Frank Retief was pastor at St James Church Cape Town for 31 years, having planted the church in 1968 with his wife Beulah. He became the Presiding Bishop of the Church of England in South Africa until he retired in 2010. Frank remains active in ministry through preaching, teaching, pastoral work & writing, and has authored a number of books.
An uncommon King (Part 2)
Matthew 1 v 18. This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about. His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit.
We will not dwell for the moment on what this event must have meant to Mary and to Joseph as two human beings. Rather I would like you to focus on the sheer miraculousness of this conception.
Notice, in the first place that the great Creator of the universe who can do anything, miraculously plants a conceptual seed in Mary’s womb. There have been many critics of the virginal conception over the years, mainly because man in his arrogance thinks he knows everything and decided that miracles do not happen. Well, it happened here with Mary. Remember, it was not the birth of Jesus that was miraculous. That happened very naturally. Rather, it was the conception of the Christ child that was an utterly miraculous event.
Now in the second place, we must not fall into the mistake of thinking that because He was born of a virgin that that was the source of his deity. He was not divine simply because He had no human father. One theologian put it like this: “Neither sinful nor holy parents could produce an offspring who was God. That is beyond their humanity. And neither could a virgin mother do this.” Rather we are to remember as God the Son, the second person in the Trinity, Jesus was fully and truly God prior to and apart from the virginal conception. That means that God the Son who exists with God from eternity, did not come into existence because the Virgin Mary conceived and gave birth.
All this is a great mystery. But then we are dealing with a great God, who sent a great Saviour into our world to effect a great salvation for us.
Meditation: The birth of Jesus is usually celebrated without being fully understood. Of course the mystery of this event is beyond our understanding. But surely we need to appreciate it more? Although we cannot understand all, that does not mean we can understand nothing. Do you ever ponder these things?