“We have, in these verses, the story of a birth—the birth of the incarnate Son of God, the Lord Jesus Christ. Every birth of a living child is a marvelous event. It brings into the world a soul that will never die. But never since the world began was a birth so marvelous as the birth of Christ. In itself it was a miracle: ‘God was manifested in the flesh.” (2 Tim. iii:16.) The blessings it brought into the world were unspeakable—it opened to man the door of everlasting life.” (J. C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on the Gospels, Vol. 2, p. 49).
“The infinite became the finite, the eternal and supratemporal entered time and became subject to its conditions, the immutable became the mutable, the invisible became the visible, the Creator became the created, the sustainer of all became dependent, the Almighty infirm. All is summed up in the proposition, God became man.” (“The Person of Christ,” Collected Writings of John Murray, Vol. 2, p.132).
The 101 Bible Study looks at Luke 2:1–20 in the light of Isaiah 9:1–7.
“According to this narrative, Mary was possessed of a simple and meditative—we do not say dull or rustic—soul. She meets the strange salutation of the angel with fear and with a perplexed question; but when mysteries beyond all human experience are promised her, says simply, ‘Behold the handmaiden of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word.’ . . . Mary was not a modern superman, but a Jewish maiden of the first century, nurtured in the promises of God—the recipient, indeed, of a wonderful experience, but despite that experience still possessed of some capacity for wonder in her devout and meditative soul.” (J. Gresham Machen, The Virgin Birth of Christ, p. 132, arguing that Luke’s narrative is genuine and original, opposing views that claim the birth narrative is non-historical).
“It must have bewildered and confused her [Mary], but it also became an unspeakable joy to her that God wished to make use of her in order to give the world the Redeemer. God should do with her life as was His good pleasure. She would be His servant in everything. If only His name was sanctified and glorified! For that she would give herself completely.” (S.G. De Graaf, Promise and Deliverance, Vol. III., p. 316).
Quotes used in the Reflection for Sunday morning’s message at Trinity Presbyterian Church.
When is the last time you heard (or read) a theologian use the word “stupendous”? John Murray has picked exactly the right word, I believe.
“The thought of the incarnation is stupendous, for it means the conjunction in one person of all that belongs to Godhead and all that belongs to manhood. It would have been humiliation for the Son of God to have become man under the most ideal conditions, humiliation because of the discrepancy between God and his creation, between the majesty of the Creator on the one hand, and the humble status of the most dignified creature on the other. But it was not such an incarnation that took place. The Son of God was sent and came into this world of sin, of misery, and of death.”
(“The Person of Christ,” Collected Writings of John Murray, Vol. 2, p.133.)
This article by Marianne and William Radius is well worth reading. Our next 101 Bible Study, meeting in the Astoria area on December 16, will focus on the meaning of the incarnation. You are welcome to attend.