It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like...Jesus
And the angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God. Luke 1:35
For this month’s “Digging Deeper” study, this statement by the angel Gabriel announcing the coming birth of Christ deserves a deeper look.
Please open your Bible to the first chapter of Luke. Read the conversation between Gabriel and Mary in verses 28 through 38.
1. Now look at Colossians 4:14. What was Luke’s profession? __________________
2. Knowing in what field Luke’s training had been, you can imagine how Luke must have been fascinated with this information.
How would it be possible for a virgin to conceive a child, according to verse 35? _____________________
First Century “Cloak and Dagger”
Luke wrote his detailed account of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ about 30 years after the events occurred. He addresses the letter (see v. 3) to a person he calls “Theophilus.”
Theophilus is Greek for “friend of God” or “lover of God.” At the time, Christians were under severe persecution in Rome and many were losing their lives. Bible scholar Dr. Paul L. Maier, after years of extensive research, believes “Theophilus” was an encoded name to protect the identity of the real person receiving this letter.
From the title “most excellent” (v. 3) it is also believed Theophilus was a respected Roman official. Dr Maier ties him by blood relation and marriage to some of the highest people in Roman government. He may have been the older brother of future Roman Emperor Vespasian. For this reason alone, we can assume that Luke wanted to be precise in his detailed biography of the life and ministry of Jesus Christ.
3. Most scholars believe the Gospel of Luke was written between A.D.60-68. From whom do you think Luke got the details for his description of the conversation between Gabriel and Mary? __________________
The Persons of Luke 1:35
And the angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God.” (v. 35)
4. How many persons are seen in verse 35? ________
5. Can you identify all of them? _______________, _______________, ________________, ________________, and ________________.
In addition to the angel Gabriel and Mary, there in that one verse you have all three Persons of the Holy Trinity.
a. God the Holy Spirit is mentioned first as the catalyst to the conception of Jesus.
b. “the Highest” refers to God the ____________.
c. “that Holy One who is to be born” is, of course, God the ________.
6. This verse encapsulates the 3 Persons of the Trinity. It also answers for all time the question: “Who is Jesus Christ?”
“…that Holy One who is to be born will be called the _______ of ______.”
Why We Can Say with Authority that Jesus Is God
The doctrine of the Trinity is the great Christian distinctive. It is what makes our faith different from all of the other faiths.
Islam does not believe in the Trinity.
Unitarianism does not believe in the Trinity.
Mormonism does not believe in the Trinity.
Jehovah Witnesses do not believe in the Trinity.
The Jewish people, in general, do not believe in the Trinity. In fact, the
concept of the Trinity—God in 3 Persons—is a stumbling block to them.
But the Jewish Scriptures, the Old Testament, show that Jesus is God. Jesus Christ, Bethlehem’s babe, was and is God, and He himself claimed to be. Let’s walk through just a few of them:
God has asked Moses to lead the children of Israel out of Egypt. Moses objects, “But I can’t just go to Pharaoh and say, ‘Let my people go.’ Who shall I say sent me?’” Jehovah God answers:
“And God said to Moses,___ _______ that ___ _______…Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’” (Ex 3:14)
That is, “You tell Pharaoh that I AM sent you.” This is His name, I AM that I AM, the most sacred name for God in the Old Testament. What does He mean, “I AM that I AM?” Not “I was.” Not “I will be.” Not “I had a beginning.” But “I AM the great I AM,” the self-existent God.
Turn to John chapter 8 and compare this statement with what Jesus said there.
The Pharisees were challenging Jesus, demanding that He give them some credentials, some authority for what He was doing. In a back-handed way they were saying, “We don’t even know who your Father is. Your mother wasn’t married when you were born.” Jesus answers them in verse 56. Fill in the blanks:
“Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day: and he saw it, and was glad. Then said the Jews unto Him, Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham? Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily I say unto you, before Abraham was, ___ _______.”
Not “I got here before Abraham did.”
But “There never was a time when I was not. I AM the great God of Exodus chapter 3. I am the I AM.”
That’s why they picked up stones to kill Him. They knew exactly what He was saying, and to them it was blasphemy.
In Daniel 3:25 we have the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, tossed into the fiery furnace by King Nebuchadnezzar for refusing to worship an idol. In they go, but soon King Nebuchadnezzar looks in and exclaims, “I see ______ men…and the form of the fourth is like the_____ of _____.”
What King Nebuchadnezzar saw is what is called In Scripture a “theophany.”
Remember, this study is called “Digging Deeper.”
A CLOSER LOOK AT “THEOPHANY”
“Theophany” comes from Greek: theo- (god) + -phaneia (to show)
and means a visible manifestation or appearance of God to man. Bible scholars use the word “theophany” to indicate any time in Old Testament Scripture when God appeared to Man before Jesus’ birth at Bethlehem. Scholars McClintock and Strong put it this way: "God reveals himself only in Christ (Matthew 6:27). A ‘theophany’ is therefore more accurately called a ‘Christophany,’ or the appearance of God in Christ.”
The fact that Almighty God appeared to man in the Old Testament is well documented. He temporarily clothed Himself in flesh during these appearances, called “theophanies.”
The entire 18th chapter of Genesis is a theophany—Jesus Christ in the Old Testament. Even before King Nebuchadnezzar, God visibly appeared to Abraham as a man. Turn to Genesis 18.
1 Then the LORD appeared to him by the terebinth trees of Mamre, as he was sitting in the tent door in the heat of the day. 2 So he lifted his eyes and looked, and behold, three _________ were standing by him; and when he saw them, he ran from the tent door to meet them, and bowed himself to the ground, 3 and said, “My Lord, if I have now found favor in Your sight, do not pass on by Your servant. 4 Please let a little water be brought, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree. 5 And I will bring a morsel of bread, that you may refresh your hearts. After that you may pass by, inasmuch as you have come to your servant.”
At first, Abraham only knows he has 3 ordinary human visitors. But the passage says in verse 1, “Then the _________ appeared to him,” with 2 other companions (angels).
Read this chapter for the remarkable continuance of this theophany, in which it quickly becomes clear to Abraham that this is a visit, in the flesh, by God Almighty.
22 Then the men turned away from there and went toward Sodom, but Abraham still stood before (WHO?) the __________. (v. 22)
Knowing now it is the Lord, Abraham says,
27…“Indeed now, I who am but dust and ashes have taken it upon myself to speak to ______ ___________…”
You are probably familiar with the account of Jacob one night when he was in dire straits, wrestling with a man who finally overpowers him. In verse 30, Jacob says,
30 So Jacob called the name of the place Peniel (face of God) “For I have seen _______ face to face, and my life is preserved.”
God begins by saying,
“Yet I have set My King on My holy hill of Zion. I will declare the decree: [Jesus is speaking now] The LORD has said to Me, ‘You are My ______, Today I have begotten You.”
God the Son speaks of God the Father: “The Lord has said unto Me, Thou art My Son….”
The writer asks,
“Who hath established all the ends of the earth? What is His name, and what is ______ _______’s __________, if thou canst tell?”
His name is Jesus.
This is a classic Christmas verse:
“For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government shall be upon His shoulder: and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The Mighty _______, The Everlasting Father…”
The Mighty God, literally translated, is “the God-Man.”
Jesus Christ is the Son of God and God the Son. That’s the reason God the Father said in Hebrews 1:5
“Thou art My Son. This day have I begotten Thee. And again: I will be to Him a Father, And He shall be to Me a Son”
Only to Jesus did the Father say, “Thy throne, O God, is forever and ever.”(Hebrews 1:8) God the Father testifies by these words to the world that Jesus Christ, His Son, is indeed God.
We will close our study today at this point, but next month, January, would be a good time to pick up here where we left off and begin the year with a study of the Trinity.
From all of us at Love Worth Finding, may you and your loved ones have a blessed Christmas, where the Son of God, the Prince of Peace, brings His peace to your hearts.