He Shall Be Great


Elder Mark D. Rowell


Luke 1:32: “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:” When Gabriel was sent to Mary to testify of the conception of the Saviour, he was given such a wonderful message; one that denotes the greatness of Jesus Christ!

Lest there be any confusion about the matter, we should understand that the word “shall” does not mean that the Lord wasn’t great prior to the virgin birth. There are many scriptures that teach us of the eternal sonship of Christ. This was not the beginning of the Son of God. He is from everlasting to everlasting! However, this was the announcement of the manifestation of the second in the Trinity in the flesh. Paul said that part of the “Mystery of Godliness” was God being “…manifest in the flesh…” (1 Tim 3:16)

Just a few verses further in Luke, Gabriel tells Mary, “…The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.” This further proves the eternal greatness of the Son of God! He was (and is) that “holy thing”! So we MUST understand that Gabriel’s announcement to Mary was specific to Jesus Christ being manifest in the flesh, and in so doing, there is something very specific about the greatness of Jesus in that capacity.

Looking at the angel’s statement to Joseph in Matthew 1:21 gives more insight into the greatness of Jesus Christ we write of: “And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.


A question about a portion of 2Sam23:5 “yet he hath made with me an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things, and sure:”  Has, or will there ever be, a man of any age, with any evidence, for a proof: “The everlasting covenant, has failed in the slightest way, to be either ordered in all things, or sure?” Nay!

This shows the definitive purpose of God regarding His Son and His people. The three SHALLS of Matthew 1:21 build to the greatness of Jesus Christ:

1) She SHALL bring forth a son: let there be no doubt, there is absolutely nothing that could have prevented the birth of the Saviour. God’s will, pleasure, and purpose can never be thwarted by any devised means of man. No matter what would transpire in and around this, Mary SHALL bring forth a son

2) Thou SHALT call his name JESUS: much could be said about this, but suffice it to say that His name is Jesus because He is the Saviour. There was no debate about names with this child! Do you see the “greatness” building regarding this child?

3) He SHALL save his people from their sins! Herein lies the greatness that Gabriel speaks of in Luke! When Gabriel says “He shall be great” he is specifically referencing the reason Jesus came into this world - to save sinners! To redeem the people of God!

I like to step through Matthew 1:21 like this: did Mary bring forth a son? Yes. Did they call his name Jesus? Yes. If the first two be the case, then surely the last one is as well: did he save his people from their sins? Absolutely! He is great!

Even Jesus testifies of His greatness when teaching about his work on Calvary when he says, “The queen of the south shall rise up in the judgement with this generation, and shall condemn it: for she came from the uttermost parts of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and, behold, a greater than Solomon is here.” (Mat 12:42)


Sheba heard of Solomon’s greatness and went to him to see for herself. Now Jesus says that a “greater than Solomon” is here! We were judged righteous in Jesus Christ when He gave His life for His sheep! He was “…made to be sin for us, who knew no sin…” He is the greatest because of both who He was and what He did while in this world!

Finally, Paul testifies of the greatness of Jesus Christ in relation to His work on Calvary:

“Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high; being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.” Heb 1:4

Paul shows us the greatness of Jesus Christ by explaining to us that He was indeed God manifest in the flesh. He is the second in the Trinity: the brightness of God’s glory and the express image of God’s person (“He that hath seen me hath seen the Father”), and then he goes into more of the greatness of Jesus Christ by showing us that His word of His power upholds all things! Finally, he shows the greatest of the greats by telling us that Jesus Christ, by himself, redeemed the family of God from all their sins!

Even though Gabriel, being an angel from Heaven, must have been an amazing sight to see, Paul shows us that Jesus Christ was greater than the angels because He obtained a “more excellent name” because He was, and is, the Son of God!

“Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised!”