By JACOB M. VAN ZYL on December 19, 2020.
Every Christmas we celebrate the greatest of all miracles: God visited humanity in human form and lived among them. This cosmic event carried the wonderful message that we do not have to climb up to God with good works; he came down to us and paid for our sins, so that we can be saved by grace.
God said to the first humans that they would die if they broke God’s rules. When they did, God set a plan of salvation in motion – a sinless human being would die in the place of sinners, freeing them from the second death which is eternal damnation: “The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 6:23).
God the Father gave his only Son to become a human being, to suffer and die as human being for lost sinners, so they can be forgiven and reconciled with God (John 3:16).
The way the Son of God became the Son of Man boggles our minds. He had to be sinless, a sacrifice without blemish. He had to be the son of David, but without David’s hereditary sin.
God accomplished that by creating in Mary a fertilized ovum with David’s corrected DNA: it had the genes of the Davidic lineage but purified of sin. Does that sound impossible? Would such a tiny thing be too hard for the Almighty who made and controls the immeasurable universe with its millions of galaxies?
The embryo became the fetus, fed by Mary via the umbilical cord. She was a descendant of David; therefore, her child was that, too (Luke 3:23-38). Matthew gives the genealogy of Joseph. Although he was not Christ’s biological father, he was his legal father.
Mary and Joseph were privileged to raise the incarnated Son of God as baby, toddler, child, adolescent and young adult.
They became so used to the idea that Jesus was their child that they forgot who he really was. Mary reprimanded him when he was 12 years old, for staying in the temple while they were on their way home. Jesus reminded her who his real Father was (Luke 2:41-47).
When crowds followed Jesus to see his miracles and hear his messages, Mary thought he was out of his mind and tried to persuade him to take another approach (Mark 3:21, 31).
After Jesus was raised from death, Mary remembered the words of the angel Gabriel: “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).
He was truly God and truly human.
Jacob Van Zyl of Lethbridge is a retired counsellor and the author of several faith-based books.