“You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. 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, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end.”
About three years ago, I travelled down to Sussex for a job interview. I was applying to be Head of History at a Catholic boarding school. I was quite surprised to have got an interview, because I was still quite young to be Head of Department in a top school, and had only been teaching a few years. During the day of the interview, I became convinced that I would not get the job. All the other interviewees were older than me, and had a great deal more experience. I was consequently very surprised when the Head Master telephoned me that evening to offer me the job. I think I even asked him if he was joking!
My shock at being offered a job must pale into total insignificance compared to what Mary was told by the angel Gabriel. Yesterday we saw how Mary was “greatly troubled” at the sight of Gabriel appearing to her. Imagine her shock when this teenage virgin was told that she would give birth to a son! The shock did not stop there, however! She was told that Jesus, her son, would be the Son of the Most High – the name Most High commonly being applied to God! Her son would inherit the throne of King David, and would rule a kingdom that would never end! If she was shocked by the appearance of the angel, how much more shocked would she be by this!
This, though, is exactly what came to pass. Mary did indeed give birth to the Son of the Most High – Jesus. And God did call Jesus to rule over a kingdom that will never end – a kingdom that continues to this day, and will, by its very definition, continue forever.
Since this kingdom is still present today, and we all live within it, there are important questions that need to be asked. Jesus is our heavenly King. Do we regard him as such? Do we recognise his authority in our lives? Do we defer to him in all that we do? Do we serve him as loyal subjects, or do we ignore his sovereignty?
This Christmas, spend some time pondering over just who Jesus is, and reflect on whether you are a loyal servant of the king, who will be rewarded, or a disloyal servant, who ignores the king’s authority, and risks being cast out of the kingdom.