Luke 1:14-15 NIV
He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth, for he will be great in the sight of the Lord.
The son that was promised to Zechariah and Elizabeth would be, according to the angel, “great in the eyes of the Lord”. This would be a source of joy and delight for his parents, but also for many others. But what exactly does it mean to be great in the eyes of the Lord? What was Zechariah’s first thought when he heard this expression?
What does it mean to be great? In the world I live in it involves success, achievement, triumph against the odds, excellence, resilience and other such qualities. Great people come from many walks of life, from politicians and sportsmen to scientists and writers, to philosophers and movie stars, to soldiers and explorers and adventurers. Great people are people we admire, people who we aspire to be like. They are people who inspire, people we look up to.
But what characteristics does the angel in this narrative list as making a person great? How does this compare with the world’s view of greatness? These few verses at the beginning of Luke’s gospel give us an insight into what God really values in a person, what in God’s eyes makes a person great. In the next few blogs I want to look at some of those characteristics.