King's Business - 1954-06

He came from God as He testified or whether He were the child of her own fornication. Her silence during those terrifying hours bears witness in His favor. It is contrary to all we know about honorable womanhood and noble motherhood to believe that she or any other could follow Him from Sanhedrin to tribunal, from Pilate’s court to Calvary’s cross, standing with her mouth shut and allowing her Son to be tortured and killed merely to save her own repu­ tation. If Christ were not virgin- born, if He spoke in misguided error concerning His origin and mission, if He (no matter how sincere) were in the grip of a mighty delusion, she would not, indeed, she could not have kept her silence. The var­ ious mockeries of a trial, the hideous torture, the nameless agonies of the cross —- all could have been halted with a word: “ He is mistaken! God is not His Father! I’ll name the man who is his father!” With her years nearly spent, with the joy of her life about to be taken from her, with nothing to lose by lifting her voice, she must have spoken concerning His origin if He were merely the off­ spring of some now remote fornica­ tion. The fact that she does not speak argues that she could not speak, for her Son was witnessing the truth. In a unique sense God was His Fath­ er, with Mary His virgin mother! Any other conclusion than this is contrary to all we know of the psy­ chology of motherhood. Let us be quick to recognize that the truth of the virgin birth of our Lord does not rest upon extra-Bibli- cal evidence such as this, but rather upon the more weighty matters al­ ready indicated, such as the inspira­ tion of the Word, the fulfillment of prophecy, and the eloquent testi­ mony of the person and work of Jesus the Christ. This is but an in­ teresting side-light, an additional cor­ roboration of the Gospel account, a confirmation in the area of psychol­ ogy to add to the existing weight of evidence in favor of the virgin birth. It is encouraging to know that all of the evidence is on our side. May that ,very fact encourage our witness and enable us to give to all men a ready and reasonable answer for the hope we have within us (1 Peter 3:15). For the unsaved, may it be an indication that even the super­ natural element within Christianity is supported by much credible testi­ mony. To men who earnestly seek for light God will grant more light, until they be led out of their spiritual darkness to a saving knowledge of Christ, who is the Light of the World (John 9:5). END.

I t is the clear testimony of Luke’s Gospel that Jesus was conceived be­ fore Joseph and Mary were married (Luke 1:27, 34:2:5) and that during the time of their engagement Mary was found to be with child by the direct action of the Holy Spirit (Luke 1:35, 41). In response to the angelic proclamation, even Mary questioned the possibility of an unmarried vir­ gin maiden bearing a child. As we have seen, Matthew (1:19) makes it clear that Joseph was innocent of the conception, for he was minded to put her away privately rather than make her a public example by de­ nouncing her as one who had broken one of the most basic moral com­ mandments of God. His hesitancy to denounce his espoused wife whom he loved is best understood in the light of the Hebrew law of betrothal. When a Hebrew youth and maiden expressed their desire to marry, they entered a one-year period of be­ trothal, or engagement—a binding le­ gal contract which could be broken only by adultery. If, during this pro­ bation period prior to marriage there were evidences of unfaithfulness, such as the betrothed being with child, she was to be denounced before the Coun­ cil. The priest would then examine the accused and if the charges were confirmed, the sentence of death by stoning would be passed, the offend­ ed lover having the right to cast th& first stone. Now Mary knew this custom and the penalty of death which the break­ ing of the Mosaic law involved. Yet, despite appearances and the inclina­ tions of her own natural modesty, she hastened to her cousin Elizabeth and publicized the fact that she was with child. Let it be recalled that Elizabeth was the wife of the offi­ ciating priest, Zacharias:— the one who. if Mary were guilty, would condemn her to death. Hence we see the spectacle of an unmarried Hebrew mother running to the foun­ tainhead of law and judgment and bragging about her condition. Surely this is not the psychology of a guilty woman! Recognized bv Elizabeth as the mother of Israel’s Messiah and Lord (Luke 1:14-45), there bursts forth

from the lips of Mary a spontane­ ous psalm of praise unto God, com­ monly called the Magnificat (Luke 1:46-55). This utterance reveals that Mary Was literally steeped in the knowledge of Scriptures, for within the compass of ten brief verses there are (it has been estimated) some twenty-three distinct allusions to or quotations from the Old Testament. “ My soul doth magnify the Lord, and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.” Certainly these are not the meditations of an illegitimate parent! “ For he hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden: for, behold, from henceforth all genera­ tions shall call me blessed.” There is no guilty conscience here, but rather, a delicate reserve and a clear reflection of her inner purity as she commits herself into God’s hands for the vindication of her honor. Ex­ altation, prayer, and praise unto God are not the signs of guilt. Rather, they are the natural fruit of godli­ ness. All of these aspects of Mary’s behaviour at the birth of her Son bear tremendous weight in favor of the clear Scriptural testimony that Jesus was virgin-born. Likewise, it is of great significance to consider the behaviour of Mary at the death of Christ, not only at the cross but also throughout the events prior to the crucifixion. Basic­ ally, Jesus was crucified for one prime offense: He claimed that God was His Father so that He was the Son of God in a unique sense (Matt. 26:63-66; Mk. 14:61, 62; John 8:38- 59). In answer to the charge that He was bom of fornication, Christ clearly responded. “ I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me.” What­ ever Annas or Caiaphas or Pilate believed about the One who stood in their presence during the series of trials which led up to His conviction, Jesus certainly believed that He was the Christ of God. Whatever the di­ vided opinions of those who bore witness to the climactic scenes of Christ’s earthly life, at least one who saw His awful suffering knew the truth of His origin. Locked within the mind and heart of His mother Mary was the final answer, whether

JUNE 1954


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