My apologies, up front, for my absence the last couple days. I was busy doing awesome things. So, I guess I’m not that sorry. Although, I did think of you.
… Awkward …
Now, I just want to call your attention to a little morsel at the beginning of Luke’s gospel.
In Luke 1, the birth of Jesus is first foretold by an angel appearing to Mary. The angel says to her,
Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. 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. (vv. 30b-33, NIV)
This, of course, is found at the very outset of Luke’s tale. He’s setting the stage. And like any good story teller, he’s dropping clues as to the story that’s about to unfold. On the surface, this speech from the angel seems fairly straightforward in its prophetic content. We’re about to read a story about a man named Jesus who will become king over a never ending kingdom.
This is true, but it’s richer than that.
Take a look, now, at the following from Daniel 7. Within a vision of Daniel’s, in which God is seated on His throne, a figure enters the Lord’s presence and receives authority to rule over the earth. (I’ll help direct your attention with some helpful italics.)
In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all peoples, nations and men of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed. … But the saints of the Most High will receive the kingdom and will possess it forever – yes, for ever and ever. … Then the sovereignty, power and greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven will be handed over to the saints, the people of the Most High. His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all rulers will worship and obey him. (Dan 7:13-14, 18, 27, NIV)
Daniel had seen a vision of the Creator God eventually handing over dominion over the earth to this “one like a son of man,” following the defeat of all other crooked empires. Then, somehow, that kingdom ends up in the hands of the people of God, the “saints of the Most High.”
Does Luke have Daniel’s vision in mind as he writes his gospel? It’s certainly possible. Consider, first, the parallels between Daniel 7 and the prophecy regarding Jesus’ birth. Consider also, the trajectory of Luke’s story, which carries straight through Luke to the end of Acts (He wrote them both, remember). The good news of this victorious king is carried all the way to the heart of the dominant empire of the day.
Of course, there’s much more that could be said about this, but it’s enough to get the wheels turning.