Tag Archive: Virgin Birth

Today is the most important day in the Christian faith.  Some consider Christmas to be.  It is an important one for sure, but the day we remember the resurrection is the exclamation point to the Christmas proclamation of “Peace on Earth, Good Will to Man.”  For that reason, Christians around the world will gather  not only to celebrate but also remember the importance of the day the angel proclaimed, “He is not here; he has risen!”  

The claim of virgin birth was not a new one in ancient times.  Various “gods” claimed to be born of a virgin.  It is somewhat of an easy claim.  Once birth has taken place nobody can affirm or deny it.  It is quite remarkable that since the virgin birth of Christ no “religious” figure has ever claimed it again.  There are somewhere around 32 other claims.  In some respects Jesus’ virgin birth was not so “extraordinary” as we consider today.  

However, N.T. Wright  notes that there is not one claim to resurrection.  Homer could not fathom a way back, and Plato taught that even if there was a way back, no one would want to do so.  The Egyptians thought resurrection was possible.  This was the reason their queens, armies, and others were buried with them.  When Augustus conquered Egypt, they tried to show him their resurrected kings.  Wright went on to write that Augustus said that, “he wanted to see kings, not corpses.”  

Our current culture tries to address resurrection in terms of zombies and cryogenic freezing.  There was an article in USA Today last week about an advance in spinal cord repair in hopes of attaching a head to a body.  Neither of our current fascinations is actual resurrection.  They are man’s wish to live on as promised by the one who rose from the dead, Jesus Christ.

The major religions of the world have no claim to resurrection.  In all their teachings we find man having to live up to a certain standard to achieve God’s favor.  The resurrection destroys that concept.  We don’t achieve God’s favor by achieving some standard that isn’t even established in the Bible.  I would think that if God had a standard by which man could make it, he would have given it to us. Actually, he actual did.  It was perfection.  We spend time trying to figure out how to attach a frozen head to a body, but we don’t spend much time trying to figure out how to achieve a God-like standard of perfection.  We don’t because it is clear; perfection is not possible for us.  

So we take perfection and decide the best we can do is be “good” enough.  So, our quest to live with God is to be good enough?  How good?  If God is so good, why didn’t he give us the equation of “good enough?”  It’s because we missed the real standard to live eternally.  The real standard is holiness.  Holiness is where we are body, soul and spirit in complete 100% unity with the mind and will of God.  Anybody want to take a shot at that one?

Jesus is the only one who even an atheist would say is the  one who could be the answer.  Is it a myth that he was crucified and was our sacrifice for our sin?  That is what it all comes down to.  No other theological debate is necessary if Jesus was not the Son of God, the holy one who in the form of a man died for our sin.  All he asks of us is to believe and follow Him.  That’s it.  No perfection.  No standard of goodness.  No demand for holiness when the one who makes us knows it is impossible.  The only thing is faith.  

It’s a faith that looks at the big picture and has to answer one question,  Is the resurrection of Jesus Christ true?  If it is true it satisfies any question and silences all debate.  The resurrection brings the rest of the teachings of Christ together.  We celebrate today the truth that defines all other “truth.”  

I’ve heard some say we have to determine whether Jesus was a liar, lunatic, or Lord?  That distracts from the foundation that affirms all other claims of and by Jesus…the resurrection.  

Before anyone puts Jesus in the myth category or thinks it’s a crazy zombie story, do the research.  Decide for yourself.  There is only one question that has to be asked.  Is the resurrection true?  What do you believe?  

Next Sunday is Palm Sunday. It begins Holy Week as those in the Christian faith consider and remember the work of Christ on their behalf beginning with His dramatic entrance into Jerusalem. Some remember with Lenten services during the 40 days of Lent. Others focus on the Holy Week with either a Maundy Thursday or Good Friday memorial service. Often these remembrances focus on our need answered with the Resurrection of Jesus on Easter or Resurrection Sunday.
As I move into the latter years of my life the Holy Week focus has been much more special. For the longest time I associated Easter Sunday as the day we dressed up in new clothes and sang songs we didn’t sing the rest of the year. Holy Week was the week we had to go shopping for the colorful clothes along with just about everybody else who went to church.
As the Holy Week gets closer I lean more toward celebrating Lent. In the past few years I often wonder aloud why we celebrate Christmas more than Easter. In several of the ancient religions that have come and gone there was often a claim to virgin birth. There are some 32 claims to virgin birth before and around the time of Christ. In many respects and for several reasons virgin birth, while it is a cornerstone to the deity of Christ, is not what necessarily sets Jesus apart from other religions. It’s the resurrection that makes the difference.
The resurrection of Christ is so very important to the Christian faith. In my life (58 years) there are two men who claimed some sort of association as the Christ. There was Jim Jones and David Koresh. Koresh claimed to be the final prophet of God and Jones believed he was the reincarnation of just about every major religious figure including Jesus. Last time I checked neither one of them rose from the dead. There have been 0 sightings since their death. Jesus is the only one to suffer, die and rise from the dead for the sins of man.
It is offensive to consider belief in Jesus Christ as one of the major religions of the world. No other religion has man’s hope based on the work of God bur rather on the work of man trying to appease God. Jesus paid the price with his blood and was laid in the grave. He defeated death with his resurrection guaranteeing that all his words were truth. Without the resurrection Jesus could be in many ways associated with Koresh or Jones. Instead he stands alone! Alone indeed.
It is the faith of sinners! We do not put our hope in what a man can or cannot do. Instead we place our faith on the one who defeated death and is alive. The story of Jesus does not end at the resurrection. His ascension to heaven and gift of the Holy Spirit to his believers is almost just as profound as his birth. With the Comforter God is present with us at all times. As a believer our lives are sacred all the time. I don’t have a sacred and a secular life. I only have one life. It’s all sacred because the Holy Spirit (third person of the Trinity) lives in and through me all the time. The Scriptures say, “Nothing can separate us from the love of God.” Not even my sin and failure.
As we move closer and closer to celebrating the resurrection of Christ consider developing family tradition that places a high emphasis on this incredible work of Christ. We can have Shalom. Our faith is not in a man’s ability to be good but on a Redeemer who knew we couldn’t. As he came out of the garden His words to the sleeping disciples revealed our nature, “The spirit is willing but the body is weak.” Celebrate the next two weeks on the One and Only One who was our sacrifice calling us to follow him not out of duty but out of love. “No greater love has a man then he lay down his life for the sake of his friends.” John 15:13.