“He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High.” Luke 1.32
Jesus is great. He’s mega (add an –s and you have the Greek word for great).
We use the word great in all kinds of ways. Great. Great. Great. The meaning depends on where you put the intonation. “Just great” usually means just the opposite. “Great!” Complete with exclamation mark could mean that something is wonderful or far from it. “Great” can express pleasure. Or pain. Or it can be a very understated way of recognising true greatness. Or it can just be a way of saying that someone is good and worthy without qualification.
Sometimes kings or rulers are referred to as being great. It usually means that they have ruled or sought to rule with justice and courage, whilst at the same time endearing themselves to their people.
My late grandmother used to talk about King George VI as being a great king. His resolve and reassuring demeanour throughout the dark years of the war had left an indelible impression on her heart and mind. One can only imagine the effect on his subjects of his Christmas broadcast in 1939 had: “I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year…”
And yet, despite being so far removed from my grandmother’s world, geographically and socially, she talked about him as though he were a close family friend. Such is the impact a great king can make on his subjects: detached by glory yet gloriously intimate.
Jesus is such a King. His glory and His divinity set Him transcendently apart from us, yet His humanity brings Him close to His subjects in a way that would make the most people friendly ruler of this or any other age seem distant and disconnected.
He is great because He is a great king. But He is also great in that popular kind of way in which we use great. Go on say it. Listen to yourself say it: “Jesus is great”. He’s mega.