Tuesday, 24 December 2013
And the angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God. Luke 1:35
There is a common thread and idea in the Old Testament which is found noted both explicitly and implicitly. It is that One would come to restore what Adam lost. The first hint of this coming One is in Genesis 3:15 –
“And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, And you shall bruise His heel.”
After this, countless references appear which point to Him. Right after their expulsion from the garden, children are born. From these, a single line is highlighted. Again and again, individuals are named and the stories of their lives are given to show God’s superintending hand of care upon the process of ushering in the promised Redeemer.
Abraham was called and eventually he was given the sign of circumcision. That sign was given to identify a select group whom God would use and through whom would come the promise. But even the sign itself is a picture of the coming Messiah. The Bible shows us that sin came through Adam. It then travels through the male to his offspring. As every human has both a father and a mother, every human receives Adam’s fallen nature. Circumcision pictures the cutting away of that fallen nature by cutting the male organ through which sin is transmitted. But it was only a picture; the sin still comes through the father to the child. This is evidenced in the record of those born within the covenant community.
The covenant people continued on, generation after generation. And within their group prophets continued to proclaim the coming One. Hints concerning His birthplace, His ministry, and even His nature are given. Every word of their Scriptures drips with allusions to His coming. But the prophets stopped speaking and a time of quiet came. Approximately 430 years went by and then unexpectedly, a man named Zechariah was given the promise of a son who would go before the Lord to proclaim Him to the people.
Shortly after that, the angel Gabriel appeared to a young Jewish virgin named Mary. He spoke these words to her –
“Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David.”
Her response was natural, “How can this be, since I do not know a man?” And his answer forms the verse we are looking at today. Suddenly, the promises and pictures all come into focus. How could the “seed of the woman” defeat the devil? The answer is that the woman, a fallen child of Adam and bearing his sin and fallen nature like any other person, will bear the Son of God. The sign of circumcision is now understandable. Sin is pictured as being cut away in the covenant people because sin is cut away through the covenant people.
Because sin travels from father to child, and because this Child will have no human father, then no sin will be transferred to Him, despite the fallen nature of the mother. She will be the receptacle through which will come the Messiah of the world. His Father being God, He will be God. His mother being a human, He will be a human. He is the God-Man.
The Child of Christmas is coming; hope for the world is to be found in Him.
Life application: The Christmas Child was born and so we celebrate His birth once a year. But the Christmas Child is eternal, so let us celebrate His life always and forever.
Glorious God Almighty – We wrap presents, anticipate gifts, eat a lot of food, and we share in family and friends. But too often we forget that the only reason we do these things is to mark the birth of the Messiah. Lord God, open hearts and minds to the truth of this day, be exalted for the wondrous work You have accomplished, and receive our thanks and praise for the greatest Gift of all, the Child of Christmas – our Lord and Savior, Jesus. Amen.