The Seven Magnificats
Selections from Luke 1:1-80 and Luke 2:1-52
By way of introduction to the seven Magnificats, we will study the annunciation of the birth of Christ, as it was given by the angel unto Mary. Our study will follow Luke 1:27-38 .
1. The virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph. We emphasize that Mary was a virgin. This was plainly set forth in the prophetic Scriptures, when the Holy Ghost wrote, "A virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call His Name Immanuel." Jesus Christ was virgin born, or else He could never have been called "Immanuel," "God with us." The latter is contingent upon the former.
The fact that He died for us on the Cross, would have been impossible, in any atoning sense, if He had been begotten by natural generation; inasmuch as, in that case, He, Himself would also have been a sinner. Only One who knew no sin, and did no sin, and in whom there was no sin, could die for sinners.
2. Mary was announced as "highly favored," and "blessed * * among women." When the angel approached Mary, he said "Hail, thou that art highly favored." The word "hail," means "joy"; therefore, the angel was saying to Mary, "All joy." When Mary heard his salutation, she was troubled and cast in her mind what manner of salutation it might be. Then the angel said unto her, "Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God."
3. Mary instructed concerning the Child who should be born. The angel said to Mary, that the One whom she was to name "Jesus," would "be great." He also announced, "And (He) shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto Him the throne of His father David: and He shall reign over the House of Jacob for ever; and of His Kingdom there shall be no end."
What an accumulation of titles are found here, yet they were all true. He was called "Jesus," the "Son of the Highest," He was "Great," and He shall yet ascend David's throne, and reign over the House of Jacob in an everlasting Kingdom.
4. Mary told how the possibility of her being mother to the Son of the Highest could be realized. The angel said unto her (Luke 1:35 ), "The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that Holy Thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God." As we speak of the angel's annunciation of the birth of the Saviour, let us emphasize the deeper meaning of the Names ascribed to Him at His birth: emphasizing, particularly, that He was called the "Son of God." As we do this, let us also refer to that remarkable prophecy in Isaiah 9:6 . To all orthodox Christians, Christ carries the Name of "God our Saviour."
I. THE FIRST MAGNIFICAT THAT OF ELISABETH (Luke 1:41-45 )
1. Mary hastening to the hill country. When the angel Gabriel announced to Mary that she should be mother to our Lord, he also told her that her cousin Elisabeth was to have a child within the next three months. In wonderment, Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, unto a city of Judah. We can see her on arrival, as she entered into the house of Zacharias, and saluted Elisabeth. In answer to Mary's call, Elisabeth came out.
2. Elisabeth's magnificat was spoken as she was filled with the Holy Ghost. We emphasize this. A woman who is spoken of in Luke 1:6 as being righteous before God, and as walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless; and a woman who was filled with the Holy Ghost, could not have uttered words contrary to the heart of God, and to the truth.
3. Hear the words of Elisabeth's Spirit-filled magnificat : "And she spake out with a loud voice, and said, Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the Fruit of thy womb. And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?" Thus, Elisabeth, ascribing her cousin, Mary, as "the mother of my Lord," did no less than to acknowledge the Deity of the One who was to be born of Mary.
It must be true that the angel, who had announced unto Zacharias that he and his wife were to have a child, had also announced that Mary, the virgin, was to have a Child, and that His Name should be called "Jesus, the Son of the Highest."
Thus it was that Elisabeth intelligently announced her absolute faith in Mary's Son, as God.
II. THE SECOND MAGNIFICAT THAT OF MARY (Luke 1:46-55 )
1. Mary announced that the One to be born of her was God, her Saviour. As soon as Elisabeth had ceased her magnificat, in which she ascribed Mary as the mother of the Lord, and commended Mary because she had believed that there would be a performance of the things which were told her from the Lord; then Mary gave her response and said, "My soul doth magnify the Lord, and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour."
We are more than sure that the expression, "God my Saviour," referred to the Christ which should be born of Mary. We are sure, first of all, because Mary's magnificat was an acknowledgment of the verity of that of Elisabeth. In other words, Mary was accepting the title given her by her cousin, as the "mother of my Lord."
We believe, secondly, that Mary was referring to the Babe to be born of her, as "God her Saviour," because Elisabeth said, "Blessed is she that believed: for there shall be a performance of those things which were told her."
2. Mary, believing in the Deity of her Son, and receiving the magnificat of her cousin, said, "For He hath regarded the low estate of His handmaiden: for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed." There was no spirit of boastfulness with Mary. In fact, Mary spoke of her low estate, acknowledged that the Lord, who was mighty, had done great things to her. While all generations were to call her blessed, she, in turn, was to ascribe all the glory to God, saying (Luke 1:49 ) "Holy is His Name."
Mary also continued to say, "He hath shewed strength with His arm; He hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts." Would that all of us might have this same spirit of worship, which Mary demonstrated, as the interpulsings of her own heart. Finally, Mary ascribed the birth of her Child as a fulfillment of what God had spoken to the fathers, to Abraham, and to his seed forever.
III. THE THIRD MAGNIFICAT, THAT OF ZACHARIAS (Luke 1:67-79 )
1. The magnificat of Zacharias took place at the circumcision of John. When the angel had told Zacharias, the aged priest, that he was to have a child of this aged wife, Zacharias had not believed. Therefore, the angel had said, "I am Gabriel, that stand in the presence of God; and am sent to speak unto thee, and to shew thee these glad tidings. And, behold, thou shalt be dumb, and not able to speak, until the day that these things shall be performed, because thou believest not my words, which shall be fulfilled in their season." From that day Zacharias was dumb until John was born.
2. A season of great rejoicing. Luke 1:58 tells us that Elisabeth's neighbors and cousins came to see her and rejoiced with her. Thus, on the eighth day, when John was circumcised, they called his name Zacharias, after his father. The mother quickly stopped the proceedings, and said, "Not so; but he shall be called John."
Then her kindred and acquaintances made signs to the babe's father how he would have him called. Zacharias asked for a writing table, and wrote, saying, "His name is John." At this moment, Zacharias' mouth was open, his tongue was loosed, and he began to speak and praise God. Zacharias, filled with the Holy Ghost, said many wonderful things about the birth of John. In the midst of his Spirit-indicted magnificat, Zacharias cried out, "And thou, child, shalt be called the Prophet of the Highest: for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare His ways."
IV. THE FOURTH MAGNIFICAT THAT OF THE ANGEL, AND THE ANGELS (Luke 2:9-14 )
1. The words of the angel. As the shepherds were guarding their flocks by night, we read, "And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid." Then the angel spake, saying, "Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord."
Let us observe the namings which the angel from Heaven gave to Mary's Babe on that first Christmas Day.
(1) The angel ascribed the Babe as the "Saviour." This was in keeping with what the angel had said to Mary. This was in keeping with what Mary had said when she announced her Babe as "God my Saviour." This was in keeping with what Zacharias had said, "Thou, child, shalt be called the prophet of the Highest: * * to give knowledge of salvation."
(2) The angel ascribed the Babe as "Christ." That is, the Saviour was God's Anointed One. Beloved, I would that we all, in speaking of this precious Babe, would ascribe to Him His place as Saviour, Christ, and Lord.
(3) The angel ascribed the Babe as "Lord." It is at the Name of Jesus that every knee shall yet bow, and confess that Jesus is Lord. Truly, other than Christ the Lord, there is no Saviour. There is none other name whereby we must be saved.
2. The words of the angels. We read, "And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the Heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men."
(2) There was glory to God, because in the birth of Jesus Christ, the marvels of His wisdom and foreknowledge were being wrought out. There was glory to God because God was fulfilling His promise concerning the coming of the seed of the woman and Christ was that Seed.
(2) There was peace on earth and good will to men, because the Saviour, Christ the Lord, had come, bringing salvation.
V. THE FIFTH MAGNIFICAT THAT OF THE SHEPHERDS (Luke 2:15-20 )
1. The shepherd's response to the angel's annunciation. As soon as the Heavenly host had disappeared, the shepherds said one to another, "Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us." There was, upon the part of the shepherds, no expression of doubts as to the verity of the angel's message. They heard and they believed. They did not argue against the finding of God, the Son, in so humble a place as a manger. They, the rather, prepared immediately to go. It is worth our while to consider their words.
How many young people today are willing to say, "Let us * * go "? "I will arise and go to Jesus"? How many others are willing to say, "Let us now go." Alas, alas, so many want to defer the day of their going to Christ. They say, "We will go some other time." How many are willing to say, "Let us now go even unto Bethlehem"? In other words, let us go all the way, and not a part of the way.
Finally, how many, old or young, will say, "Let us now go, * * and see"? Any revelation, Divinely given, is worthy of careful consideration. God wants us to look into the depths of the meaning of His Words.
2. The shepherds found it as the angels had told them. They came, they saw, and they were satisfied. Is there any better day for us to come, seeking a Saviour? If we do come, we will see that what God has said is true.
3. The magnificat of the shepherds. The words of their magnificat are not given. We do read two things:
(1) We read that the shepherds made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this Child. Let us do likewise!
(2) We read that the shepherds returned glorifying and praising God. Their Amens and Hallelujahs resounded. The country wide heard them praising God.
VI. THE SIXTH MAGNIFICAT THAT OF SIMEON (Luke 2:25-35 )
1. The Bible description of Simeon. We read concerning this man that he dwelt in Jerusalem, that his name was Simeon, that he was just and devout, that he was waiting for the Consolation of Israel, and that the Holy Ghost was upon him. To such a one, the Lord revealed that he should not see death before he had seen the Lord's Christ. Here was a definite statement to Simeon that Mary's Babe was God the Lord's Christ.
2. The Bible speaks much of the Holy Ghost in conjunction with the birth of the Lord. The angel told Mary that the Holy Ghost was to come upon her. Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost when she spoke her magnificat. Zacharias was filled with the Holy Ghost when he sounded forth his note of praise. Now that we come to Simeon, we read that the Holy Ghost was upon him; that the Holy Ghost had revealed the birth of the Lord's Christ unto him, and that he came by the Spirit into the Temple, when the parents brought in the Child Jesus that He might be circumcised after the custom of the Law. How intimately did the Holy Ghost move in connection with the birth of Christ!
3. The joy and rejoicing of the aged Simeon as he came into the Temple. He took the Infant, God, up in his arms and blessed God and said, "Lord, now lettest Thou Thy servant depart in peace, according to Thy Word: for mine eyes have seen Thy Salvation, which Thou hast prepared before the face of all people; a Light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of Thy people Israel." The aged Simeon declared that the Babe that he held in his arms was "God's Salvation," and that his eyes had seen Him. He declared that this Babe was God's Light to the Gentiles, and His glory to the people of Israel. These words, ascribed to Christ "Salvation," "Light," and "glory," could be ascribed to none other than God, the Son, and Son of God.
VII. THE SEVENTH MAGNIFICAT THAT OF ANNA (Luke 2:36-39 )
1. Description of Anna. In Luke 2:36, we read that Anna was a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Aser: we also read that she was of great age; that she had been married seven years, and had been a widow for eighty-four years. She must have been over a hundred. This aged woman served God with fastings and prayer, night and day. For our part, we are very happy that the Holy Ghost saw fit to seal the six magnificats with this seventh one from the lips of Anna. We will be delighted to know what so true and so faithful a woman, and a woman of so great an age, had to say about the Infant Christ.
2. Anna's words. Luke 2:38 says, "And she coming in that instant gave thanks likewise unto the Lord, and spake of Him to all them that looked for redemption in Israel."
It was remarkable that just as the aged Simeon had ceased speaking, that the aged Anna should come in.
(1) Anna, seeing the Infant, Christ, gave thanks likewise unto the Lord. She joined her magnificat, her praises with those of Elisabeth, of Mary, of Zacharias, of the angels, of the shepherds, and of Simeon. Beloved readers, what say you? Shall we, likewise, add our praise? Yea, our worshipful praise.
(2) Anna, seeing Christ, spake of Him to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem. She, therefore, added her testimony to that of the others, that the Infant Christ, was a "Saviour" a "Redeemer." Beloved, with the seven magnificats, let us follow the example of the wise men, who brought to the Child Christ their gifts of gold and frankincense and myrrh, and fell down and worshiped Him.
Great is the mystery of the incarnation "God * * manifest in the flesh." The following story tells a tale of how God can do what man cannot do or understand.
And he that was dead came forth (John 11:44 ). The famous clock in Strasburg Cathedral has a mechanism so complicated that it seems to the ignorant and superstitious almost a work of superhuman skill. The abused and offended maker, while as yet unpaid for his work, came one day and touched its secret springs, and it stopped. All the patience and ingenuity of a nation's mechanics and artisans failed to restore its disordered mechanism and set it in motion. Afterward, when his grievances were redressed, that maker came again, touched the inner springs, and set it again in motion, and all its multiplied parts revolved again obedient to his will. When thus, by a touch, he suspended and restored those marvelous movements, he gave to any doubting mind proof that he was the maker, and certainly the master, of that clock. And when Jesus of Nazareth brings to a stop the mechanism of nature, makes its mighty wheels turn back, or in any way arrests its grand movement more than all, when He cannot only stop, but start again, the mysterious clock of human life He gives to an honest mind overwhelming proof that He is God. For a malignant power might arrest or destroy, but only God could reconstruct and restore. A. T. Pierson.
The Infant Christ A Christmas Sermon
In a manger, on the hay,
There, incarnate God, once lay:
From the Father's throne He came
To a world all sunk in shame;
Came a Babe, of virgin born,
Came from Heaven, of glory shorn,
Came with swaddling clothes wrapped round,
Came with limitations bound.
In a manger, on the hay,
There, Immanuel once lay;
"God with us," on earth He trod
Fashioned man, yet very God;
"God with us," a Babe, He came
To declare the Father's Name;
"God with us," from realms above
Came to show the Father's love.
In a manger, on the hay,
With the cattle, Jesus lay;
Not as monarch, with a crown,
Not as wizard, with renown;
Nay, He came the Holy One.
Came the meek and lowly One,
Came that shepherds might abide
Unembarrassed at His side.
In a manger, on the hay,
Christ, the Saviour, sweetly lay;
He took flesh and blood to die
That the sinner might draw nigh;
Came to open wide the door,
Came the wand'rer to restore;
Came, that all might enter in,
Blood-washed, saved from ev'ry sin.
In a manger, on the hay.
Christ, the "Jewish Sign" once lay;
To a nation all forlorn,
Trodden down, all rent and torn
Came a Babe, to certify,
Virgin born, to verify
That God's nation was secure,
Israel shall e'er endure.
In a manger, on the hay,
Babe, yet "destined King," He lay;
Wise men, guided by a star,
Came from other lands afar,
Worshiped Him, "King of the Jews,"
While His own refused the news;
Yet, He'll surely come again,
Come as King of kings, to reign.
I. GOD WITH US (Isaiah 7:14 with Matthew 1:23 )
How striking are the words, "And she brought forth her firstborn Son * * and laid Him in a manger"!
He was Son of a virgin, and yet, withal, He was the Son of God. This is the message of the whole Bible: "Great is the mystery * * God was manifest in the flesh." The Prophet of old had written, "Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a Son, and shall call His Name Immanuel." Christ was indeed Son of God, and God the Son. He was "God with us."
Jesus Christ was, according to the flesh, of the seed of David, a son of Abraham, made of a woman, made under the Law. Jesus Christ was, according to the Spirit, "the True God, and eternal life."
Jesus Christ was begotten of the Holy Ghost. Mary knew that, according to nature, she could not bring forth a son; therefore, she said to the angel, Gabriel, "How can this be, seeing I know not a man?"
The angel quickly replied, "The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God."
No other child in the history of the world was ever conceived as this Child was conceived. He received His body, made of a woman; yet He was born, Son of God. It is no marvel, then, that His Name was called "Wonderful, Counsellor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace."
Christ truly could say, "Ye are from beneath; I am from above: ye are of this world; I am not of this world."
Christ was God in the ages past; therefore, in the flesh, He was God made manifest, God incarnate. He knew from whence He came, for He said, "I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world." He came to show us the Father, to declare Him, to interpret Him; therefore, He could say, "He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father."
From God up above, from Heaven in love,
The Lord of all glory came down;
He was God, yet an infant in weakness He lay,
He was God, but was God on a cradle of hay;
He wore neither signet nor crown.
II. WRAPPED IN SWADDLING CLOTHES (Luke 2:6-7 )
It is difficult for us to fathom the mystery of God made flesh: but it is more difficult for us to think of God as swaddled, bound, and hemmed in.
He who created man, became man; that is, the Creator became the creature.
He who gave to man "richly all things to enjoy" became man, with nowhere to lay His head; that is, He, by whom and for whom are all things, became poor, that we "through His poverty might be rich."
He who was Lord of all became servant of all. The disciples worshiped Him, yet He girded Himself and washed their feet.
He it was before whom the seraphims continually cried, "Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of Hosts"; and yet, it was He who, "being found in fashion as a man, * * humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the Cross."
As a babe, as a youth, and as a man fulfilling His ministry, He was always God, yet He was always straitened.
He said with His own lips, "I have a baptism to be baptized with; and how am I straitened till it be accomplished."
Christ was Life and the Giver of life, and yet He tasted the cup of death for every man.
Christ was the Author of peace. He said, "My peace I give unto you," and yet, three times we read that He was troubled.
He who was the "Good Shepherd" and the "Great Shepherd" and the "Chief Shepherd" became, for our sakes, the "lamb," voluntarily led to the slaughter, and the "sheep," who before His shearers stood dumb.
He was the Glory of the Father, and yet His face was covered with shame and spitting.
He was the destined King of kings and Lord of lords, and yet He was crowned with thorns, and He died with transgressors, His kingship defamed.
Surely the "swaddling clothes" that wrapped the Babe bore a prophecy of deepest meaning.
They wrapped Him around, with swaddling clothes bound
A ship that was tied to its pier;
He was God, but was straitened, circumscribed, yea,
He was God, but was God on a cradle of hay,
While sorrows were hovering near.
III. NO ROOM IN THE INN (Luke 2:7 , l.c.)
The story of Christ's birth is a prophecy of His life.
At His birth, there was "no room for them in the inn." We pass down through thirty years. Was there room for Him in Nazareth? room in His Father's House? room upon the earth? Although the Nazarites at first marveled at the gracious words that proceeded out of His mouth, they soon led Him to the brow of the hill on which the city was built, intending to cast Him down. There was no room for Him in Nazareth.
He entered the Temple to drive out the money changers and the sellers of doves. He said, "My House shall be called the House of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves." There was no room for Him in His Father's House.
Among men, He soon became the "despised and rejected." He moved among the populace, doing good. He fed the hungry, healed the sick, cast out demons, raised the dead. It was not long, however, until the surging crowds learned to cry out against Him, saying, "Let Him be crucified." There was no room for Him on the earth.
In His birth, Herod had sought to slay Him. Then were fulfilled the words of the Prophet, "In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not."
The massacre of the innocents proved to be a prophecy of the close of His days, for as He neared the end of His ministry, once more "they went about to slay Him."
The crucifixion was the climax of the same spirit which marked Christ's reception at His birth. Only, with the years, the people's hatred intensified. They compassed the Cross as dogs; they gaped upon Him as ravening and roaring lions; they wagged the head; they laughed Him to scorn; they shot out the lip against Him.
Amid the gaiety of modern Christmas festivities, the world has no room for the Lord Jesus "in the inn."
With cattle He slept, while vigil was kept
By angels who hovered about:
He was God, yet was God from whom men turned away,
He was God, but was God on a cradle of hay,
Men gave Him no welcome, no shout.
IV. WORSHIPED: KING OF THE JEWS (Matthew 2:11 )
Could anything be more striking than the story of the wise men journeying from afar, with gifts of frankincense and myrrh, to worship the holy Babe as King of the Jews?
In His birth, He was worshiped as "King of the Jews." In His death, He was crucified as "King of the Jews." In His Second Advent, He will be heralded as "King of kings."
All of this is in line with the words of the angel, Gabriel, who said unto the virgin Mary, "Thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a Son * * and the Lord God will give unto Him the throne of His father David: and He shall reign over the House of Jacob for ever; and of His Kingdom there shall be no end."
Let Christians who rejoice in His birth, also rejoice in the destined Kingship of Christ. The Prophet said, "The zeal of the Lord of Hosts will perform this."
The Children of Israel are still wandering over the face of the earth without a King. Let them, nevertheless, rejoice on this Christmas Day. Let this day bring back to their memory the sure sign which God gave to Ahaz, that Rezin and Pekah could not make a breach against Judah, and set a king in the midst of Jerusalem. God said of their attempt: "It shall not stand, neither shall it come to pass." For this cause, God gave to Ahaz the sign of Judah's security and of the security of Judah's throne. That "sign" was God's promise and pledge to Judah: "Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a Son, and shall call His Name Immanuel."
When Christ was born in Bethlehem of Judea, God's promise to Ahaz was established. During the twenty centuries which have followed, Israel has remained forsaken of both of her kings. She has, however, been kept by God's election, awaiting the day when God's Son shall return as Israel's Messiah, to sit upon David's throne.
The Babe of Bethlehem still lives, and the "sign" of God still stands. God has given to all mankind His unchangeable oath that He will judge the inhabited earth in righteousness by that Man whom He hath ordained, even by our Lord Jesus Christ. This oath, which was set forth by the "sign" of the conception of the virgin and the birth of Immanuel, was afterward certified and made sure by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.
What hallowed and what happy anticipations, therefore, should be ours on this particular Christmas Day! We are living in the midst of a world rent and torn; we are dwelling in the close of an age which finds the hearts of men filled with strange forebodings of the things which are about to come to pass.
He who was born King of the Jews may come soon to take His throne. Come He must, and come He will. His throne shall be established in Truth and righteousness.
The wise men drew near, with gifts and with cheer,
They worshiped Him King of the Jews;
He was God, who is destined to reign one glad day,
He was God, though He lay on a cradle of hay,
Let Christians receive the good news.
V. THE PRESENT GLORY OF THE CHRIST
The Babe of the manger, who was announced as the Son of God, is now heralded as the Son of the Father's right hand.
As we think, therefore, of the birth of Christ, let us permit our minds to pass on to His life, and then on to His death. But we dare not leave Him crucified and buried. We must follow the Babe of Bethlehem past the empty tomb. We need, on this Christmas Day, to stand with the disciples at the Mount of Olives. We need to see the Lord ascending through the Heavens. We need to hear the cry of the angels, a mighty host, saying, "Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of Glory shall come in."
We need to behold our Christ seated at the Father's right hand a Prince and a Saviour. We need to see Him clothed with authority and power, with principalities and the rulers of this world under His feet. We need to see Him coming in the clouds of Heaven, in power and great glory. We need to see Him reigning on David's throne.
How else can we, with the wise men, rightly worship the Babe of Bethlehem?
If we do not recognize in that Babe all the glory which His life and death and resurrection and ascension and Second Coming and eternity give to Him, how can we bring an adoration, on this Christmas Day, which is acceptable unto God?
"Let saints shout and sing,
Their glad anthems ring;
Praise God on this good Christmas tide;
He is God, now exalted with power and sway,
He is God, but not now on a cradle of hay,
Let all in His glory abide."
"Let us, on this Christmas Day, take a long look through faith's telescope. This may be our last Christmas on earth. We may not be here another year. Do not think for a moment that we are expecting to die. We have made no arrangements for such an event. God never told His people to look for death; it may overtake some of us. Bat if it does, we know the sting is removed. We can look out into the future from this Christmas Day with a glorious prospect. There is a possibility, if not a great probability, that we shall spend next Christmas with our Lord Jesus Christ in the Glory. Oh, what a prospect! To be like Him whom we have long loved, when dimly seen from afar! To be with Him and to be like Him! What an inspiration this is to a better service while we wait! What an inspiration for a happier life, and for a more Christlike walk!
Oh, Saviour mine, by birth Divine!
Upon this natal day of Thine
Dwell with our stress of happiness.
Count not our reverence the less,
Because with glee and jubilee
Our hearts go singing up to Thee."
Dr. W. W. White
"Unto you is born this day a Saviour"
Which is Jesus Christ the wondrous Lord;
Not a "teacher," not a "good example,"
But the Son of God, the Living Word.
No "philosopher," his fancies weaving,
Warp of dreams and woof of visions vast,
Not a "prophet," peering down the future,
Not a "scholar," delving in the past.
"Unto you is born this day a Saviour";
Shine, O star! and shout, O angel voice!
Unto you this precious gift is given;
Sing, O earth! and all ye Heavens, rejoice!
Long the world has waited such a Saviour,
Sunk in sin and torn by fear and doubt;
Long in darkness groped for truth and wisdom;
Glory, glory, now the light shines out!
"Unto you is born this day a Saviour,"
Earth's one hope, the Life, the Truth, the Way;
Mighty God and glorious Redeemer,
Jesus Christ the Lord is born today.
Annie Johnson Flint,
The Search of the Shepherds
The Christmas story from any angle is most interesting. We are to study, "The Search of the Shepherds."
The study is well named, for the duty of the shepherd is to search for the sheep that go astray.
We remember that wonderful song, "There Were Ninety and Nine." The song describes the ninety and nine lying safely within the shelter of the fold, while one was out on the hills away, lost and wandering. The Shepherd in this song, is Christ, and He passes on through the "thorns" of Calvary until, at last, He finds the sheep, and, placing it on His shoulders, brings it home with rejoicings.
We remember that Christ is the Good Shepherd of the sheep, because He gives His life for the sheep; that He is the Great Shepherd, because He came forth from the grave in resurrection power; and that He is the Chief Shepherd in His glorious Second Coming.
We need not marvel, therefore, that the Lord came to certain shepherds who were in that same country watching their sheep by night. The Good, and the Great, and the Chief Shepherd of the sheep, came to the underling shepherds who were faithfully fulfilling their task.
1. God, in sending the angel to the shepherds, was, in fact, suggesting that He was sending Christ, the Shepherd of Israel, to die for His sheep.
2. The shepherds, in seeking the Lord's Shepherd, and in worshiping Him, were acknowledging the supremacy of the Heavenly Shepherd over the earthly shepherds. There are shepherds many, but there is but One, who is Chief. Even in the church, pastors are called shepherds (1 Peter 5:2-4 ), but they all are subservient to the Chief Shepherd, who will soon appear with His crown for the under-shepherds.
3. Christ was the Lamb of God, and the shepherds were seeking for the Heavenly Lamb. We know that Christ was announced, in after years, by John the Baptist as, "The Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world." He, then, who was Shepherd, was also Lamb.
This is one of God's paradoxes; the Shepherd of the sheep, went like a lamb to the slaughter; and the Shepherd was like a sheep standing dumb before His shearers.
Thus, the great Bible doctrine of substitution is set forth in striking symbolism. He who was Shepherd, becomes Lamb. He who was the Shepherd seeking the sheep which was lost, becomes the Lamb "lost" for us; bearing our sins; while the "shepherds of the country" came seeking Him.
I. "LET US * * GO."
The words "Let us go" are found in Luke 2:15 . They were spoken by the shepherds on that memorable day of Christ's birth. We will pick up the threads and seek to discover the reason for the shepherds' words.
Why did the shepherds say, "Let us go"?
In the near-by country, lying around Bethlehem, there were shepherds keeping watch over their flocks by night. "And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid." Then the angel said unto them, "Behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord."
No sooner had the announcement of the angel of the Lord been ended, and the fact been given that the Babe would be found wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger; than, "suddenly, there was with the angel a multitude of the Heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the Highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men." When this great sight was completed and the Heavenly glory that surrounded them had past, the shepherds said, "Let us go."
How many of you would have liked to have gone with those shepherds, in search of the Lord's Christ? The wise men came from afar, seeking Him who was born King of the Jews. Would you have been happy to have joined them in their journey over the sands seeking the Christ Child?
Certainly you would! Even today after the lapse of almost two thousand years, your heart thrills with joy as you join in the singing of carols unto Him.
Certainly you would, and yet, we wonder if you have really come to Him, and have opened your heart to receive Him as your Lord.
Jesus said once, "Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." Did you answer, "I will go"? Then, did you go to Him? The prodigal son said, "I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father I have sinned against Heaven, and before thee." What followed? "And he arose and came to his father."
Have you come from the far country seeking the Lord? Have you found Him? Are you at home with the Lord; saved, robed and satisfied?
How many, in the days of old, came to Jesus seeking salvation and healing? Come, let us join them, and seek the Lord. Let us sing that good old song which our mother sang, and our father loved:
"I will arise and go to Jesus,
He will embrace me in His arms;
In the arms of my dear Saviour,
Oh, there are ten thousand charms."
II. "LET US NOW GO."
We have added one word of three letters, to the theme of the first part. That little word is most vital in our decisions to go to Christ. The word is, "now."
There was no thought of delay with the shepherds, no desire to procrastinate. They said let us now go. Does the same spirit of prompt decision, and of immediate action rest with all who hear this word?
1. NOW is God's time. "Behold, now is the accepted time; behold now, is the day of salvation" (2 Corinthians 6:2 ).
We live in one eternal now ; we cannot climb over now ; we cannot pass around now; we cannot crawl under now. We have no other time than now.
2. TOMORROW is a fool's word. "Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain; whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow" (James 4:13-14 ).
Our life is but a vapour which appeareth for a little time and then vanisheth away. How dare we, then, waste our little now. Shall we say, "When I have a more convenient season"? Do we know that such a season will ever be ours?
3. Today is the time for decision. Joshua said, "Choose you this day whom ye will serve" (Joshua 24:15 ). If we are not coming at God's time, when will we come? How long will we halt between two opinions? if God be God, let us follow Him.
Is it right for us to say, "Not now, by and by," when God says today? "To day if ye will hear His voice, harden not your hearts" (Hebrews 3:15 ).
We entered once a lawyer's office. On his desk stood a motto beautifully framed. The motto read: "Do it now." We asked him if the motto meant much to him? He said that it meant success in business. Shall we have a weaker motto in things which relate to eternal life?
III. "EVEN UNTO BETHLEHEM."
The shepherds said, "Let us now go even unto Bethlehem." They purposed in their heart to go all of the way. There was no thought of stopping short of a full obedience. How many there are who fall by the wayside!
1. The prodigal son came to his father. First of all he said, "I will arise and go to my father." Did he fall short of his purpose? Not he. "He arose and came to his father." Beloved, you dare not loiter by the way. Until you have found certain salvation in Christ and have experienced a real salvation, cease not your search. To tarry on the doorstep of peace and life, is sheer folly. Go even unto Bethlehem.
2. To start, and then to fall back, is folly. Christ said, "No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the Kingdom of God" (Luke 9:62 ).
Shall we say, "I will follow Thee, but let me first go and bid them farewell, which are at home at my house"? Shall we say, "Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father"?
Paul wrote to the Galatians, "Ye did run well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the Truth?" They had started, but turned back and had become entangled again in a yoke of bondage. Is it not better, not to have known the way of righteousness, than, having known it, to turn away from it? Herod heard John and heard him gladly. He even observed John and did many things; but Herod was not willing to give up his brother Philip's wife, whom he had wrongfully married. Let us go "even unto Bethlehem."
3. To faint by the way, is to fail to reap our harvest. There is a message here for Christians as well as for the unsaved. We read in God's Book: "Let us not be weary in well doing, for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not."
How many Christians fall by the wayside! How many are like the seed among thorns, which proved unfruitful because the cares of this life, the pleasures of the world, and deceitfulness of riches choked their growth! We need to go through with God even unto Bethlehem.
IV. "LET US SEE THIS THING WHICH HAS COME TO PASS."
Truly a great "sight" was to be found in Bethlehem. There in a manger was a Saviour, who was Christ the Lord. There in a manger was "God, manifest in flesh." There in a manger was, "Immanuel," God with us.
1. We wonder if Christmas revelers fail to see this GREAT "THING" in the Christ of the manger? We sing our carols and do homage to the Babe of Bethlehem. Do we remember that that Babe was the fulfillment of Isaiah's prophecy: "Unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government shall be upon His shoulder"? That Babe, according to the Prophet, was to be called, "Wonderful, Counsellor; The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The prince of peace." Do we recognize Him as such?
2. We wonder if Christmas revelers see in "this thing, which has come to pass," "a Saviour, which is Christ the
Lord"? If a ship was sinking slowly but surely at sea, could a greater sight be seen than a "saviour ship" heaving to, for the rescue? No marvel that the Angel of the Lord said, "I bring you good tidings of great joy!" No marvel that the shepherds said, "This thing which has come to pass"! God had given promise that the Seed of the woman should bruise the head of Satan; now that promise had come to pass.
Isaiah, in the Spirit, had written, "Behold a virgin shall conceive, and bear a Son, and shalt call His name Immanuel": now that "thing" had come to pass.
Micah, in the Holy Spirit, wrote, "But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall He come forth unto Me, that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting": now that very "thing" had come to pass.
V. "THEY CAME * * AND FOUND * * THE BABE."
Let us mark three things:
1. They came obedient to the word of the angel. They came they put action to their conviction. They came to the place where they were told to come to Bethlehem, to the city of David. Let us look for Christ, where He is to be found. The women sought for Him in the sepulcher, but the two angels said, "He is not here, but is risen."
Today we can not find Jesus the Lord where the shepherds found Him, in a manger. Today we cannot find Him in the, grave, where the women failed to find Him. He is now at the Father's right hand, exalted a Prince and a Saviour.
2. They came with haste. They had the urge within them to hurry. They did not want any event to take away the Lord before they arrived.
Suppose that Bartimaeus had stopped his cry for help when many bade him to hold his peace he never would have seen Christ; for that day Jesus was passing through Jericho for the last time.
3. They came and found Mary, and Joseph, and the Babe. The word spoken by angels was sure and steadfast. Nothing said by angels needs to be unsaid, or modified. The word spoken by the Prophets, in the Holy Spirit, is likewise sure and steadfast. This first coming was fulfilled, according to the word spoken by the angel. Christ's Second Coming will be just as faithfully fulfilled. Not one word shall fail.
We wonder how many of you have come and found the Saviour? Hear this promise, Then shall ye "find Me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart."
VI. "THE BABE LYING IN A MANGER."
What surprises cling to the birth of Christ! His humble parentage (Mary, the wife of a carpenter). His humble village of birth (Bethlehem, little among the cities of Judah). His humble crib (Ye shall find the Babe in a manger). Let us linger awhile in the stable and view the manger.
Oh, my soul, be hushed, and wonder,
In the manger, on the hay,
Mid the cattle and the plunder,
Christ the infant Child doth lay.
Why was He laid in the manger?
1. There was no room for Him in the inn. Christ had come to the world, and the world was made by Him, but the world knew Him not. Christ had come to His own, and His own received Him not.
2. There was, in the manger, a token that He was easy of access. Had He been laid in a cradle, bedecked with the jewels of royalty, the shepherds and the common people had been more than afraid to have sought Him not. Where is he who would not seek the Lord, in a manger?
3. The "manger" spoke of His humiliation. He humbled Himself, and came in fashion as a man. He was God, but was God bending low to the lowly.
4. The environment of His cradle the cattle, told that He was to mix and mingle with sinners seeking the lost that He might redeem them.
VII. THEY RETURNED PRAISING GOD
Thank God for the happy climax! Is it not always thus? He who finds the Christ, and worships Him, will find in Him, "all joy."
1. They rejoiced because they had proved God and found Him true. They knew that they had not been deceived by the angel. They were assured in their own minds that the word of God was "yea and amen." Beloved, let us know that God's word is forever settled in heaven.
2. They rejoiced because the fact that they had found the Babe according to the word of the angel, made what the angel said ABOUT the Christ also "yea and amen." That is They had found more than a Babe they had found a Saviour who was "Christ the Lord."
3. They rejoiced, because they realized that in that Babe there was God's promise of "good will to men." The far-reaching results of the birth of that holy Babe, we know today, better than they knew; yet they knew that He was a Child of destiny a deliverer of Israel from her woes.
4. They rejoiced and glorified God. They rejoiced and shared with others their joy. They certainly told abroad what they had heard and seen. Let us go and do likewise.
The Childhood of Christ
We come now into the study of a Holy Child. He was a Child different from any other child ever born of woman. As preparatory to the study proper let us mark some of those things which prove the statement just made that Christ the Child was distinct from and different to all other sons of men.
1. No one in birth ever was heralded as the Christ Child was heralded. Far back, in the garden of Eden, when the first pair sinned, God came walking in the Garden in the cool of the day. It was there, as He faced the sinful progenitors of the human race, that the first mention of the birth of Christ was made. The Lord said, "I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head." That seed was Christ In Isaiah 9:6 it was written: "Unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given." Then it was said, that "His Name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace."
In Micah we are told the place of Christ's birth, "But thou, Bethlehem, * * out of thee shall He come forth."
In addition to the above an angel came and announced to Mary, the virgin, that Christ was to be born of her. Thus all must grant that no other child ever was heralded, in birth, as Christ was heralded.
2. No one in birth was ever honored as Christ was honored. Some may demur, saying that Christ was born in a stable and laid in a manger; that He came into the world, and the world knew Him not; that He came to His own, and His own received Him not. That is true, and yet, none but the Son of God, as an infant, was ever honored by the moving of a Heavenly body to mark His cradle. Jesus, however, was so honored. We read, "When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy."
Again, none but the Son of God ever had so great an acclaim by angel hosts. We read of the shepherds feeding their flocks by night, when, suddenly the glory of the Lord shone round about them. Then an angel gave the great annunciation, "Behold * * unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord." As the angel spoke, suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the Heavenly host praising God, and saying, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men."
3. No one in birth ever was hated as Christ in birth was hated. This may seem paradoxical to what we have just said, yet it is true. None was so honored; and yet, none was so hated. You remember how the wise men were warned of God to return to their home another way. Likewise Joseph was warned to flee into Egypt, "For," said the angel, "Herod will seek the young Child's life to destroy Him." The result was that in Ramah there was weeping, Rachel weeping for her children, and could not be comforted, because they were not.
We have seen briefly that Jesus Christ in birth was distinct from other children. We will now consider the Lord Jesus in His childhood, and bring out particularly those incidents which cluster around the Holy Child in His twelfth year, when He went up with His parents to the feast of the Passover at Jerusalem.
I. THE HABITS OF A HOLY CHILD (Luke 2:40 )
It is a delight to study the child-life of the Lord Jesus. The opening verse of our study tells us that, "The Child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom; and the. grace of God was upon Him." These are remarkable words to be spoken of a child under twelve years of age, but they were spoken of a special Child the Son of God.
The thing which we desire particularly to present, however, is found in verses forty-one and forty-two. "Now His parents went to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of the Passover. And when He was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem after the custom of the Feast."
Boys and girls need the preaching of the Word, and they need to experience the sacred manifestations of the Spirit of God which take place in the regular Lord's Day worship in the house of God.
Parents who love their children teach their children to enter the house of God early in life.
II. AN EPOCHAL VISIT (Luke 2:41-42 )
We wish you to visualize the Feast of the Passover as it was held in Jerusalem from year to year.
1. The passover feast was one of five great typical feasts of the Jews. There was first of all the Feast of the Passover. Then came the Feast of the First Fruits. Following that came the Feast of Pentecost; then, the Feast of the Trumpets; and finally, the Feast of Tabernacles. Each of these feasts anticipated a great coming event in Israel's history as it related to the Lord Jesus Christ.
1. The Passover looked on to the death of Christ, where Christ, the Paschal Lamb, was to be slain.
2. The First Fruits foretold of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ, where He became the Firstfruits from the dead.
3. Pentecost looked forward to the coming of the Spirit as the promise of the Father, and to the verification of Christ's having been seated at the right hand of God.
4. The Trumpets were a prophecy of that time when the Lord would call His people, Israel, from every nation under Heaven, and restore them to Jerusalem, and to Judea the land of promise.
5. The Tabernacles was in commemoration of that hour when Jesus Christ would reside among His people, being accepted by them and crowned as their King-Priest.
2. The feast of the Passover was in commemoration of the deliverance of Israel out of Egypt through the shedding of the blood of the passover Lamb. We all remember how the blood was sprinkled on the side posts and on the upper door post, and how, when God saw the blood, He passed over Israel sparing the. firstborn son in every home.
The Feast of the Passover, moreover, looked forward to the coming of Jesus Christ whom John proclaimed as the Lamb of God who took away the sin of the world.
III. TARRYING BEHIND (Luke 2:43 )
When the Feast of the Passover had been fulfilled and Joseph and Mary were returning to their home in Nazareth Jesus tarried behind in Jerusalem. Here is a matter of no small significance.
1. The Lord Jesus even in His twelfth year put God first in His life. He tarried behind in Jerusalem, not because of any disrespect to His mother, but because He was "doing business" for His Father. We will discover, a little later, that Jesus, as a Child, was subject unto His mother and unto Joseph. His obligations to the Father, naturally preceded those to which He subjected Himself by reason of home ties.
In all things God should be first. Children are Divinely instructed to obey their fathers and their mothers in the Lord. When it is necessary, in full obedience to God, we must be ready, if need be, to leave even father or mother.
2. The Lord Jesus still tarries behind where He is not wanted and not sought. We remember, in after years, as the disciples were going to Emmaus, the Lord Jesus came and walked along with them. As they came near to the journey's end, and the two disciples were about to turn into their home, Jesus made as though He would go further. The Lord was willing to tarry with the two disciples and to enter into their home with them, but He would not press Himself upon them.
IV. A STARTLING SUPPOSITION (Luke 2:44 )
1. They supposed Him to be in the company with them. In verse forty-four we read of the company returning homeward from the Feast. They had taken a day's journey, and, missing the Lord Jesus, the child of twelve years, they sought for Him among their kinsfolk and acquaintances, but found Him not. Verse forty-four says that they supposed that He was in the company.
It is difficult to imagine Mary and Joseph going on without Christ; merely "supposing" that He was with them, and yet, this is what they did.
They sought for Him among their kinsfolk and acquaintance, but He was not there. Perhaps there are some today who want to find Christ, and they are seeking Him among their relatives and close friends, but they find Him not. These friends may be churchmembers, of course, but they know not how to show Christ unto the one who is seeking Him. Many young boys and girls have longed to be saved, but they found no help at home to show them the way.
2. They found Him not. We wonder if the time will ever come when some of you who read these words will vainly seek for Christ and find Him not? Are you building your faith on a hope-so religion? Are you satisfied to merely think you are saved? In our heart of hearts we believe that many are going religiously to hell. The Bible describes some who will at last say, "Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Thy Name? * * and in Thy Name done many wonderful works?" But the Lord will reply, "I never knew you."
Before we take another day's journey let us assure our hearts that Christ is journeying with us. If He is not there, it is better to find it out now while we may still turn back and seek Him, than it is to find it out when it is forever too late.
V. SEEKING THE LOST CHILD (Luke 2:45 )
1. Let us note that Mary and Joseph found Him not. It must have been startling indeed, when, after full inquiry and faithful search they woke up to the fact that the Child Christ was not with them in the caravan.
It is sad enough to lose any child, but to lose such a Child was sad indeed! We can better afford to lose anything under Heaven, than to lose Christ, and in losing Him to lose our own souls also.
There is a little passage in the Old Testament which says, "As thy servant was busy here and there, he was gone." We wonder if that was not the case with Mary and Joseph.
2. Let us note that they sought Him sorrowing. We have often said that a tear is a wonderful telescope through which to see the Lord. We know that a broken and a contrite spirit God does not despise. We know, moreover, that when we search for Him with all our heart we will find Him. Does sorrow of soul encompass you? Do you hunger and thirst after Christ? We believe you, too, will soon find Him.
VI. IN THE MIDST OF THE DOCTORS (Luke 2:46-48 )
1. The ignorance of the doctors of the law. We are willing to grant that the doctors with whom the infant Christ spoke were wise men after the flesh, and they were noble. We would not deny that they knew much of the letter of the Law. However, we are just as certain that they utterly failed to grasp the real spiritual message of the Word of God.
We read in another place how Christ said, "Search the Scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of Me." They knew the Bible, but they knew not its message. They sought the Scriptures, but they saw not the Saviour.
2. The enlightenment of Christ. It is almost astounding to see a twelve-year-old Boy asking questions which challenged the scriptural intelligence of Israel's great men. No wonder that the doctors were astonished at His understanding, and His answers. No wonder that even Mary was amazed when she beheld Him with the doctors. The doctors, perhaps, afterward discussed Jesus as a Jewish prodigy, as a coming Rabbi. We know that He was God, that He was taught of God, and that He knew God.
Do you remember how the hearts of the disciples burned within them by the way, as Christ opened up unto them the Scriptures?
VII. AN ILLUMINATING QUESTION (Luke 2:49-50 )
1. Christ's question revealed His personal knowledge of His Deity. The parents of Christ turned back seeking Him. It was after three days that they found Him in the Temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them and asking them questions. As the mother drew near she said unto Him, "Son, why hast Thou thus dealt with us? behold, Thy father and I have sought Thee sorrowing." In answer to this query, the Child Christ, Himself, asked a question: "How is it that ye sought Me? wist ye not that I must be about My Father's business?"
The question which the twelve-year-old Christ put to His mother, seemed a loving and tender rebuke of her forgetfulness. Joseph, as Mary's husband, had, for twelve years, showed toward Christ the part of father. Therefore Mary spoke of Joseph as, "Thy father." Jesus quietly reminded His mother that His Father was God. Mary had sought Christ sorrowing; therefore Christ reminded her of her knowledge as to His birth and Deity; and He said, "Wist ye not that I must be about My Father's business?" In this Christ called God His Father.
2. Christ's question revealed the ignorance of both Mary and Joseph to the Deity of Christ. This may seem, and does seem strange. Mary had known all about the annunciation of the angel; all about her own virginity; and about the visit of the Magi, and the star that guided them; all about the visit of the angels, and the angelic magnificat which the shepherds had heard, yet Mary marveled.
Mary knew all about Herod's attack upon the young Child; all about Joseph's being warned in a dream; she knew that Jesus Christ was begotten of God, yet Mary marveled.
Mary knew all about Elisabeth, and the birth of John. She knew how Elisabeth had said unto her, "Whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come?" She heard Elisabeth's magnificat, and she also remembered the words of her own exaltation, and yet she, Mary, marveled.
Mary knew all about the prophecies of Zacharias upon the birth of John. She remembered how the aged Simeon took the infant Christ in His arms, and spoke of Him to all those who looked for redemption in Israel. She remembered the words of the aged Anna and her remarkable prophecy, and yet, Mary marveled.
Why then did Mary marvel? Why was she amazed? Why is it that she understood not the saying which Christ spake unto them? We have but one answer. Her mind could not grasp the mystery that God was manifest in the flesh. Her mind could not comprehend the height and the depth of what she knew was true that she was the mother of One who was God.
We do not teach that Mary denied these things. We merely teach that at this time her amazement and her failure to understand suggests that she could not grasp the depths of the mystery "God manifest in flesh."
We know that in after years the deeper meaning of the birth, the life, the death, and the resurrection of Christ was her exultant joy. We remember that she was with them in the upper room. She herself was numbered among those who believed in Christ as Son of God, and Saviour of men.
Let us examine our hearts that we may discover if we have any doubts as to the Deity of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
We remember how, after preaching a sermon in a Georgia city upon the eternity of our Lord, we were accosted the next day.
In our sermon we had told of how Christ had come forth from the Father and had come into the world. We told that, afterward, when He had completed His earthly task He had gone back to the Father, and to the glory which He had with Him before the world was.
The next day we were en route, abroad train, when a gentleman of marked intelligence sought an interview. This is the substance of what he told us: "I have been a prominent churchman and member of a church from my boyhood, but I never knew until I heard you preach last night that Jesus Christ ever existed before He was born of the Virgin Mary."
In a Northern city in a prominent Bible Conference we told of this occurrence. Following our message a prominent Christian woman, who must have been in her seventies, astounded us by saying that she had never heard, and never knew that Jesus Christ was God in the eternities past. She thought of Him as having a beginning when He was laid in the manger at Bethlehem.
We ask the readers that greatest of all questions, What think ye of Christ, whose Son is He?
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Neighbour, Robert E. "Wells of Living Water Commentary on Luke 2". "Living Water". https://www.studylight.org/
the Second Week after Epiphany