of Jacob forever”

Luke 1:32-33

December 20th & 21st, 2008

A girl of ten years went with a group of family and friends to see the Christmas light displays at various locations throughout the city. At one church, they stopped and got out to look more closely at a beautifully done nativity scene. "Isn't that beautiful?" said the little girl's grandmother. "Look at all the animals, Mary, Joseph and the baby Jesus." "Yes, Grandma," replied the granddaughter. "It is really nice. But there is only one thing that bothers me. Isn't baby Jesus ever going to grow up... he's the same size he was last year."

This little girl recognized what could potentially be a problem for us as we celebrate this Christmas season.   The sentimentality surrounding his birth, keeps us from seeing the other aspects of his life or  we pit one part of his life against another.   This approach may go something like this “ I like the Christmas Jesus, but the Good Friday Jesus makes me uncomfortable.   Sweet, innocent, cuddly Jesus who cries not, is a lot more palatable than a mighty Jesus who comes to judge the living and the dead. “  Well, we know that the Jesus spoken of here by Gabriel  is the one Jesus, and that while the announcement of Jesus birth shows us the closeness of God to humanity, it is merely one step on his journey.   Our text today is quite helpful in showing us the whole life of this Jesus. The Angel says   “ he has the throne of his Father David, and he reigns over the House of Jacob forever.  He is Immanuel, but he is also the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.  He is the one who fulfills everything the OT was all about.  He is the ultimate David, and unlike every other kingdom on earth, including the kingdom of America, his reign will not end.

What does this all teach us about Jesus?  One, he will keep his promises.  He is trustworthy,   through all those previous centuries, the many kings, the prophets, through the times the nation was in exile, God still had a plan and that was to bring the ultimate kingdom.   While Jacob lived well over a thousand years prior, the promise of an everlasting kingdom would remain.     Even the most well intentioned, altruistic leader has failed to deliver or be all that he or she has promised.   Not Jesus, for history shows that when he promises salvation he delivers.

Secondly King Jesus has power.  Our Jesus is the king of kings and Lord of Lords.   Whether people trust in his grace and forgiveness or not, every last person on this planet will have to eventually face Jesus.    I wonder sometimes if people wander from the faith not so much because of a failure to believe the facts of the faith or even that it is historic, but rather a doubt or wondering if it really matters.    Does Jesus really reign in this world?      Remember the Jesus who is our King of kings is the savior of whom the angel in today’s lesson said to Mary “For nothing is impossible with God”.  When we are faced with intractable situations, remember that the Jesus who has placed his name on his people, who has brought you and I out of darkness into his marvelous light, is the Jesus of the virgin birth.  He is the Jesus of the resurrection.  He is powerful.  Our Epistle reading today’s says “Now to him who is able to strengthen you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ”.  Even death itself does not have power over Jesus.  2 Timothy says “If we die with him, we will also reign with him”. 

Not only does our king keep his promises, and powerfully deliver us.  We also know that his kingdom is not of this world.     Jesus said to Pilate in John 18 my Kingdom “is not of this world”.   When we pray “Thy Kingdom come” in the Lord’s Prayer, we are not only asking for peace in our time and on earth, and that God would make that happen.  We are also asking that Jesus would spread something that no other worldly leader can spread.   That he would take, real Divine love,  love that bled for us on Calvary’s cross, and bring it into the hearts and lives of people that can’t seem to get their act together.  While most kings and kingdoms bring down punishments, or maybe commendations for work well done, this king would bring new life to the undeserving, those who know better, and then after he makes us worthy he says “well done good and faithful servant”.  How can this be?  It’s like receiving a big gift from a friend we didn’t get a gift for.  At first we are embarrassed and ashamed at receiving such a gracious gift.  We can do a couple of things.  We can say that we don’t want it because of a lack of need or   take it back or say no thank you out of this embarrassment.   Yet, if we are to treat the gift of salvation in such a way, that becomes unbelief.    Our savior gives, and what we are called as undeserving people to receive and enjoy.  This is how the Savior operates, he is unlike any other, he is unlike all other kings. 

This infant Jesus reigns to keep his promises, to powerfully deliver us from all things harmful, and to give us his mercy and grace like no other king before or since.  All praise and glory to king Jesus alone.  Amen.