Luke 1:35 (2)

Sermon preached on January 5, 2014 by Laurence W. Veinott. © Copyright 2014. All rights reserved. Other sermons can be found at

Unless otherwise noted, quotations are from The Holy Bible: New International Version (NIV). Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House.

When I go into the jail on Thursdays I often talk to the guys about court. I do that to illustrate the gospel. When I'm telling them about Jesus I ask them how they would feel if they went to court and were found guilty, but just after they were sentenced someone got up and told the judge that he would go to jail in place of the guilty person—that He would take their place. To a man they all like it.

I’m not an expert on the law, but from what I understand, the problem with that scenario is that the judge wouldn't allow it. He would probably throw the person who was making the offer out of the courtroom. The reason he would not allow it is because the person offering it wouldn't have the authority to do what he was proposing. New York state law prohibits it.

But what if the person suggesting it was the Chief Justice of the New York State Court? If he was the one making the offer on behalf of the convicted person—would he have the authority and right to take the place of the accused? I'm not an expert on New York State Law by any means, but from what I understand that would not be permitted. Even the Chief Justice would not be able to do that. The law has to be followed.

But what about the President of the United States was there? Would he have the authority to take the place of the convicted man and have the convicted man go free? No. From my understanding of the State and Federal Constitutions the President wouldn't have the authority or the right to go to jail for the accused. He wouldn't have the right to interfere in the workings of New York state courts.

What about the governor of New York State? Would he have the right and authority to let the person go free and for him to take his place? The Governor couldn't serve the time of the convicted man, but he could pardon him. He has the authority to do that. He's the governor of New York State and his office gives him the authority to pardon people.

In a case like that, in order for the convicted person to go free, you need someone with authority, with the right to set them free. No one else will do.

Now with the case of our sin and its forgiveness, we need someone who had the right, power and authority to die in our place and set us free. One of the things that our text shows us is that Jesus was the Son of God and the implication is that He was qualified to save sinners. He had the authority and right, the power to accomplish our salvation.

These things are implicit in the title Jesus is given here. The angel told Mary that the holy one to be born

will be called the Son of God.

The great question here is what is meant by the title, 'Son of God'. In the Bible it's used in different ways. In Job 1:6 it says that, (HCSB)

"One day the sons of God
came to present themselves
before the LORD,
and Satan also came with them."

That is probably a reference to the angels of heaven, and indeed the NIV translates it 'angels' rather than rendering it literally. In other places kings, priests, the nation of Israel are referred to as 'sons of God'.

But in other places the title the "Son of God" applies to Jesus in a unique sense.

He is the Son of God in a way that no one else is. We see that in the verses immediately preceding our text, in Luke 1:31-32. Mary was told that her Son,

"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."

There's uniqueness there. Jesus is the Son of the Most High in ways that others aren't. He is going to be given the throne of David and rule for ever.

We also see Jesus being the Son of God in a unique way in 1 John 5:20. John wrote,

"We know also that the Son of God
has come and has given us understanding,
so that we may know him who is true.
And we are in him who is true—
even in his Son Jesus Christ.
He is the true God and eternal life."

In the New Testament Jesus is also called the only begotten Son—the unique Son, the beloved Son. Other sayings of Jesus confirm that Jesus' relationship to the Father is different than that of the angels or mere human beings. For example, Matthew 11:27 Jesus said,

"All things have been
committed to me by my Father.
No one knows the Son except the Father,
and no one knows the Father
except the Son and those to whom
the Son chooses to reveal him."

There is a mutual knowledge between the Father and Son that no one else has. The angels don't have it. Human beings don't have it. This shows us that there is a most intimate relationship between the Father and the Son that no one else enjoys.

Not only that, but

the Bible tells us that in doing His work on earth—Jesus, the Son, was not acting on His own.

A good son does his father's will. Jesus did that par excellence. Rather He was acting on behalf of the triune God. When Jesus was baptized the Spirit descended on Him like a dove. The Father spoke from heaven and said, (Matthew 3:17)

"This is my Son, whom I love;
with him I am well pleased."

Notice how He was called, 'My Son…'. In His baptism Jesus was associated with His people—in carrying out that mission Jesus was acting on behalf of and in the power of the triune God.

We see more of this in John 5:18–23. It shows that in doing His job, Jesus, the Son, was not only divine, but was acting on behalf of the Father. It shows us that Jesus had authority from the Father—authority to give life, authority to judge. We read,

"For this reason the Jews
tried all the harder to kill him;
not only was he breaking the Sabbath,
but he was even
calling God his own Father,
making himself equal with God.
Jesus gave them this answer:
'I tell you the truth,
the Son can do nothing by himself;
he can do only what
he sees his Father doing,
because whatever the Father
does the Son also does.
For the Father loves the Son
and shows him all he does.
Yes, to your amazement he will show him
even greater things than these.
For just as the Father raises the dead
and gives them life,
even so the Son gives life
to whom he is pleased to give it.
Moreover, the Father judges no one,
but has entrusted all judgment to the Son,
that all may honor the Son
just as they honor the Father.
He who does not honor the Son
does not honor the Father,
who sent him."

John Frame writes, (Systematic Theology, p. 458)

"the fellowship between the Father and Son implies that the Son shares his Father's knowledge, love, powers and prerogatives."

Another passage that shows us the authority of Jesus as the Son is in John 17:1–5. Jesus said,

"Father, the time has come.
Glorify your Son,
that your Son may glorify you.
For you granted him authority
over all people that he might
give eternal life to all those
you have given him.
Now this is eternal life:
that they may know you,
the only true God,
and Jesus Christ,
whom you have sent.
I have brought you glory on earth by
completing the work you gave me to do.
And now, Father, glorify me
in your presence with the glory
I had with you before the world began."

Jesus tells us that, as the Son of God, He has been granted authority over all people and give eternal life to all those the Father has given Him. This passage shows us that Jesus, as the Son, has the right, the authority, the power to save His people.

We see this also in Revelation 5. The picture there is that of a Lamb, not a Son, but it shows the authority of Jesus. When John wept and wept because no one was found who was worthy to open the scroll or even look inside, but, (Revelation 5:5)

"one of the elders said to me,
'Do not weep!
See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah,
the Root of David, has triumphed.
He is able to open the scroll
and its seven seals.'"

It continues, (verse 6)

"Then I saw a Lamb,
looking as if it had been slain,
standing in the center of the throne,
encircled by the four living creatures
and the elders."

The Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, was standing in the center of the throne. He had the power, the authority and the right to save His people. So He came and took the scroll out of the hand of Him who sat on the throne. When He did, the four living creatures and the 24 elders fell down before the Lamb. Revelation 5:9–10

"And they sang a new song:
'You are worthy to take the scroll
and to open its seals,
because you were slain,
and with your blood you purchased
men for God from every tribe and
language and people and nation.
You have made them to be a kingdom
and priests to serve our God,
and they will reign on the earth."

Who is our Savior? He is the God-man. He is truly God and truly man. He is truly man—a Lamb looking as if it had been slain. He is truly God—He was standing in the center of the throne. He has the ability, the power and the authority to save us. As the apostle Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 8:9,

"For you know the grace
of our Lord Jesus Christ,
that though he was rich,
yet for your sakes he became poor,
so that you through his poverty
might become rich."

Thus all this shows us that Jesus had to have the power and the authority and the right to save us.

He had to have the authority and the right to save us because God is in charge and no one can intervene to save, to be their substitute, to take punishment in their stead—unless God approved.

What does this mean for us?

First of all,

this should give you great confidence in your salvation.

This in two ways.

First, the One who came to save you is none other than Jesus, Savior, Son of God.

The Father declared from heaven, (Matthew 3:17)

"This is my Son, whom I love;
with him I am well pleased."

This is the One who came to save you. Hebrews 1:2–3 shows us the authority of the Son. It says,

"in these last days
he has spoken to us by his Son,
whom he appointed heir of all things,
and through whom he made the universe.
The Son is the radiance of God's glory
and the exact representation of his being,
sustaining all things by his powerful word.
After he had provided purification for sins,
he sat down at the right hand
of the Majesty in heaven."

What confidence you should have. Who is the captain of your salvation—it is none other than the Son of God. John Frame writes, (Systematic Theology, p. 459)

"Jesus' sonship describes his eternal nature… [it] indicate[s] Jesus' powers and prerogatives as God, especially over God's people…"

The second way this should give you great confidence in your salvation is that fact that,

Jesus, the Son, came from the Father in the power of the Holy Spirit.

Who is on your side? Who wants to see you saved? The triune God is on your side.

Jesus. Yes. Oh, how He loves you. He came to this earth. He lived for you. He died for you. He rose again for you. He ascended into heaven for you. He is at the Father's side interceding for you.

But the Father is for you too. He sent Jesus. John 3:16 says,

"For God so loved the world
that he gave his one and only Son,
that whoever believes in him
shall not perish but have eternal life."

We all know that it was Jesus, the second person of the Trinity, the Creator of all things—that He came and took our nature upon Himself and suffered, died and rose again for us. But Jesus, while He was on this earth, in all His works, was doing nothing less than the will of the Father. As Jesus said in John 4:34, (See also John 5:30, 6:38, 7:16)

"My food is to do the will
of him who sent me
and to finish his work."

It was the Father who raised Jesus from the dead. (Romans 4:24) It was the Father who said to Jesus, (Hebrews 1:13)

"Sit at my right hand until
I make your enemies
a footstool for your feet."

The Spirit is for you too. The Spirit ensured Jesus' human birth. The Spirit descended on Jesus' at His baptism. The Spirit came upon the church as a result of Jesus' work. The Spirit made you alive in Christ. The Spirit opened your eyes to Jesus and His glory. The Spirit leads us in all truth. The Spirit is in us, a deposit, as 2 Corinthians 1:22

"guaranteeing what is to come."

The triune God is for you. Our salvation wasn't the act of just one, or even two Persons of the Godhead. Jesus, in His great love for us—wasn't acting alone when He came to save us. The Triune God was involved.

He, in all three Persons, has worked salvation for you. What confidence you should have in God for your salvation! Praise Him. Rejoice in Him.

For those of you who are not Christians, you should realize who you are rejecting.

You are rejecting the Son of God, the only One who can save you.

There's no one like Jesus. He's the Son—the One who created you and all things. He's the Son—the One who came from heaven to save sinners. He's the Son—who didn't call down thousands of angels to help Him when He was arrested. He was the Son—who bore the punishment of our sins on the cross. He's the Son—who rose triumphantly over death. He's the Son—who ascended into heaven and sat down at God's right hand.

He's so full of love for sinners. He's so full of forgiveness. He's so gracious and compassionate.

Today He's offering Himself to you—to save you from your sins. There may be a lot of things keeping you from accepting Him—your pride. Perhaps you think that you're not that bad a person and that may certainly be true compared to other people. But you're a sinner and your sin will condemn you to hell forever unless you heed the call of the Son.

If the Governor called you, you'd probably rush to the phone. If the President of the United States phoned you, again, you'd rush to the phone. If they asked you to do something good—you'd probably do it.

Today the Son who calls you. Answer His call and ask Him to save you. It's your only hope.