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Saturday, December 24, 2016

What Child Is This?

Hey, it's Christmas Eve! Did you actually expect a "News Weakly" today?
Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the descendants of David; and the virgin's name was Mary. And coming in, he said to her, "Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you." But she was very perplexed at this statement, and kept pondering what kind of salutation this was. The angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary; for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David; and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and His kingdom will have no end." (Luke 1:26-33)

But when [Joseph] had considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, "Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for the Child who has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. "She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins." (Matt 1:20-21)
Picture that moment. They're in Bethlehem wherever that manger was in which they laid Him when He was born. Jesus has just come into this world, just taken His first breath, with His earthly mom and dad. Both of these people know Who this is. He is "the Son of the Most High." "His kingdom will have no end." His name is Jesus because "He will save His people from their sins." He was conceived "of the Holy Spirit". There, in their arms, with freshly cut umbilical cord and being wrapped in swaddling clothes, what goes through Joseph and Mary's minds? They're in the presence of the Son of the Most High. What do they do? What do they think? What do they feel? I can't imagine.

The Bible tells us that Christ was "tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin." (Heb 4:15) What was that like? What was it like to have a baby that was not "speaking lies from birth." (Psa 58:3) Imagine a child who continually practiced a love for God and a love for His neighbors. Humans as a race are sinners from birth; Jesus was not. What would that have been like to be the parents of this child?

We don't know what happened to Joseph. We don't know much of what Jesus did between His birth and His ministry. What was it like for Joseph? He was asked by God to be the dad for this child. And he did it. He taught Him God's Word. He took Him to "church". He probably taught Him carpentry. But the time that Jesus scared them by asking questions in the synagogue and missing the return trip home, He told His earthly dad, "Why were you looking for Me? Did you not know that I must be in My Father's house?" (Luke 2:49) How did Joseph deal with that in his own head?

We aren't given any insights into His early years, except that He "increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man." (Luke 2:52) We know that she "treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart." (Luke 2:19) We know that at one point she came with His brothers to "seize Him" because they thought He was out of His mind (Mark 3:21). He said, "Whoever does the will of My Father in heaven is My brother and sister and mother." (Matt 12:50) When she asked her Son to provide wine at a wedding, He almost rebuked her. "Woman, what does this have to do with Me? My hour has not yet come." (John 2:4) But He did as she asked. We don't know how Mary felt about any of this. We know that she was at His crucifixion. What was she thinking there as her son was dying, this "Son of the Most High" whose kingdom was to be without end and who would save His people from their sins? Mary didn't dream this up. This was straight from the lips of the Archangel, Gabriel. What was she to think?

I wonder, sometimes, what a shock to the system Jesus must have been. I can truly imagine, for much of His growing up with brothers and sisters and all, Mary had to ask at times, "What child is this?" Because this was not a normal child. And we are so grateful that this is so.


David said...

And I can imagine His siblings disliking Him, I mean, how many times must Mary have asked why they couldn't be more like their older brother. Did He feel alienated in His own family because of His perfection? How difficult must it have been for Mary to watch all her children shun Him?

Stan said...

Did you ever feel alienated because of your perfection growing up? :)