Jesus Christ, Conceived by the Holy Spirit, Born of the Virign Mary (2)
Sunday, November 23, 2008 -
“We believe in God the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth: And in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord; who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, Suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried; He descended into hades; the third day He rose again from the dead; He ascended into heaven, and sits at the right hand of God, the Father Almighty; from thence He shall come to judge the quick and the dead. We believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic church, the communion of the saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen”
Today we finish our study of this section of the apostle’s creed by examining the results of the virgin birth of Jesus Christ:
3) THE RESULTS OF THE VIRGIN BIRTH - There are many to consider, but let me just quickly go over three:
a) Because Jesus is as fully human as He is divine, He is able to understand and sympathize with our weaknesses and temptations.
I think it’s very important to understand what we mean when we say Jesus was fully man. True, He wasn’t a sinful man. But He was still fully human. He was human in the way we were designed to be fully human before the fall.
In other words, Jesus didn’t just have a human body. That doesn’t even come close to what is meant by being fully human. Remember, Jesus also had a fully human mind. That is what made it possible for Him to actually “increase in wisdom and stature.” And Jesus had fully human emotions. That is why the Bible says He could “marvel” at people’s unbelief. He experienced surprise.
I can’t explain all of that to you, but I know the Bible says those things. Jesus experienced every limitation and every temptation you and I experience except without sin. Don’t allow yourself to think of Jesus as just being God in human skin. That isn’t even close to the reality of the incarnation. The tie with you and me is much closer and deeper than that. The Bible constantly emphasizes this truth:
Hebrews 2:17-18 - “Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.  For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.”
Hebrews 4:15-16 - “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.  Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”
This is such a precious truth. Jesus knows what we go through. He’s sympathetic to our struggles. He never sinned, but He experienced exactly what you and I face as human beings. He is one of us and is on our side.
b) Because Jesus is as fully human as He is divine He is able to be the one mediator between God and man.
1 Timothy 2:5 - “For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus....”
It is highly significant that when Paul talks about Jesus being the mediator - the one mediator between God and man - the part of His nature he chooses to re-emphasize isn’t Jesus’ deity, but His humanity: “...one mediator...the man Christ Jesus.”
Nobody held to the deity of Christ more passionately than Paul, but at this point he chooses to emphasize Christ’s humanity. Why? Because Jesus had to be fully human to be that one mediator. I say it with reverence - God, merely as God, couldn’t be a mediator between God and man. A mediator, any mediator, must fully represent both parties.
It’s not that God is somehow reluctant to redeem us. Remember, in His love He’s the One who sent the mediator. But there still had to be a mediator who actually came on our terms. This was not God the Father. Paul says it was the man Christ Jesus, God the Son.
The full humanity of Christ is more important than most Christians realize to their salvation. Let me try to explain: The Bible says something very striking about what happened to Jesus on the cross. Paul almost shocks us with these words: 2 Corinthians 5:21 - “ For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”
We need to be careful here. While Jesus never committed sin, Paul says He did actually become sin on our behalf (“....he made him to be sin....”). Somehow, Jesus took up our sin into Himself. This was the agony He wept over in the garden. He who knew no sin, became sin for us.
I’m sure there is really no way for us to understand that. But let me try to at least help with an overly simple illustration. When I was growing up on the prairies it would get very cold in the winter. Many times, if there was any moisture in your gas tank it would freeze up and keep your car from starting. You see, gasoline won’t absorb water. So the water, separate from the gasoline, freezes keeps the engine from firing by keeping the gasoline from reaching the engine.
But you can solve this problem by pouring some alcohol - gas line antifreeze - into your gas tank. Alcohol will do something gasoline can’t do. Alcohol will absorb moisture. It will take the water up into itself and still burn. So the moisture gets mixed with the alcohol and is burned right out of the engine.
In a small way, this is what the humanity of Jesus means for us in redemption. Jesus, in Paul’s striking words, was made sin for us. Sin, somehow was tied up in Jesus on the cross in a way it never could be with bare, unmixed divinity alone.
c) The joining of natures at the virgin conception of Jesus has never been undone.
This is a wonderful truth. We all have a fully human person, already in heaven, interceding for us at the Father’s right hand. Get this picture in your mind. We have one of us, in heaven right now, who fully represents us before Father God. He is still “the man Christ Jesus.”
Never picture Jesus as a vague spirit floating around all over the place. Jesus isn’t now omnipresent. That’s why we so desperately need the ministry of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit, because God is still one even though in three persons, mediates the presence of Jesus in His Church.
But, right now, as I speak and you listen, Jesus is fully human. He has a spacial, actual body. Paul says He is the first fruits of the resurrection we all will one day share in. That’s how real the body of Jesus is. And because the man Christ Jesus actually lives in the presence of the Father, so too you and I will one day live.