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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Luke 1:32

"He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David;

Adam Clarke Commentary

He shall be great - Behold the greatness of the man Christ Jesus:

    1st. Because that human nature that should be born of the virgin was to be united with the Divine nature.

2dly. In consequence of this, that human nature should be called in a peculiar sense the Son of the most high God; because God would produce it in her womb without the intervention of man.

3rdly. He shall be the everlasting Head and Sovereign of his Church.

    4thly. His government and kingdom shall be eternal.

Revolutions may destroy the kingdoms of the earth, but the powers and gates of hell and death shall never be able to destroy or injure the kingdom of Christ. His is the only dominion that shall never have an end. The angel seems here to refer to Isaiah 9:7; Isaiah 16:5; Jeremiah 23:5; Daniel 2:44; Daniel 7:14. All which prophecies speak of the glory, extent, and perpetuity of the evangelical kingdom. The kingdom of grace and the kingdom of glory form the endless government of Christ.


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Bibliography
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Luke 1:32". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/luke-1.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

He shall be great - There is undoubted reference in this passage to Isaiah 9:6-7. By his being “great” is meant he shall be distinguished or illustrious; great in power, in wisdom, in dominion on earth and in heaven.

Shall be called - This is the same as to say he “shall be” the Son, etc. The Hebrews often used this form of speech. See Matthew 21:13.

The Highest - God, who is infinitely exalted; called the Highest, because He is exalted over all his creatures on earth and in heaven. See Mark 5:7.

The throne - The kingdom; or shall appoint him as the lineal successor of David in the kingdom.

His father David - David is called his father because Jesus was lineally descended from him. See Matthew 1:1. The promise to David was, that there should “not fail” a man to sit on his throne, or that his throne should be perpetual 1 Kings 2:4; 1 Kings 8:25; 1 Kings 9:5; 2 Chronicles 6:16, and the promise was fulfilled by exalting Jesus to be a Prince and a Saviour, and the perpetual King of his people.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.

Bibliography
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Luke 1:32". "Barnes' Notes on the New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/luke-1.html. 1870.

The Biblical Illustrator

Luke 1:32

He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest

The greatness of Jesus

The title of “Great” is one which the wisdom of this world recognizes, though I am not sure that it always gives the title fairly.
We have Alexander the Great, Charles the Great, Frederick the Great, and so on. The epithet has usually been applied to those whose great powers have been manifested chiefly in the subjugation of their fellows to their own will. This kind of manifestation is the most conspicuous, it involves the most open exercise of power, and is most mixed up with the gratification of human ambition, and pride, and vanity; but, undoubtedly, those who have most permanently and extensively influenced their fellows, have been those whose conquests have been in the regions of thought, in things spiritual--the founders of religions, the authors of philosophies, the great discoverers, the great teachers. A man like Alexander has ceased for centuries to be a living power in the world; but the great founder of Buddhism,
e.g., is still affecting the daily lives and habits of something like a quarter of the whole population of the world. A great captain is like a brilliant meteor, but the author of a new thought, or a new system of thought, is like a fixed star.

I. THINK OF CHRIST’S GREATNESS AS A MAN. Estimate in any just way the influence produced upon the world’s history by His life and deeds; can there be any doubt that He is the greatest man who ever lived? Whose life has been the most like a seed in this world, rising up with the irresistible power of growth, and bringing forth fruit after its kind? Whose religious teaching has been practically most potent in subduing to itself the highest intellects the human race has produced? In the most tattered rags of humanity, Jesus Christ stands forth so conspicuously as the King of men, that there are few, who do not, in Some form or another, bow the knee before Him.

II. CHRIST’S GREATNESS AS GOD. It is the light of Divine majesty and condescension shining through the rags of humanity, that makes the whole history intelligible. “He shall be great! “ nay, He is great in the midst of the humiliation of the Cross itself. That humiliation was self-sought, and only adds emphasis to the declaration and promise of the text.

III. CHRIST’S GREATNESS IS TO INCREASE. He is great now. But He is to be greater still--not absolutely, but relatively--in the magnitude of His Kingdom and the universality of His sway.

IV. ALL MAY PROMOTE THE GREATNESS OF CHRIST. This is the noblest aim of man. Men are willing enough to make themselves great, to get themselves on in the world, to promote their own interests, wealth, glory, and within reasonable limits it is right that this should be so but the privilege of the believer is to transfer his zeal for promoting his own greatness to the promotion of the greatness of Christ. (Bishop Harvey Goodwin.)

The grandeur of Christ

This subject far transcends all utterance. Jesus is such a One that no oratory can ever reach the height of His glory, and the simplest words are best suited to a subject so sublime. Fine words would be but tawdry things to hang beside the unspeakably glorious Lord. I can say no more than that He is great. If I could tell forth His greatness with choral symphonies of cherubin, yet should I fail to reach the height of this great argument. I will be content if I can touch the hem of the garment of His greatness.

I. HE IS GREAT FROM MANY POINTS OF VIEW. I might have said, from every point of view; but that is too large a truth to be surveyed at one sitting Mind would fall us, life would fall us, time would fail us; eternity and perfection will alone suffice for that boundless meditation. But from the points of view to which I would conduct you for a moment, the Lord Jesus Christ is emphatically great.

1. In the perfection of His nature. Peerless and incomparable; Divine, and therefore unique. He is all that God is; and He is all that man is as God created him. As truly God as if He were not man; and as truly man as if He were not God.

2. In the grandeur of His offices. He comes to rebuild the old wastes, and to restore the fallen temple of humanity. To accomplish this He came to be our Priest, our Prophet, and our King; in each office glorious beyond compare. He came to be our Saviour, our Sacrifice, our Substitute, our Surety, our Head, our Friend, our Lord, our Life, our All. He is the Standard-bearer among ten thousand. Who is like unto Him in all eternity?

3. In the splendour of His achievements. He is no holder of a sinecure; He claims to have finished the work which His Father gave Him to do. Is it not proven that He is great? Conquerors are great, and He is the greatest of them. Deliverers are great; and He is the greatest of them. Liberators are great, and He is the greatest of them. Saviours are great, and tie is the greatest of them. They that multiply the joys are men truly great, and what shall I say of Him who has bestowed everlasting joy upon His people, and entailed it upon them by a covenant of salt for ever and ever?

4. In the prevalence of his merits. He has such merit with God that He deserves of the Most High whatsoever He wills to ask; and He asks for His people that they shall have every blessing needful for eternal life and perfection.

5. In the number of His saved ones.

6. In the estimation of His people.

7. In the glory of heaven.

8. On the throne of the Father.

II. “He shall be great,” and He is so, for HE DEALS WITH GREAT THINGS.

1. It was a great ruin He came to restore, great sin that He came to do away, great pardon that He came to bestow.

2. He has great supplies to meet our great wants.

3. He is a Christ of great preparations. He is engaged before the throne, today, in preparing a great heaven for His people; it will be made up of great deliverance, great peace, great rest, great joy, great victory, great discovery, great fellowship, great rapture, great glory.

III. HIS GREATNESS WILL SOON APPEAR. It now lies under a cloud to men’s bleak eyes. They still belittle Him with their vague and vain thoughts; but it shall not always be so. (C. H. Spurgeon.)

The greatness of Christ

The Saviour of men, and the example for all, must be the isolated one, the unparalleled Man in human history. He must be both like us and unlike us--like us in so far as His human nature is concerned: He must be born, He must increase in stature, be in subjection to His parents, and be subject to all the ordinary conditions of human nature as it develops itself from infancy to manhood. In all this He is like us--for otherwise He could not be our pattern and our Saviour. Then, again,He must be unlike us, or how could He be that One whom we are to imitate, and of whose fulness we must all partake? Christ as a Man was unlike all other men. He alone of all great men is the unparalleled One of all history; and the conviction of this truth suggests that more than man is here--more than a great and unparalleled man: it is none other than the “ Sonof the Highest.” (Bishop Martensen.)

The Incarnation

The plan of salvation is likened unto a vine which has fallen down from the boughs of an oak. It lies prone upon the ground; it crawls in the dust, and all its tendrils and claspers, which were formed to hold it in the lofty place from which it had fallen, are twined around the weed and the bramble, and, having no strength to raise itself, it lies fruitless and corrupting, tied down to the base things of the earth. Now, how shall the vine arise from its fallen condition? But one way is possible for the vine to rise again to the place from whence it had fallen. The bough of the lofty oak must be let down, or some communication must be formed connected with the top of the oak and at the same time with the earth. Then, when the bough of the oak was let down to the place where the vine lay, its tender claspers might fasten upon it, and, thus supported, it might raise itself up, and bloom, and bear fruit again in the lofty place from whence it fell. So with man: his affections had fallen from God, and were fastened to the base things of earth. Jesus Christ came down, and by His humanity stood upon the earth, and by His divinity raised His hands and united Himself with the Deity of the Everlasting Father: thus the fallen affections of man may fasten upon Him, and twine around Him, until they again ascend to the bosom of the Godhead, from whence they fell. (Watts.)

The higher life

In one of his essays upon the phenomena of nature, Bacon tells of a mountain so high that no storm ever disturbs its air. Its climate knows little vicissitude. The clouds cannot float so high. The sunshine is constant by day, and the night comes late and the morning comes soon. So peaceful is that summit that a traveller having written some words in the white ashes of his camp fire, found the words still there after a score of years had passed. What an Elysian field is that I far above tornado and lightning shafts, and the miasma of the marsh and the battlefields of men. A fable in part, but an emblem of those heights where dwell those mortals who have reached the widest and deepest education and affections and the purest ethics. As in classifying physical beauty we feel constrained to make distinctions between a violet and an oak, or between a cascade with its murmur and mist, and a cathedral with its spire and arches, and between a trailing vine and a range of mountains, and must change our words with the change of feeling in the soul, and to the rose say “beautiful,” to the oak “grand,” “pretty” to the violet, and “ sublime” to the mountain, so we must divide into many parts the attractiveness of humanity, and must confess some to be witty, some pretty, some beautiful, some learned, and then when already the heart is full of admiration it perceives one more class rising above all other grades of mortality--those morally and mentally great. In this grouping all ages may meet. The infinite love of the Creator is in nothing more manifested than in this, that He has made this moral height accessible to all. Not all can be rich, beautiful, witty, young; but all can climb upward to the higher life. It is not the mere privilege of all, but the pressing duty of all. The heights are large, and voices full of mercy and of alarm are bidding those in the valley to “go up higher.” God is represented as being in the holy mountains, and thither He expects His children to come. The heights are everywhere. They are seen in each profession and pursuit. There are merchants who grovel in the mire and whose gains stand for fraud, and there are merchants whose wealth tells of the industry, and growth, and welfare of the people. There are lawyers low and high--lawyers who are always upon the side of criminals, and concerning whose health and presence criminals are said to make inquiry before they plan a new crime; other lawyers, to whom men repair for help when they feel that their cause is just, and the points of law and equity must be placed clearly before jury or bench. There are writers low, and writers who are lofty. The former are witty and verbose in the defamation of character and in detailing the sins of society--these are the remains of human coarseness that are being slowly but steadily eliminated from all written thought, and therefore in greater multitude appear the writers of the pure school whose editorials, or essays, or books, or poems come into all homes as welcome as the beams of the morning sun … Said one of the greatest poets: “ On every height there lies repose.” This peace is not found elsewhere. It is not a sleep, not an easy existence of inaction, but a repose that comes from the sublimity of the landscape, and from the matchless purity of the air. It is not to be wondered at that the human mind, while sitting in the long past ages at the loom of thought, wove for the Deity such an attribute as “ The Highest.” And it is not robe wondered at, that when Christ came with His faultless words and deeds, with His boundless friendship and upper forms of thought, the admiring world felt that He was a Son of the Highest--figures of speech which should be taken up afresh by our far-off age. We have read in the ocean and in the storm and in the stupendous size of the universe, that the Creator has power. We have seen in the marvellous laws of mind and material that He has wisdom. We read the Divine love in the entire pageant of life, animal and rational, and we read the Divine eternity in the awful age of the universe, which drinks up millions of years as the sun dries up dewdrops; but we have omitted to ]earn from the high in thought, and industry, and art, from their eternal beauty and repose, that God is also “ The Highest.” Far above the sun, far above the suns to us unseen, is enthroned the world’s God--the God of all worlds--on a height undreamed of by mortals. His mansions are there. Compared with this summit, the mount in the poetic philosophy of Lord Bacon sinks down and becomes a part of time’s vale of tears. God is on the heights, and all those minds in this lower world which love the higher life arc steadily walking up the slope of this range, hidden now perhaps by mist, but covered with light beyond the clouds. (David Swing.)

Forgotten great ones

What a roll of greatness should we have were there tables of marble, or brass, or gold in which were engraven the names of those who in all times and places have attempted to attain mental and spiritual excellence. It is a sad thought that what is called history is only a page from a vast, grand, but lost, volume. Violence and reckless ambition impressed into service all the chroniclers of the past, and that kind of greatness we see in Christ was not often asked to sit for its picture, It was too high for the surrounding kings and their hosts of sycophants. It would require a whole London of Westminster Abbeys to hold the urns of the noble ones whose very names are forgotten. The loss is great to the present, for many minds see a preponderance of evil in our age, and are not sure that our world was planned by benevolence, to which desponding minds an adequate conception of the continuous glory of man would be a welcome inspiration. There has been a succession of minds on the heights, and these have signalled to each other in all the years of man upon our globe. What ones are visible, are only a few wanderers from the mighty herd. Solon and Moses studied at the Egyptian Heliopolis indeed, but of the many thousands of men always studying there, it cannot be possible that the honours were all borne away by a Hebrew and a Greek. At that educational centre, thousands and tens of thousands came and tarried and went while centuries passed along. It must be that the few names that have come to us are only types of a great army which was scattered over the prolific East. Aspasia was not the only intellectual powerful woman of the age of Pericles. She was the one brought into the foreground by her alliance with a powerful king; others having her education and her beauty and power lived and died in a fame that could not cross the gulf of many centuries. Nor was Cleopatra the only Greco-Egyptian woman who could speak and write in all the tongues of the Mediterranean coast, but she was one made historic by the accidents of crowns and vices, leaving us to assume that there were other women, many who equalled her in learning, and passed far above her in all higher worth. Thus history is only a page out of a lost volume. As those who dig in the sands of the Swiss lakes, or in the deserted cave-homes of man and beast, or who explore the ruins of Mycenae, toss out a few implements or a few carved bones or a few jewels worn once by beauty, so history casts up out of the vast sepulchre where the ages sleep traces only of an absent world. (David Swing.)

Jesus not a fabrication

We can learn,” says Theodore Parker, “ but few facts about Jesus. But measure Him by the shadow He has cast into the world, and by the light He has shed upon it, and shall we be told, that such a man never lived--that the whole story is a lie? Suppose that Plato and Newton never lived, that their story is a lie; but who did their works, and thought their thoughts? It takes a Newton to forge a Newton. What man could have fabricated a Jesus? None but a Jesus.”

Christ the ideal representative of humanity

It is no use to say that Christ, as exhibited in the Gospels, is not historical, and that we know not how much of what is admirable is superadded by the tradition of the followers. Who among His disciples, or among their proselytes, was capable of inventing the sayings ascribed to Jesus, or of imagining the life and character revealed in the Gospels? Certainly not the fishermen of Galilee; as certainly not St. Paul, whose character and idiosyncrasies were of a totally different sort; still less the early Christian writers, in whom nothing is more evident than that the good which was in them was all derived from the higher source. About the life and sayings of Jesus there is a stamp of personal originality combined with profundity of insight, which, if we abandon the idle expectation of finding scientific precision where something very different was aimed at, must place the Prophet of Nazareth, even in the estimation of those who have no belief in His inspiration, in the very first rank of the men of sublime genius of whom our species can boast. When this pre-eminent genius is combined with the qualities of probably the greatest moral reformer and martyr to that mission who ever existed upon earth, religion cannot be said to have made a bad choice in pitching on this man as the ideal representative and guide of humanity; nor even now would it be easy, even for an unbeliever, to find a better translation of the rule of virtue from the abstract in the concrete than to endeavour so to live that Christ would approve our life. (John Stuart Mill.)

Divine humanity realized in Christ

Dr. Philip Schaff mentions the testimony of Dr. De Wette, one of the ablest and most learned sceptical critics of Germany. After all his brilliant scepticism Dr. De Wette wrote, a few months before his death: “I know that in no other name can salvation be found than in the name of Jesus Christ, the Crucified; and there is nothing loftier for mankind than the Divine humanity realized in Him, and the kingdom of God planted by Him.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "Luke 1:32". The Biblical Illustrator. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tbi/luke-1.html. 1905-1909. New York.

Coffman's Commentaries on the Bible

He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Most High: and the Lord God shall give him the throne of his father David.

The Son of the Most High ... Strangely, this is the title given by the demoniac (Mark 5:7) to our Lord, suggesting that this is one of the titles given to the Son of God throughout the unseen world of angels and demons. Ash noted that "Most High" is used seven times in Luke (Luke 1:32,35,76; 2:14; 6:35; 8:28; 19:38) and only four times in the rest of the New Testament.[25]

The throne of his father David ... The virgin maiden of Nazareth might easily have understood these words as a reference to the secular throne of the Hebrews, despite the fact that the very name JESUS emphasized the moral and spiritual purpose of God and pointed away from any literal kingdom. Jesus was indeed destined to sit upon the throne of David, but it was to be upon the throne of the universal spiritual kingdom of which David's throne was merely a feeble type. Jesus' ascension to that throne would not come through military power, political change, or earthly favor; but it would be accomplished by his resurrection from the dead (Acts 2:31). The holy Mary may be forgiven if she misconstrued this promise; but one finds no extenuation for such a view as that of Spence who said: "These words of the angel ... yet unfulfilled ... speak of a restoration of Israel ... still ... very distant!"[26]

Inherent in these words of the angel is also the fact of Mary's descent from David. Mary herself being the only physical link that Jesus ever had with that monarch. Joseph, the husband of Mary, was also the direct heir to the Davidic throne, through Solomon, thus making Jesus the legal heir of David, as well as his fleshly descendent.

[25] Anthony Lee Ash, op. cit., p. 37.

[26] H. D. M. Spence, op. cit., p. 8.


Copyright Statement
James Burton Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.

Bibliography
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Luke 1:32". "Coffman Commentaries on the Old and New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/luke-1.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

He shall be great,.... In his person, as God-man; this child born, and Son given, being the angel of the great counsel, the mighty God, and everlasting Father; Isaiah 9:6 which is here referred to; and in his offices, in his prophetic office, being that great and famous prophet Moses spoke of, mighty in word and deed, in his doctrine and miracles; in his priestly office, being a great high priest, both in the oblation of himself, and in his prevalent intercession; and in his kingly office, being the King of kings, and Lord of Lords; and in the whole of his office, as Mediator, being a great Saviour, the author of a great salvation for great sinners; in which is greatly displayed the glory of all the divine perfections: great also in his works, the miracles that he wrought, as proofs of his Deity and Messiahship, the work of redemption, the resurrection of himself from the dead, and of all men at the last day; and in the glory he is now possessed of in human nature, at the Father's right hand, where he is highly exalted above all principality and power:

and shall be called the Son of the Highest; that is, of God, of whose names is עליון, "the Most High"; see Genesis 14:18 not by creation, as angels and men, nor by adoption, as saints, nor by office, as magistrates, are called "the children of the Most High", Psalm 82:6 but by nature, being the eternal Son of God; of the same nature with him, and equal to him: for he was not now to begin to be the Son of God, he was so before, even from all eternity; but the sense is, that he should now be known, owned, and acknowledged to be the Son of God, being as such manifested in human nature, and should be proved to be so by the works he wrought, and declared to be the Son of God with power by his resurrection from the dead:

and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David. Christ, as God, is the Son of God, as man, the son of David; a name often given to the Messiah, and by which he was well known among the Jews; and as Christ descended from him as man, in a literal sense, he had a right to the throne of his father David; and the Jews themselves say, that he was קרוב למלכות, "nearly allied to the kingdom"F23T. Bab. Sanhedrin, fol. 43. 1. : but here it intends not his throne, in a literal, but in a figurative sense; for as David was a type of the Messiah in his kingly office, hence the Messiah is called "David their king", Hosea 3:5 so his throne was typical of the Messiah's throne and kingdom; which is not of this world, but is in his church, and is set up in the hearts of his people, where he reigns by his Spirit and grace; and this is a throne and kingdom "given" by the Lord God. The kingdom of nature and providence he has by right of nature, as the Son of the Highest; the kingdom of grace, or the mediatorial kingdom, the kingdom of priests, or royal priesthood, is a delegated one; his Father has set him as king over his holy hill of Zion; and he is accountable for his government to him, and will one day deliver it up complete and perfect,


Copyright Statement
The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rightes Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855

Bibliography
Gill, John. "Commentary on Luke 1:32". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/luke-1.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

He shall be great, and shall be d called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David:

(d) He will be declared to be so, for he was the Son of God from everlasting, but was made manifest in the flesh in his time.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Luke 1:32". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/luke-1.html. 1599-1645.

John Lightfoot's Commentary on the Gospels

32. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David:

[Shall be called the Son of the Highest.] That is, "he shall be called the Messiah": for Messiah and the Son of God are convertible terms...


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Lightfoot, John. "Commentary on Luke 1:32". "John Lightfoot Commentary on the Gospels". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jlc/luke-1.html. 1675.

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

The Son of the Most High (υιος υπσιστουhuios Hupsistou). There is no article in the Greek, but the use of Most High in Luke 1:35 clearly of God as here. In Luke 6:35 we find “sons of the Most High” (υιοι υπσιστουhuioi Hupsistou) so that we cannot insist on deity here, though that is possible. The language of 2 Samuel 7:14; Isaiah 9:7 is combined here.


Copyright Statement
The Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament. Copyright © Broadman Press 1932,33, Renewal 1960. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman Press (Southern Baptist Sunday School Board)

Bibliography
Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on Luke 1:32". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rwp/luke-1.html. Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David:

He shall be called the Son of the Highest — In this respect also: and that in a more eminent sense than any, either man or angel, can be called so.

The Lord shall give him the throne of his father David — That is, the spiritual kingdom, of which David's was a type.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.

Bibliography
Wesley, John. "Commentary on Luke 1:32". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/luke-1.html. 1765.

The Fourfold Gospel

He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Most High1: and the Lord God shall give unto him2 the throne3 of his father David4:

  1. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Most High. A common Hebrew way of saying, "He shall be". Even the evil spirits called Jesus by his name (Mark 5:7).

  2. And the Lord God shall give unto him. He shall not receive his kingdom as a bribe from Satan (Matthew 4:9), nor win it by force of arms (John 18:10,11,36; Matthew 26:53), but as the gift of God (Acts 2:32-36 Philippians 2:9-11; Matthew 28:18).

  3. The throne. See Psalms 132:11.

  4. Of his father David. This must refer to Mary's descent from David, for she is expressly told that her son would have no earthly father (Luke 1:35).


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website. These files were made available by Mr. Ernie Stefanik. First published online in 1996 at The Restoration Movement Pages.

Bibliography
J. W. McGarvey and Philip Y. Pendleton. "Commentary on Luke 1:32". "The Fourfold Gospel". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tfg/luke-1.html. Standard Publishing Company, Cincinnati, Ohio. 1914.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

32.He shall be great The angel had said the same thing about John the Baptist, and yet did not intend to make him equal to Christ. But the Baptist is great in his own class, while the greatness of Christ is immediately explained to be such as raises him above all creatures. For to him alone this belongs as his own peculiar prerogative to be called the Son of God. So the apostle argues.

Unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? (Hebrews 1:5.)

Angels and kings, I admit, are sometimes dignified with this title in Scripture; but they are denominated in common the sons of God, on account of their high rank. But it is perfectly clear and certain, that God distinguishes his own Son from all the others, when he thus addresses him particularly, Thou art my Son, (Psalms 2:7.) Christ is not confounded either with angels or with men, so as to be one of the multitude of the sons of God; but what is given to him no other has a right to claim. The sons of God are kings, not certainly by natural right, but because God has bestowed on them so great an honor. Even angels have no right to this distinction, except on account of their high rank among creatures, in subordination to the Great Head, (Ephesians 1:21.) We too are sons, but by adoption, which we obtain by faith; for we have it not from nature: Christ is the only Son, the only-begotten of the Father, (John 1:14.)

The future tense of the verb, he shall be called the Son of the Highest, is tortured by that filthy dog (26) Servetus to prove that Christ is not the eternal Son of God, but began to be so considered, when he took upon him our flesh. This is an intolerable slander. He argues that Christ was not the Son of God before he appeared in the world clothed with flesh; because the angel says, He shall be called On the contrary, I maintain, the words of the angel mean nothing more than that he, who had been the Son of God from eternity, would be manifested as such in the flesh, (1 Timothy 3:16;) for to be called denotes clear knowledge. There is a wide difference between the two statements, — that Christ began to be the Son of God, which he was not before, — and that he was manifested among men, in order that they might know him to be the person who had been formerly promised. Certainly, in every age God has been addressed by his people as a Father, and hence it follows, that he had a Son in heaven, from whom and by whom men obtained the sonship. For men take too much upon them, if they venture to boast of being the sons of God, in any other respect than as members of the only-begotten Son, (John 1:18.) Certain it is, that confidence in the Son alone, as Mediator, inspired the holy fathers with confidence to employ so honorable an address. That more complete knowledge, of which we are now speaking, is elsewhere explained by Paul to mean, that we are now at liberty not only to call God our Father, but boldly to cry, Abba, Father, (Romans 8:15; Galatians 4:6.)

The Lord God will give unto him the throne of his father David We have said that the angel borrows from the prophets the titles which he bestows on Christ, in order that the holy virgin might more readily acknowledge him to be the Redeemer formerly promised to the fathers. Whenever the prophets speak of the restoration of the church, they direct all the hope of believers to the kingdom of David, so that it became a common maxim among the Jews, that the safety of the church would depend on the prosperous condition of that kingdom, and that nothing was more fitting and suitable to the office of the Messiah than to raise up anew the kingdom of David. Accordingly, the name of David is sometimes applied to the Messiah. They shall serve the Lord their God, and David their king,” (Jeremiah 30:9.) Again, “my servant David shall be a prince among them,” (Ezekiel 34:24.) “They shall seek the Lord their God, and David their king,” (Hosea 3:5.) The passages in which he is called the son of David” are sufficiently well known. In a word, the angel declares that in the person of Christ would be fulfilled the prediction of Amos, In that day will I raise up the tabernacle of David that is fallen,” (Amos 9:11.)


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Calvin, John. "Commentary on Luke 1:32". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/luke-1.html. 1840-57.

James Nisbet's Church Pulpit Commentary

IN CONFIRMATION OF FAITH

‘He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest.’

Luke 1:32

For the sake of deepening our conviction of the unspeakable importance of the doctrine of the Incarnation, let us lay aside our own belief for the moment, and see what the result of the surrender will be.

I. We should lose the Atonement.—If Jesus be only a man, His death upon the Cross is only an ordinary death—the death of a human being, and nothing more. Christ the Man can set us an example, but Christ the God-man alone can make atonement for transgression.

II. We should lose Christ’s Intercession.—You expect Christ to be the receptacle and the transmitter, as your great High Priest, of the almost infinite number of petitions and intercessions which are being offered at the throne of grace. Do you conceive it possible that any being who was not actually Divine could undertake such an office as this—the office of a hearer of prayer to a universe full of petitioners?

III. We exhaust the Gospel of its power.—If we abandon the doctrine of the Incarnation, we really exhaust the Gospel of the power which it possesses over human hearts—the power of self-sacrificing love.

Nothing on earth shall induce us to surrender our belief in the eternal Sonship of Christ.

—Prebendary Gordon Calthrop.

Illustration

‘“We are bound,” says Bishop Westcott, “not only to believe that ‘Jesus is Lord,’ but to confess Him before men. For if the message of the Incarnation necessarily transcends our thoughts in its fullness, none the less it comes within the range of our experience as far as our thoughts can reach. It touches life at every point, and we are bound to consider what it means for us, for our fellow-men, and for the world. It is not enough to hold it as an article of our creed; we must openly and in secret prove its efficacy in action. By our reticence, by our habitual reserve in dealing with it as the master-power in shaping and sustaining our thoughts, our purposes, our deeds, we encourage a feeling of secret mistrust as to the validity of the faith.”’


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Nisbet, James. "Commentary on Luke 1:32". Church Pulpit Commentary. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cpc/luke-1.html. 1876.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

32 He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David:

Ver. 32. Son of the Highest] Answerable to the Hebrew Elion, whence ηλιος for the sun, cuius antiquissima veneratio, saith Beza, whom the ancients deify.


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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Luke 1:32". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/luke-1.html. 1865-1868.

Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary

32. δαυεὶδ τοῦ π. αὐτ.] This announcement makes it almost certain (but see note above) that Mary also was of the house of David. No astonishment is expressed by her at this part of the statement, and yet, from the nature of her question, it is clear that she did not explain it by supposing Joseph to be the destined father of her child. See 2 Samuel 7:13; Psalms 89:3-4; Isaiah 9:7; Jeremiah 33:15.


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Alford, Henry. "Commentary on Luke 1:32". Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hac/luke-1.html. 1863-1878.

Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament

Luke 1:32 f. ΄έγας] Comp. Luke 1:15. And what greatness belonged to this promised One, appears from what is said in the sequel of His future!

υἱὸς ὑψίστου κληθήσ.] Description of His recognition as Messiah, as whom the angel still more definitely designates Him by καὶ δώσει κ. τ. λ. The name Son of God is not explained in a metaphysical reference until Luke 1:35.

τὸν θρόνον δαυ. τοῦ πατρ. αὐτοῦ] i.e. the royal throne of the Messianic kingdom, which is the antitypical consummation of the kingdom of David (Ps. 132:11, 110), as regards which, however, in the sense of the angel, which excludes the bodily paternity of Joseph, David can be meant as πατὴρ αὐτοῦ only according to the national theocratic relation of the Messiah as David’s son, just as the historical notion of the Messiah was once given. The mode in which Luke (and Matthew) conceived of the Davidic descent is plain from the genealogical table of ch. 3, according to which the genealogy passed by way of Joseph as foster-father.

εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας] from Isaiah 9:6; Daniel 7:13 f. The conception of an everlasting Messianic kingdom (according to Psalms 110:4) is also expressed in John 12:34; comp. the Rabbins in Bertholdt, Christol. p. 156. The “house of Jacob” is not to be idealized (Olshausen, Bleek, and others: of the spiritual Israel); but the conception of the kingdom in our passage is Jewish-national, which, however, does not exclude the dominion over the Gentiles according to the prophetic prediction (“quasi per accessionem,” Grotius).

βασιλ. ἐπί] as Luke 19:14; Romans 5:14.


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Meyer, Heinrich. "Commentary on Luke 1:32". Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hmc/luke-1.html. 1832.

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

Luke 1:32. οὗτος, He) The Messiah is clearly described, even as at Luke 1:68, etc., and ch. Luke 2:30, etc.— μέγας, great) The greatness of John, described at Luke 1:15, is far exceeded by the greatness of Jesus, described here. [See Luke 1:33, and comp. Daniel 2:35; Ephesians 4:10.—V. g.]— υἱὸς ὑψίστου κληθήσεται, He shall be called the Son of the Highest) Jesus, even in a point of view distinct from His Divine nature, and from His personal union with God the Father, is, in a sense transcendentally above all angels and men, the Son of the Highest, on account of the extraordinary nature [rationem, principle of His conception and nativity.— τὸν θρόνον δαυὶδ τοῦ πατρὸς αὐτοῦ, the throne of David His father) Christ was promised to the fathers, especially to Abraham, as the Seed. He was promised by Moses, a prophet, as the Prophet. He was promised to David, a king, as the King. Even the temporal kingdom of Israel belonged to Jesus Christ by hereditary right. Massecheth Sanhedrin, ch 4, says, that Jesus is nearest to the kingdom, קרוב למלכות.


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Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on Luke 1:32". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jab/luke-1.html. 1897.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

See Poole on "Luke 1:31"


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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Luke 1:32". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/luke-1.html. 1685.

Justin Edwards' Family Bible New Testament

The throne of his father David; David was, by God’s appointment, the earthly head of his ancient church, and his throne typified the higher mediatorial throne of Christ, who was David’s son according to the flesh.


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Edwards, Justin. "Commentary on Luke 1:32". "Family Bible New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/fam/luke-1.html. American Tract Society. 1851.

Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges

32. κληθήσεται. i.e. shall be. The best comment on this verse is furnished by the passages of Scripture in which we find the same prophecy (Micah 4:7; Micah 5:4; 2 Samuel 7:12; Isaiah 9:6-7; Isaiah 11:1; Isaiah 11:10; Isaiah 16:5; Jeremiah 23:5; Jeremiah 30:9; Ezekiel 34:24; Daniel 7:14; Hosea 3:5; Psalms 132:11) and its fulfilment (Philippians 2:9-11; Revelation 22:16).

ὑψίστου. Without the article (anarthrous), as in Luke 6:35, being here a synonym of θεός.

τὸν θρόνον Δαυεὶδ τοῦ πατρὸς αὐτοῦ, according to Psalms 132:11.


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"Commentary on Luke 1:32". "Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cgt/luke-1.html. 1896.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

32. Throne of his father David—See note on Matthew 1:20. The throne of the theocracy, or ancient kingdom of God. The Jewish nation, as a chosen people of God, constituted this theocracy during the Mosaic dispensation. On the throne of this theocracy David was a representative king. When the Jewish race ceased to be the theocracy by the taking of the kingdom of God from them, that kingdom was established on a new basis, by which every man, Jew or Gentile, was admitted to form part of that kingdom by faith. On the throne of that theocracy sits Jesus, the eternal successor of David.


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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Luke 1:32". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/luke-1.html. 1874-1909.

Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament

Luke 1:32. He shall be great. Not ‘shall become’ so. What follows is an explanation to Mary of this greatness, but a full explanation was scarcely possible.

Shall be called. Shall be, and also, shall one day be publicly recognized as what He really is: the son of the Most High, i.e., God (comp. Luke 1:35). Mary would probably understand this in the light of the familiar Old Testament passages: 2 Samuel 7:14; Psalms 2:7; Psalms 89:27. She did not fully comprehend it Stupendous spiritual truth is rarely comprehended at once, and had the proper divinity of her Son been definitely known by her, neither she nor Joseph would have been in a position to bring up the child. Chap. Luke 2:48-51, confirms this.

The throne of his father David. The Messiahship is now distinctly made known. Comp, especially Psalms 132:11 : ‘Of the fruit of thy body will I set upon thy throne,’ which foretells a physical descent from David. As Mary takes no exception to this part of the angel’s prediction, it is natural to conclude that she was also of the house of David. Her song of praise (Luke 1:46-55) indicates the same thing. See notes there, and on the genealogy, chap. Luke 3:23-38.


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Schaff, Philip. "Commentary on Luke 1:32". "Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/scn/luke-1.html. 1879-90.

The Expositor's Greek Testament

Luke 1:32 foreshadows the future of the child.— μέγας, applied also to John, Luke 1:15.— κληθήσεται, shall be called = shall be.— τὸν θρόνον δ. τ. πατρὸς α.: the Messiah is here conceived in the spirit of Jewish expectation: a son of David, and destined to restore his kingdom.


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Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on Luke 1:32". The Expositor's Greek Testament. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/egt/luke-1.html. 1897-1910.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

He ... shall be called; i.e. according to the style of the Scriptures, he shall truly be the Son of God. (Witham)


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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Luke 1:32". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/luke-1.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

He shall be great, &c. Marks the break in the Dispensations, verses: Luke 1:32, Luke 1:33 being yet future.

the Highest = the Most High. Greek hupsiatos. Occurs seven times in Luke (Luke 1:32, Luke 1:35, Luke 1:76; Luke 2:14 (plural); Luke 6:35; Luke 8:28; Luke 19:38 (plural); and twice in Acts (Luke 7:48; Luke 16:17). Else. where, only four times (Matthew 21:9 (plural) Mark 5:7; Mark 11:10 (plural); and Hebrews 7:1).


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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Luke 1:32". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/luke-1.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David:

No JFB commentary on this verse.


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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Luke 1:32". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/luke-1.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(32) Shall be called the Son of the Highest.—It is noticeable that this name applied to our Lord by the angel, appears afterwards as uttered by the demoniacs (Mark 5:7). On the history of the name, see Note on Mark 5:7.

The throne of his father David.—The words seem at first to suggest the thought that the Virgin was of the house of David, and that the title to the throne was thus derived through her. This may have been so (see Note on Luke 3:23-38), and the intermarriage which had taken place in olden times between the house of Aaron and that of David (Exodus 6:23; 2 Kings 11:2) show that this might be quite consistent with the relationship to Elizabeth mentioned in Luke 1:36. On the other hand, it must be remembered that the genealogies, both in St. Matthew and St. Luke, appear, at first sight, to give the lineage of Joseph only, and therefore that, if this were, as many have believed, the Evangelist’s point of view, our Lord, notwithstanding the supernatural birth, was thought of as inheriting from him. The form of the promise, which might well lead to the expectation of a revived kingdom of Israel after the manner of that of David, takes its place among the most memorable instances of prophecies that have been fulfilled in quite another fashion than those who first heard them could have imagined possible. That the Evangelist who recorded it held that it was fulfilled in the Kingdom of Heaven, the spiritual sovereignty of the Christ, is shown by the fact that he records it in the same Gospel as that which tells of the Crucifixion and Ascension.


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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Luke 1:32". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/luke-1.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David:
shall be great
15; 3:16; Matthew 3:11; 12:42; Philippians 2:9-11
the Son
35; Mark 5:7; 14:61; John 6:69; Acts 16:17; Romans 1:4; Hebrews 1:2-8
give
2 Samuel 7:11-13; Psalms 132:11; Isaiah 9:6,7; 16:5; Jeremiah 23:5,6; 33:15-17; Ezekiel 17:22-24; 34:23,24; 37:24,25; Amos 9:11,12; Matthew 28:18; John 3:35,36; John 5:21-29; 12:34; Acts 2:30,36; Ephesians 1:20-23; Revelation 3:7

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Luke 1:32". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/luke-1.html.

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