During the season of Lent, our pastor is doing a study on the Apostles’ Creed. This past week we discussed the middle section which also happens to be the longest portion . . .
I believe 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, died and was buried; he descended to the dead. On the third day, he rose again, he ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father, and will come again to judge the living and the dead.
Half of the creed is devoted to one of, if not the most, controversial figures in history; not only in our time, but in his own as well.
Just prior to his transfiguration, he questions his disciples, “Who are people saying I am?” They answer, “Some say you are Yochanan (John) the Immerser, others say Eliyahu (Elijah), and still others, one of the prophets.” Mark 8: 27-28
As our study was drawing to a close, we discussed different parts of the central portion of the Creed. The most thought-provoking claim or perhaps mysterious or implausible (depending on your perspective) was his conception and birth.
Some may say, “what difference does it make if Jesus was conceived like the rest of us?”
Even before pondering His beginnings, I’ve never had an issue with his conception and birth because this is God—the Creator that brought everything into existence; who is outside of time, space, and matter . . . yet paradoxically moving and working within all three—what could be too difficult or impossible for Him?
However, for me, another revelation began with Eve.
When contrasting Eve and Mary, a few simple insights came to light. After Eve came to be, she and Adam “knew” each other and shortly thereafter she was intimate with the adversary, (serpent, Satan, or devil, if you prefer) and “birthed” sin into the world. Mary, on the other hand, had “known” no man, was intimate with the Holy Spirit and birthed sinless redemption into the world. Sinfulness or alienation cannot save, or redeem, sinfulness; it would be like saying two wrongs make a right.
In essence the immaculate conception and virgin birth point to God knowing Herself, entering the world through Herself as Himself to justify all that is Himself.
Clearly there are deeper and more expansive themes to be explored; such as being conceived and born in this manner. Jesus never saw himself separate from God—something with which we often struggle. And this notion of separateness beginning in the garden with Adam and Eve embracing temptation, and identifying with power and control in and of themselves.
You may not agree with any of this; it may seem far-fetched or unimaginable . . .
. . . that’s okay.
I’m not sure what I hope to accomplish, if anything, by presenting these thoughts. God knows I miss the mark more often than not when it comes to living this life, but my heart longs to Love and my Light longs to shine.
What I do know is that when life gets tough and answers are not forthcoming, like Peter, I say “Lord, to whom would I go? You have the word of eternal life. I have trusted, and I know that you are the Holy One of God.”
. . . the rest, as they say, is His-story.