Mary’s Son: Luke 1:32


  • Great
  • Son of the Most High
  • Throne of David


Popular notions of Jesus at Christmas time are far from the truth. There is a famous scene from Will Ferrell’s movie, Talladega Nights, (not a movie I have seen nor recommend anyone to see), where Ricky Bobby is saying grace before the family eats. He prays continually to ‘Baby Jesus’ to ‘Tiny Jesus’, when his wife reminds him that Jesus did grow up he responds that he like the Christmas Jesus best.

Christmas can give us the wrong idea about Jesus if we do not move from the manger to the cross, and from the cross to the ascension into heaven. This morning as we continue looking at the Annunciation in Luke 1 we are going to stop and look deeply into verse 32. This is a verse that tells us who Mary’s Son is. He is not merely Baby Jesus, or the Christmas Jesus that has His Deity, His teachings, His death, and His role of judge all stripped away to make Him marketable and not kill the vibe at a festive time of indulgence.

The NT apart from a small picture in Revelation 12 does not mention Jesus as a baby but rather goes on to speak of Him as Saviour and God, this verse will help us remember who Jesus really is at a time when people think only as Jesus as a baby. In South Africa there are game parks where you can go and play with baby lions, they are cute and manageable; many people think of Jesus like this at this time of year. Let us remind ourselves that Jesus is not a cub, nor a tame Lion, but God become man.


‘He will be great.’ Here is a pregnant term. What does the angel Gabriel mean when he prophesies that Jesus will be great? Our English word ‘great’ can mean many different things. It can describe size, importance, value, fame and many other things. The word as it is applied to Christ here must be taken in its superlative sense. This word reminds me of the famous lines by Dr James Allan Francis:

He was born in an obscure village
The child of a peasant woman
He grew up in another obscure village
Where he worked in a carpenter shop
Until he was thirty when public opinion turned against him
He never wrote a book
He never held an office
He never went to college
He never visited a big city
He never travelled more than two hundred miles
From the place where he was born
He did none of the things
Usually associated with greatness
He had no credentials but himself

He was only thirty three

His friends ran away
One of them denied him
He was turned over to his enemies
And went through the mockery of a trial
He was nailed to a cross between two thieves
While dying, his executioners gambled for his clothing
The only property he had on earth

When he was dead
He was laid in a borrowed grave
Through the pity of a friend

Nineteen centuries have come and gone
And today Jesus is the central figure of the human race
And the leader of mankind’s progress
All the armies that have ever marched
All the navies that have ever sailed
All the parliaments that have ever sat
All the kings that ever reigned put together
Have not affected the life of mankind on earth
As powerfully as that one solitary life

Dr James Allan Francis © 1926.

But these words still do not get at all that is meant by ‘He will be great.’ One day every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord. Every human being that has ever existed will see His glory that He had with the Father from before the foundation of the earth and they will either bow in adoration or fear. This word great is the word used by Paul in Titus 2:13, ‘waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ.’ Jesus will not merely be famous, or the most influential person who has ever lived, He is God become man, and His glory will be manifest to all.