The Christmas season is upon us! Two weeks from today, families all over the world, will celebrate the birth of Jesus together. It really is a beautiful season, and I look forward to it every year. I look forward to things like family gatherings, gift giving, the lights, the music, and especially the food.

          But even more than that, I look forward to this annual reminder, that God in his sovereign grace, and mercy, has condescended from Heaven to earth in the person of Jesus to deal with the problem of sin, once and for all; to ransom and to redeem and to turn sinners into saints for all of eternity. The birth of Jesus, who is God in the flesh, Emmanuel (God with us), through the miraculous conception in the virgin Mary by the power of the Holy Spirit, this is a story that is filled with awe, and wonder, and joy.

          As I thought about this Christmas season and especially about the joy-filled celebration of the birth of Jesus, I began to think about the significance of the birth of Christ for two specific groups of people. There are some people who absolutely love Christmas. These people start decorating their homes before Halloween even arrives and they are typically watching Hallmark Christmas movies in July! But then, there is another group of people, who say they hate the Christmas season. These people, no doubt, love to celebrate the birth of Jesus, but they absolutely hate the cultural construct that Christmas has become; they detest the financial strain that families endure in this season, and they long for something more sustainable and meaningful.

          Somewhere in the middle of these two groups is another group of people who silently endure the Christmas season with a deep sense of loneliness; some of these folks do not have relatives or friends to spend the holidays with, while others have plenty of relatives and friends but the level of conflict and disfunction in those relationships causes a deeper sense of loneliness, the kind where you feel completely alone in the midst of a crowd.

          As I was thinking and praying for some of these people – and honestly admiring the complexity of God’s creativity in the human race – I got to thinking about the implications of Jesus coming to this earth not only as our Sacrificial Savior, but also as our perfect High Priest and our Eternal King. What do you think of when you think about Jesus as our Sacrificial Savior, or our perfect High Priest, or our Eternal King? What images come to mind when you think of Jesus with those three titles: Sacrificial Savior, perfect High Priest, Eternal King?

          Over the next couple of weeks, I want us to think deeply about the implications of Jesus as our Savior, our Priest, and our King. Jesus as our Sacrificial Savior will undoubtedly salt and pepper our study each week. Next week, I plan to focus intensely on Jesus as our perfect High Priest. This week I want to focus as much as possible on Jesus as our Eternal King.

          When I think about Jesus as our Eternal King, I immediately begin thinking about thrones, and crowns, and royal robes, and giant castles with big hallways, and massive military conquests, and then I think about politics and my day is ruined! No, but seriously, it is true that Jesus was born to be our Eternal King. Where do we see that in the biblical account of the birth of Jesus? What kind of an adventure could we have if we traced that theme throughout Israel’s history? Finally, what bearing, or significance could this theme of Jesus as our Eternal King have upon our lives this Christmas season?


          In this passage, an angel visits the virgin Mary, and he declares that she is about to get pregnant and have a baby and that her baby is going to be the Eternal King that everyone has been looking forward to since the beginning of time. The long-awaited King of eternity is about to enter the world through a young woman who is not yet married and is still a virgin. How else would the Eternal King choose to enter the world? I can think of so many seemingly better ways to make your entrance as the Eternal King!

          Nevertheless – since I am not God – God chooses to make his entrance in this way. Look at what the angel says to Mary: 30 “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”

          It can be both an exciting thing and a very scary thing to find out that you are about to have a baby. You start thinking about how prepared you are to raise a child and you begin thinking about whether or not you will be able handle the pain of giving birth, let alone being able to handle a crying baby in the middle of the night. And we will not even mention how to handle the middle school and high school years.

          When I imagine this conversation, I can feel Mary’s fear, but I can also feel her wonder and awe of what God is about to do. It is not just that she is going to miraculously have a baby; she is about to give birth to the promised Savior of the world and the King of eternity who has been promised to Israel for centuries. God is literally going to give Mary’s son – God’s Son – “the throne of his father David” and he also says that Jesus “will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end” (1:32 – 33).

          The thought of this must have absolutely blown Mary’s mind. It is not just that her baby, Jesus, is going to be the Savior King, it is that her baby is going to be the fulfillment of centuries of historical promises from God to Israel. The promise of the Eternal King is as old as Abraham and in fact, that is exactly what Mary remembers when she makes a visit to her cousin Elizabeth a few weeks later.


          In these verses, Mary is singing a song of praise and magnification to God for bringing Jesus the Eternal King into this world through her. Notice the words of her song in verses 50 – 55 where she says, 50 And his mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation. 51 He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts; 52 he has brought down the mighty from their thrones and exalted those of humble estate; 53 he has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent away empty. 54 He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, 55 as he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his offspring forever.”

          I think it is easy to hear the gratitude in Mary’s words, but it is hard to understand the depth of her gratitude until you hear her final words in 54 – 55 where she recognizes that what is about to happen in her miraculous conception and virgin birth is none other than the fulfillment of God’s promised mercy to Abraham and his offspring forever.

          You have to remember that, not only has the angel invoked the name of Mary’s great ancestor, King David, but now she is remembering the covenant promise from another ancestor, none other than great patriarch, Abraham, that she has been hearing about since she was able to walk and talk. We are talking about thousands of years of historical promises to the descendants of Abraham and David, all coming to fruition inside of her womb.

          Whatever fear or anxiety or stress that young Mary may have felt, the knowledge that thousands of years of promises were coming true inside her womb, must have been unreal to experience. What if you and I could somehow feel that sense of awe right now in the face of whatever mountain is in front of us. Imagine, that sense of awe, thousands of years of ups and downs with a singular promise of the Eternal King coming into reality right now in the womb of a young, unmarried, virgin, teen aged, girl as you face whatever fear or whatever stress or whatever doubt or whatever weakness or whatever sin you may be struggling with right now.

          The King of Eternity is about to make his entrance, after thousands of years of promises, through the womb of a young, unmarried, virgin girl. I wonder what everyone in the city was saying about that! We do not have a bunch of old newspapers or social media posts from that time period so we could lookup what people were saying. But Luke does tell us that there was an old man named Zechariah, a relative of Mary’s who was married to Elizabeth, the relative that Mary was visiting when she sang her song of gratitude and magnification of God.


          In the context for this passage, Zechariah gives a prophecy about his own son who is none other than the great John the Baptist – the forerunner of the coming King – but he begins in verses 68 – 75with a prophecy about the coming King when he says, 68 “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he has visited and redeemed his people 69 and has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David, 70 as he spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets from of old, 71 that we should be saved from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us; 72 to show the mercy promised to our fathers and to remember his holy covenant, 73 the oath that he swore to our father Abraham, to grant us 74 that we, being delivered from the hand of our enemies, might serve him without fear, 75 in holiness and righteousness before him all our days.”

          Now I think it is important to note here that Zechariah has been unable to speak for roughly nine months because he doubted that God could overcome the infertility that he and Elizabeth had been struggling with for so long (see Lk. 1:5 – 25, 57 – 66). The first words out of Zechariah’s mouth after not speaking for nine months, are the words of the prophecy we just read. I do not know about you, but I am not confident that my first words would have been so God centered after being unable to speak for so long, due to my own disbelief.

          Nevertheless, Zechariah prophecies, and what he says about the baby Jesus who is about to be born, once again, points us backward to thousands of years of historical promises and prophecies. Think about this, Zechariah recognizes that Jesus is about to be born into “the house of his servant David” (v. 69); Jesus is the fulfillment of the prophecies that were “spoke by the mouth of his [God’s] holy prophets from of old” (v. 70); Jesus is “the mercy promised to our fathers” (v. 72); he is and always was the point of “his holy covenant” (v. 72); he is “the oath that he [God] swore to our father Abraham” (v. 73); and the reason behind all of this is that God desires for his people to be “delivered from the hand of our enemies, [so that we] might serve him [the Eternal King] without fear, in holiness and righteousness before him all our days” (vv. 74 – 75).

          There is so much rich, historical meaning and imagery in every word that Zechariah uses here. It is like a massive collage of deeply meaningful images that is meant to point thousands of years of history to the pinnacle moment of the birth of Jesus. Imagine the picture with me. King David, the shepherd boy turned famous king who killed a giant with a slingshot, ruled the kingdom with wisdom and favor, but also failed epically as a husband and father. The prophets who constantly did and said some of the most shocking things as they warned Israel and called her to repent and believe in the coming Christ. The covenant promises to Abraham as he leaves his hometown and travels to an unknown land while trying to trust that God will remain faithful to him even though he, Abraham, struggles with faithfulness as he jumps in bed with his wife’s maid servant and lies to his enemies about the identity of his wife.

          All of this history, according to Zechariah, is meant to help us surrender to Jesus as our Eternal King so that we “might serve him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before him all our days” (vv. 74 – 75). So, the Eternal King makes his entrance through the womb of an unmarried, virgin, teen aged, girl, so that he might walk the journey to the cross to die in our place, to leave the tomb empty, and to give us one more promise, eternity when he returns.

          The Eternal King dies so that we can serve him freely without the shackles of Satan, Sin, and Death weighing us down. And all of this has been spoken about for thousands of years! Does not that knowledge make you want to take a walk down memory lane really quick? Maybe, take a scenic tour through some of Israel’s rich history? Let us do that real quick, before we conclude our time together!


          In 2 Samuel 6 the priests bring the Ark of the Covenant – the visual reminder of God’s redemptive promises – to Jerusalem, where David is ruling as the undisputed best king in Israel’s short history. When David sees the Ark of the Covenant (The Ark of Promise) coming into the city, he cannot help but to dream about building a temple for God to live in, here on earth. There are so many beautiful implications here, regarding the temple and God’s presence and God’s people today in the church but for our time together today, we need to recognize that King David has some really good desires to serve God by building him a temple.

          So, God comes to David by the mouth of the prophet, Nathan, and he makes a covenant or an agreement with David that basically adds to the covenants he made with Adam, Noah, Abraham, and Moses. God loves to make Covenants or agreements with his people that are centered on the promises that only he can fulfill, because in doing so, he proves himself to be the only hero of the story. Listen to what God says to David in 2 Samuel 7:12 – 16, where he says,

12 When your days are fulfilled and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring after you, who shall come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. 13 He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. 14 I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son. When he commits iniquity, I will discipline him with the rod of men, with the stripes of the sons of men,15 but my steadfast love will not depart from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away from before you. 16 And your house and your kingdom shall be made sure forever before me. Your throne shall be established forever.’”

          Simply stated, someday David is going to die, his son Solomon is going to build the temple and long in the future, God will place someone on King David’s throne, from King David’s family, who will be the Eternal King of God’s eternal kingdom. Can you imagine being King David, knowing how broken and sinful you really are (especially in light of his horrific sin against Bathsheba and her first husband Uriah) and here, God is promising to establish your throne and your family for all of eternity.

          At some point, King David must begin to wonder what kind of person God is going to use to establish his family and throne forever. And at some point, David is writing the Psalms as he is reading the Torah – the first five books of the Bible – and he has an epiphany in Psalm 110.


          So, like I said, many years after God promises a future Eternal King from his own bloodline on his throne, David must have been studying Genesis (a point that will be clear in a few moments) and he is writing Psalm 110 and, in this Psalm, he paints the picture of what this future Eternal King will be like. Notice what he says in verses 1 – 4, he says,

1 The LORD says to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool.” The LORD sends forth from Zion your mighty scepter. Rule in the midst of your enemies! Your people will offer themselves freely on the day of your power, in holy garments; from the womb of the morning, the dew of your youth will be yours. The LORD has sworn and will not change his mind, “You are a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.”

          Notice how all of the language of the first three verses is kingly language. God is the LORD (notice the capital letters) and Jesus is the Lord (notice the absence of capitals except the first letter), and God is telling Jesus (in David’s imagination) that he will rule from the right hand of God’s throne in Heaven as he rests his feet on the crushed necks of his enemies (like a comfortable recliner), and his people will be free to serve in righteousness forever. Sound familiar? Is not this, exactly what Mary and Zechariah were alluding to in the birth of Jesus, the Eternal King?

          The real shocker and the turn in the entire story, is found in verse 4 where God explains that he has promised that this Eternal King will be “a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek” (v. 4). Who in the world is Melchizedek? It sounds like he is a priest, right? This is where it becomes obvious that David has been studying the book of Genesis!


          In Genesis 14 Abraham meets a man named, Melchizedek – remember how Mary and Zechariah both mentioned Abraham in Luke chapter one? Well, here in Genesis 14 God helps Abraham pull off an impossible rescue mission for his nephew, Lot (catch the theme of redemptive rescue). And as Abraham is coming back with all of the loot of his victory in tow, he is met by a mysterious man named Melchizedek. So, Abraham meets a man named Melchizedek as he is celebrating God’s work of redemptively rescuing his nephew, Lot.

          In verses 18 – 20 the text tells us that, 18 Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine. (He was priest of God Most High.) 19 And he blessed him and said, ‘Blessed be Abram by God most High, Possessor of heaven and earth; 20 and blessed be God Most High, who has delivered your enemies into your hand!’ And Abram gave him a tenth of everything.”

          This is the only other time that Melchizedek is mentioned in the Old Testament outside of David’s reference in Psalm 110 where we learn that David’s heir and the fulfillment of God’s promise will be like this Melchizedek. Notice that Melchizedek is the king of Salem – Salem means peace and the city of Salem may have been what became Jerusalem which is where David ruled from years later. But the text also tells us that Melchizedek is a priest of God Most High. So, David’s heir is going to be both an Eternal King and a High Priest after the order of Melchizedek. Something you should know is that the laws regarding priests and kings have yet to be established in the Mosaic Law so this Melchizedek is an anomaly, and it is this Melchizedek whom Jesus will be like. But for now, can you see a small shred of how deeply the details of the plan were laid for our Eternal King to make his entrance into this world?


          In conclusion, I want to remind you that over the course of a few thousand years, God orchestrated a meeting between Abraham and Melchizedek. Many years later, Moses receives instructions for kings and priests, and he writes them down in Exodus – Deuteronomy after he writes Genesis. And then, years later, David receives the promise from God regarding the Eternal King who will come from his own bloodline. Then years later he realizes that the Eternal King, planned from eternity past is going to be like Melchizedek from Genesis. Then many years later once again, Mary and Zechariah realize that her baby is going to be this Eternal King, promised in the past and planned from eternity.

          Now let me ask one last question… is there anything in your life that this Eternal King does not have a handle on? What detail of your life has he missed? Love the Christmas season or hate it. Feel the loneliness and the stress of the Christmas season, maybe. But one thing I do know, we have an Eternal King who was planned from before the foundations of the world and promised throughout centuries of history who was born in the person of Jesus Christ through a little unmarried, virgin, teen aged, girl. This Eternal King is absolutely sovereign, and he is good, and he can be trusted even when you and I do not understand the details of our lives and have a difficult time trusting him; Jesus is our Eternal King. Amen!

Unless otherwise specified, all Bible references in this paper are to the English Standard Version Bible, The New Classic Reference Edition (ESV) (Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers, 2001).

2 Don Carson, Genesis 14 and Psalm 110 in Hebrews 7, The Gospel Coalition, April 25, 2009. (This message greatly influenced the way I approached this sermon, especially the sections on David, Abraham, and Melchizedek).