Today cooking shows are all the rage. An entire television station (the Food Network) shows programming all day to help us know how to make the perfect broccoli caserole. Do we live in a great country or what! As someone who does not really like to cook, I don’t have a lot of use for the Food Network. In my opinion, Food TV is on par with a channel featuring 24 hour coverage of paint drying.
Cooking food is not near as interesting to me as eating it . . . but there are times it is important to understand what actually goes into making certain dishes. Let’s just say (for instance) that someone has a peanut allergy. It would be imperative for that person to know if ANY peanuts were used in making the Pad Thai.
In Luke 1:26-38, God shows us what all went into making Jesus born on the earth. This is important because God is a holy God and the idea of a divine incarnation raises some serious questions.
- Did Jesus inherit a sin nature like all humanity since Adam and Eve? Knowing holiness is allergic to sin, that is an important question.
- Did Jesus maintain His divinity when He came to earth, or did He simply become human?
- Did Jesus really become human, or did He merely appear human?
Read Luke 1:26-38 below, and see the care with which God explains how the incarnation began:
“In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!”But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be. And 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 call His name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to Him the throne of his father David, and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.”
And Mary said to the angel, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?”
And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God. And behold, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. For nothing will be impossible with God.” And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.”
In order to prepare the incarnation, Luke 1 tells us that several ingredients were necessary in certain order:
- One virgin woman. Mary was an essential ingredient in this story. Some have tried to mythologize Mary into some sort of super hero, but that is not the biblical picture of Mary. The biblical picture of Mary highlights her “girl next door-ness” not HER immaculate conception. She is portrayed as a normal teenaged girl from Anytown, USA betrothed to be married. Mary had not had sex with anyone (she was a virgin). This sets the stage for a truly miraculous birth as sex is normally necessary for conception (in case you fell asleep during the presentation in fifth grade). Further, Mary’s involvement seals the deal of Jesus’ humanity. He had a human, sinful mother. Mary was in need of a Messiah herself, and by being born of a woman, Jesus was clothing Himself in a body that would bleed and die, while He fully identified with humanity from cradle to grave.
- The Holy Spirit. The second necessary ingredient to the incarnation was the Spirit of God. The miraculous conception of Jesus happened because the Spirit of God was present and “overshadowed” Mary causing her to conceive. I once had a Muslim man tell me that he could not believe that God would have sexual relations with Mary conceiving a child. However, my Muslim friend was misinformed. The Bible does not say that intercourse was involved, but simply that God’s Spirit placed the child in Mary’s womb. By this Jesus would not merely be human, but be the Son of God. This divine inspiration allowed Jesus to be human, but miss a sinful disposition. It allowed Jesus to both Man AND God.
- Mix in a dash of Joseph. Joseph was Jesus’ connection to the royal lineage of King David. This allowed legitimacy to Jesus’ kingly reign, and foreshadowed His fulfillment as the King of Israel who would sit on David’s throne forever (2 Samuel 7).
When you serve up all three of these ingredients, you have a God/Man who can save humanity from our sins and reconcile us to our Heavenly Father. Serving up the King of Kings is a delicate process theologically. That is why God broadcasts the details so we can enjoy its rich flavor.
All this points to the fact that Jesus is uniquely qualified from His birth to His death. These extraordinary events identify God’s presence and invite us to “taste and see that the Lord is good.”