H is for Holy
And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God.” Luke 1:35
When I was young, our family used to pray a prayer at mealtime that began, “God is great and God is good…” When I think of the word holy, our word for today, I think of the opening phrase of our mealtime prayer as a good description of what it means to be holy, as Jesus was called in this verse. Jesus is both great and good.
First, by the word holy Luke means to say that Jesus is great, without comparison. Jesus is completely and utterly different from us, above all creatures, and far beyond our understanding in his power and wisdom and might and in every other way you could describe him. It would be like comparing your shadow with you. Your shadow is mostly shaped like you but it isn’t you, it’s just what shows up when a light is shone on you. You are so much more than just a shadow that it is almost impossible to compare you with your shadow. That is how great Jesus is in his holiness compared with us.
Second, Jesus’ holiness can also be understood by the fact that he is good. Jesus is morally perfect, without any sin in thought or word or deed – ever. Now this might not seem possible because Jesus was born of woman with a sin nature. The sin nature would have been passed down to him. But because Jesus was actually placed in Mary’s womb by the Holy Spirit, his nature came from God and was therefore perfectly good. That’s what Luke is trying to communicate in this verse. Because he is perfectly good, Jesus could live a sinless life and fulfill the demands of the law for us who believe in him.
The holiness of Jesus should therefore give us reason to celebrate and thank God for the gift of his Son, who is both great and good.