Luke 1:35
And the angel answered and said to her, The Holy Ghost shall come on you, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow you: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of you shall be called the Son of God.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(35) The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee.—See Note on Luke 1:15. Here, however, the context would suggest to one familiar with the sacred writings, another aspect of the Spirit’s work, as quickening the dead chaos into life (Genesis 1:2), as being the source of life to all creation (Psalm 104:30).

The power of the Highest shall overshadow thee.—The divine name is used in obvious harmony with “the Son of the Highest” in Luke 1:32.

Therefore also . . . shall be called the Son of God.—The words appear to rest the title, “Son of God,” rather on the supernatural birth than on the eternal pre-existence of the Son as the Word that was “in the beginning with God and was God” (John 1:1), and we may accept the fact that the message of the angel was so far a partial, not a complete, revelation of the mystery of the Incarnation. It gave a sufficient reason for the name which should be given to the Son of Mary, and more was not then required.

1:26-38 We have here an account of the mother of our Lord; though we are not to pray to her, yet we ought to praise God for her. Christ must be born miraculously. The angel's address means only, Hail, thou that art the especially chosen and favoured of the Most High, to attain the honour Jewish mothers have so long desired. This wondrous salutation and appearance troubled Mary. The angel then assured her that she had found favour with God, and would become the mother of a son whose name she should call Jesus, the Son of the Highest, one in a nature and perfection with the Lord God. JESUS! the name that refreshes the fainting spirits of humbled sinners; sweet to speak and sweet to hear, Jesus, a Saviour! We know not his riches and our own poverty, therefore we run not to him; we perceive not that we are lost and perishing, therefore a Saviour is a word of little relish. Were we convinced of the huge mass of guilt that lies upon us, and the wrath that hangs over us for it, ready to fall upon us, it would be our continual thought, Is the Saviour mine? And that we might find him so, we should trample on all that hinders our way to him. Mary's reply to the angel was the language of faith and humble admiration, and she asked no sign for the confirming her faith. Without controversy, great was the mystery of godliness, God manifest in the flesh, 1Ti 3:16. Christ's human nature must be produced so, as it was fit that should be which was to be taken into union with the Divine nature. And we must, as Mary here, guide our desires by the word of God. In all conflicts, let us remember that with God nothing is impossible; and as we read and hear his promises, let us turn them into prayers, Behold the willing servant of the Lord; let it be unto me according to thy word.The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee - See Matthew 1:20.

The power of the Highest ... - This evidently means that the body of Jesus would be created by the direct power of God. It was not by ordinary generation; but, as the Messiah came to redeem sinners - to make atonement for "others," and not for himself it was necessary that his human nature should be pure, and free from the corruption of the fall. God therefore prepared him a body by direct creation that should be pure and holy. See Hebrews 10:5.

That holy thing ... - That holy progeny or child.

Shall be called the Son of God - This is spoken in reference to the human nature of Christ, and this passage proves, beyond controversy, that "one" reason why Jesus was called the Son of God was because he was begotten in a supernatural manner. He is also called the "Son of God" on account of his resurrection, Romans 1:4; Acts 13:33, compared with Psalm 2:7.

35. Holy Ghost—(See on [1538]Mt 1:18).

power of the highest—the immediate energy of the Godhead conveyed by the Holy Ghost.

overshadow—a word suggesting how gentle, while yet efficacious, would be this Power [Bengel]; and its mysterious secrecy, withdrawn, as if by a cloud, from human scrutiny [Calvin].

that holy thing born of thee—that holy Offspring of thine.

therefore … Son of God—That Christ is the Son of God in His divine and eternal nature is clear from all the New Testament; yet here we see that Sonship efflorescing into human and palpable manifestation by His being born, through "the power of the Highest," an Infant of days. We must neither think of a double Sonship, as some do, harshly and without all ground, nor deny what is here plainly expressed, the connection between His human birth and His proper personal Sonship.

The Holy Ghost (who is also called here the power of the Highest) shall come upon thee; it is a phrase which signifieth a special and peculiar influence of the Holy Spirit: thus we read of the prophets, that the Spirit of the Lord came upon them, 2 Chronicles 20:14, &c., which argued a special influence of the Holy Spirit on them, efficacious, so as it put them upon a present prophesying. There is a common influence of God upon the forming of all children in the womb, Job 10:8 Psalm 139:15. But this phrase denotes an extraordinary special influence of the Spirit, changing the order and course of nature, and giving a power to the blood of the virgin by him sanctified, to coagulate alone to the forming of the body of a child: this is more mysteriously yet expressed, by the term overshadow thee, which I take to be a modest phrase, signifying only a supply of man’s act, by a Divine creating power, in a most miraculous manner.

Therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God, as Adam was called the son of God, Luke 3:38, God (by his creating power) supplying as to him the place of father and mother, and to Christ supplying the place of the father, though not of the mother, for (saith the angel) he shall be

born of thee. But yet that mass of flesh shall be a holy thing, because, though born of thee, and flesh of thy flesh, yet of thy flesh first sanctified, by the Holy Ghost coming upon and overshadowing of thee. He shalt be called so, not that he was not so by eternal generation, (of which the angel here speaks not), but the Word, the eternal Son of God, which was in the beginning, being thus made flesh, and personally united to thy flesh, the whole person shall be called

the Son of God. And the angel answered and said unto her,.... The angel gave her an account of the manner in which what he had said should be effected, as well as observed some things for the strengthening of her faith,

The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee. The words, "upon thee", are left out in the Syriac and Persic versions; but are retained in others, and in all copies: the formation of Christ's human nature, though common to all the three persons, yet is particularly, and most properly ascribed to the Spirit; not to the first person, the Father, lest it should be thought that he is only the Father of him, as man; nor to the second person, the Son, since it is to him that the human nature is personally united; but to the third person, the Spirit, who is the sanctifier; and who separated, and sanctified it, the first moment of its conception, and preserved it from the taint of original sin. His coming upon the virgin must be understood in consistence with his omnipresence, and immensity; and cannot design any local motion, but an effectual operation in forming the human nature of her flesh and substance; and not in the ordinary manner in which he is concerned in the formation of all men, Job 33:4 but in an extraordinary way, not to be conceived of, and explained. The phrase most plainly answers to , in frequent use with the Jews (x), as expressive of coition,

And the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee. By "the power of the Highest" is not meant the Lord Jesus Christ, who is sometimes called the power of God; but rather the Holy Ghost, as before, who is styled the finger of God, and power from on high, Luke 11:20 unless it should be thought that the perfection of divine power common to all the three persons is intended: and so points out the means by which the wondrous thing should be performed, even by the power of God; and which should not only be employed in forming the human nature of Christ, but in protecting the virgin from any suspicion and charge of sin, and defending her innocence and virtue, by moving upon Joseph to take her to wife. In the word, "overshadow", some think there is an allusion to the Spirit of God moving upon the face of the waters, in Genesis 1:2 when, he brooded upon them, as the word may be rendered; and which is the sense of it, according to the Jewish writers (y) as a hen, or any other bird broods on its eggs to exclude its young: and others have thought the allusion may be to , (z), "the nuptial covering": which was a veil, or canopy, like a tent, supported on four staves, under which the bridegroom and bride were betrothed; or, as Dr. Lightfoot thinks, it is a modest phrase alluding to the conjugal embraces, signified by a man's spreading the skirt of his garment over the woman, which Ruth desired of Boaz, Ruth 3:9 though the Jewish writers say (a), that phrase is expressive of the act of marriage, or taking to wife. The phrase of being "overshadowed", or "covered with the spirit of prophecy", as the virgin also was, is used by the Targumist, on 1 Chronicles 2:55.

therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. The human nature of Christ is here called a "thing"; for it was not a person; it never subsisted of itself, but was taken at once into union with the person of the Son of God, otherwise there would be two persons in Christ, whereas he is God, and man, in one person; and it is said to be "holy", being free from that original pollution and sin, in which all that descend from Adam, by ordinary generation, are conceived, and brought forth; and is, moreover, said to be born of a virgin, "of thee", or "out of thee". Christ's flesh was formed out of the Virgin's; he took flesh of her; his body did not descend from heaven, or pass through her, as water through a pipe, as some heretics of old said: nor did his human nature, either as to soul or body, pre-exist his incarnation; but in the fulness of time he was made of a woman, and took a true body of her, and a reasonable soul, into union with his divine person; and "therefore should be called the Son of God": not that he was now to become the "the Son of God"; he was so before his incarnation, and even from all eternity; but he was now to be manifested as such in human nature: nor does the angel predict, that he should, for this reason, be called the Son of God; for he never was, on this account, so called, either by himself, or others: nor is the particle, "therefore", causal, but consequential: the angel is not giving a reason why Christ should be the Son of God, but why he should be owned, and acknowledged, as such by his people: who would infer, and conclude from his wonderful conception and birth, that he is the "Emmanuel", God with us, the child that was to be born, and the Son given, whose name should be Wonderful, Counsellor, the mighty God, &c. Isaiah 7:14. Moreover, the word, "also", is not to be overlooked; and the sense is, that seeing that human nature, which should be born of the virgin, would be united to the Son of God, it likewise should bear the same name, being in personal union with him, who was so from all eternity,

(x) Misn. Sanhedrin, c. 7, sect. 4. & passim alibi (y) R. Sol. Jarchi, R. Aben Ezra, & R. Levi ben Gerson in Genesis 1. 2.((z) T. Bab. Sota, fol. 49. 2. Vid. David de Pomis, Lex. Heb p. 67. 2.((a) Targum, Jarchi, & Aben Ezra in loc.

And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost {g} shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that {h} holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be {i} called the Son of God.

(g) That is, the Holy Spirit will cause thee to conceive by his mighty power.

(h) That thing which is pure and void of all spot of uncleanliness: for he that was to take away sin must of necessity be void of sin.

(i) Declared and shown to the world to be the Son of God.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Luke 1:35. Πνεῦμα Αγιον: without the article because a proper name = the well-known Holy Spirit, say some (Meyer, Farrar), but more probably because the purpose is not to indicate the person by whom, etc., but the kind of influence: spirit as opposed to flesh, holy in the sense of separation from all fleshly defilement (Hofmann, J. Weiss, Hahn).—δύναμις ὑψίστου: the power of the Most High, also without article, an equivalent for π. ., and more definite indication of the cause, the power of God. Note the use of ὕψιστος as the name of God in Luke 1:32, here, and in Luke 1:76. Feine (Vorkanonische Überlieferung des Lukas, p. 17) includes ὁ ὕψιστος, ὁ δυνατός (Luke 1:49), ὁ δεσπότης (Luke 2:29), ὁ κύριος (Luke 1:6; Luke 1:9; Luke 1:11, etc.), all designations of God, among the instances of a Hebraistic vocabulary characteristic of chaps. 1 and 2. The first epithet recurs in Luke 6:35 in the expression “sons of the Highest,” applied to those who live heroically, where Mt. has “children of your Father in heaven”.—ἐπελεύσεται, ἐπισκιάσει: two synonyms delicately selected to express the divine substitute for sexual intercourse. Observe the parallelism here: “sign of the exaltation of feeling. The language becomes a chant,” Godet. Some find poetry throughout these two first chapters of Lk. “These songs … doubtless represent reflection upon these events by Christian poets, who put in the mouths of the angels, the mothers and the fathers, the poems which they composed” (Briggs, The Messiah of the Gospels, p. 42. Even the address of Gabriel to Zechariah in the temple, Luke 1:13-17, is, he thinks, such a poem).—τὸ γεννώμενον ἄγιον, the holy thing—holy product of a holy agency—which is being, or about to be, generated = the embryo, therefore appropriately neuter.—υἱὸς Θεοῦ, Son of God; not merely because holy, but because brought into being by the power of the Highest.35. shall overshadow thee] as with the Shechinah and Cloud of Glory (see on Luke 2:9, Luke 9:34). See the treatise on the Shechinah in Meuschen, pp. 701–739. On the high theological mystery see Pearson On the Creed, Art. iii. See on Luke 2:9.

that holy thing] “Holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners,” Hebrews 7:26. “Who did no sin,” 1 Peter 2:22.

which shall be born of thee] Rather, which is in thy womb. Galatians 4:4, “born of a woman.”

the Son of God] This title is given to our Lord by almost every one of the sacred writers in the N. T. and in a multitude of passages.Luke 1:35. Δύναμις ὑψίστου, the power of the Highest) Often these words are put in conjunction, Spirit and Power, as in Luke 1:17; but in this passage the Power of the Highest rather denotes, by Metonymy,[9] the Highest, whose Power is infinite. So we have the expression, the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, 1 Corinthians 5:4. The coming of the Holy Ghost upon Mary made her fit for receiving the overshadowing of the power of the Highest.—ἐπισκιάσει σοι, shall overshadow thee) This overshadowing denotes the mildest and most gentle [most modified] operation of the Divine power, whereby it was effected that the Divine Fire did not consume Mary, but made her fruitful. Comp. Mark 9:7 [the cloud overshadowed them at the transfiguration]; Exodus 33:22. Many suppose allusion is here made to חפה, veiled, as a bride. It was not fitting that the will of man or of the flesh should help towards this [the Saviour’s incarnation]. It was from the substance of Mary that the elements were taken, whatever contributed not only to the ΣΎΛΛΗΨΙς, the conception, but also to the nourishment of the holy fetus [embryo]. And this is considered [is to be viewed so], either antecedently to the moment of actual union with the Λόγος, or else in the very act and state of union. Antecedently to the union, it [what was taken from the substance of the mother] no otherwise than the mother herself, required to be redeemed by virtue of the λύτρον, redemption, about to be effected through the ΘΕΆΝΘΡΩΠΟΝ, God-man, Christ, and was sanctified by the Holy Spirit; and thus it was that the union of the ΛΌΓΟς and the flesh, now [made] holy, had place. I may purchase a farm: and out of the produce of that farm, when subsequently well cultivated, I may pay the price for the farm itself, which has become much more valuable since its cultivation. David bought the area [site] of the temple for a few shekels of silver [2 Samuel 24:24]; but the same area became inestimably valuable, when the temple was built upon it.[10]—διὸ καὶ, wherefore also) Thus the Angel gives a satisfactory answer to the question, How, Luke 1:34.—τὸ γεννώμενον,[11] which is being conceived [given birth to; not as Engl. Vers. Which shall be born]) in this new and extraordinary manner. Abstract terms, and such as are expressed in the neuter gender, are very much in consonance with those first beginnings of the Gospel revelation; Luke 1:68; Luke 1:71; Luke 1:78; Luke 2:25; Luke 2:30; Luke 2:38.—ἅγιον, Holy) This word is regarded by Tertullian, the Syr[12] Version, the author of the discourse against all heresies in Athanasius, and others of the ancients, as part of the predicate, It shall be called Holy, (and) the Son of God. At all events, the sense of the sentence is most full and compressed: There is a something which is to be given birth to: that which is being given birth to, shall be holy; this holy thing shall be called the Son of God. The whole is inferred from the immediately preceding words of the angel, and that in some such way as the following: The Holy Spirit shall come upon thee; wherefore that, which is being given birth to, shall be Holy. The Power of the Highest shall overshadow thee; wherefore that Holy thing shall be called the Son of God. Luke 1:32 is parallel to this: Thy Son shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest. In Divine things, greatness and holiness very much harmonize. It was concerning this Holy One that the same angel spake in Daniel 9:24.

[9] See Append. Here the substitution of the Adjunct (the Power) for the Subject (the Highest).—ED. and TRANSL.

[10] So Jesus purchased our flesh (humanity) by the redemption about to be made by Him, and then afterwards, by the union of the Λόγος to it, and by the actual paying of the price of His blood, as God-man, made it infinitely more precious.—ED. and TRANSL.

[11] The words ἐκ σοῦ, of thee, subjoined to this participle, had been declared in the margin of the larger Ed. to be an improbable reading; but in Ed. 2 the reading is raised to the sign δ, and is given in the Vers. Germ., though enclosed in brackets. Therefore Bengel ought not to have been reckoned, in the Bibl. Theol. Tom. viii. p. 106, among those who have omitted these words.—E. B.

[12] yr. the Peschito Syriac Version: second cent.: publ. and corrected by Cureton, from MS. of fifth cent.

Lachm. reads ἐκ σοῦ (though in brackets), with C corrected later, ac, some MSS. of Vulg. Iren. Cypr.: and, before γεννώμενον, Hil. ABDb omit the words; and so Tischend.—ED. and TRANSL.Verse 35. - The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee. Again the angel makes use of the term "Highest" when alluding to the eternal Father. The expression of Gabriel, "the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee," reminds us of the opening words of Genesis, where the writer describes the dawn of life in creation in the words, "The Spirit of God moved [or, 'brooded'] over the face of the deep." "The Word was conceived in the womb of a woman, not after the manner of men, but by the singular, powerful, invisible, immediate operation of the Holy Ghost, whereby a virgin was, beyond the law of nature, enabled to conceive, and that which was conceived in her was originally and cmnpletcly sanctified" (art. 3, Bishop Pearson on the Creed). Shall overshadow

"Denoting the mildest and most gentle operation of divine power, that the divine fire should not consume Mary, but make her fruitful" (Bengel). Compare Exodus 33:22; Mark 9:7. Compare the classical legend of Semele, who, being beloved of Jove, besought him to appear to her as he appeared in heaven, in all the terrors of the thunderer, and was consumed by his lightning. The metaphor in the word is taken from a cloud, in which God had appeared (Exodus 40:34; 1 Kings 8:10).

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