Monday, March 7, 2016

Born of a virgin? A sinless life?

The baby - the Boy - the Man - Jesus 

My meditations on the Lord Jesus Christ are progressing slowly. We do well to pause in this busy world, to check the foundations, to be sure of the validity of our hope in Jesus Christ our Lord.
John the Apostle pointed to Jesus when he wrote “the Word (Logos) became flesh and lived among us”  (John 1.14)
We do well to ask then ‘if God came to live among us, how did He come and what was He like? Human reasoning might suggest that He should suddenly appear in dazzling light or as a superstar leader.

But using the Bible as our compass, we learn of a very different appearing. In fact the coming of the Messiah had been predicted 1500 years before that “the prophet would come as one of them who would speak the words of God.” (Deut 18).  Isaiah prophesied that He would be ‘a child born, a son given’. Micah even predicted the town in which He would be born! And so the Israelites waited for the Messiah to arrive, and when He did arrive, so many were not prepared for Him.

Are you prepared to receive Him? Willing to give Him the honour and obedience that is His due?

Well the record of His arrival begins with some interesting events. Matthew the apostle first record the family tree of the child Jesus. This was so important  for Jewish recognition. Then he records the unusual circumstances of the birth. Many have speculated, and others have insinuated sinister happenings, but Matthew records the words of the angel speaking to Joseph “ that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit.” (Matthew 1.20). Then he links this happening to the prophecy of Isaiah : “Behold a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call His name Immanuel” (which means ‘God with us’). In the light of this , Joseph was prepared to endure the misunderstanding of many, by marrying Mary.

Doctor Luke records with great detail and precision more about the arrival of this very special person.
Dr Luke begins with a medical miracle – John is conceived by a woman who was beyond child bearing years, named Elizabeth.  He then proceeds to relate Mary’s encounter with the angel Gabriel who was sent from God.  Dr Luke insists that Mary, then engaged to Joseph, was a virgin (Luke 1: 27).  After the angel announced her conception of a child, a special child, Mary said “How will this be since I am a virgin”.  Why am I emphasizing that Mary was a virgin?   Firstly, because the Bible does. Secondly, because it is important.  This child would be one of us – truly human, but different from us – unspoiled by sin.

The Apostle Paul summarises it so well “When the fullness of time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman (not by man) born under the law”.( Galatians 4.4)
James (the writer of James' letter) who perhaps came from the same womb, describes this man as “the Lord Jesus Christ”.  John the apostle goes on to say “You know that He appeared to take away our sins, and in Him there is no sin (1 John 5:5).  Again, John records the words of the Lord Jesus Himself – “Which of you convicts me of sin – John 8: 46.

Let me summarise:
Mary was indeed a virgin and was so until after the birth of Jesus. The baby born was not spoiled by the fall of Adam or mutated DNA. The boy, the lad, the man Jesus of Nazareth remained holy, innocent, undefiled all His life:
“He knew no sin” (2 Cor 5:21)
“He did no sin” (1 Peter 2:22)
“In Him is no sin” (1 John 5:5)
“Like a lamb without blemish or spot” (1 Peter 1:19)

My soul thrills to this truth, to know that the one I trust and love is truly a man with human understanding, but unspoiled like the rest of us. Well might the heavens open and a voice say ‘this is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased”

Next blog? – only such a one could atone for my sin!

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