No Philosopher
Nicholas of Myra, Bishop
6 December 2018
What could be more shocking than that God should become man? Certainly, pagan mythology presents its faint echoes of God's determination to become human (Gn 3:15). For example, the Greek gods make cameo appearances on the stage of human history. But the appearances of their mythological Deus ex machina arrivals from Mt. Olympus are merely temporary, sometimes coming as a human, sometimes coming as a bull, and so on. But in no case did their gods ever become a man as the Word of God became a man.
No Greek philosopher, not Socrates, not Plato, not Aristotle, despite their sublime wisdom, ever conceived that God should become Man as the Word of God became Man! Christ does not merely "appear" as a human being, like an actor making a cameo appearance. The Word of God becomes fully human without being any less divine and He who became man of the Virgin Mary becomes man to remain so. He does not merely make an appearance among us, but dwells among us as one of us.
The One who is flesh of our flesh is also very God of very God. When Holy Scripture speaks of the saving work of the God-Man Jesus Christ, it places together the most outrageous contradictions. He who has no beginning is born. He who is refreshing water thirsts. He who is David's Son is David's Lord. He who dies gives life. He who is life dies.
No philosopher, wise man, or religious guru ever joined such wild contraries in the same sentence. Yet the God who brings things to be out of those things that are not has done precisely this for our salvation. Alleluia!

Rev. Dr. Scott R. Murray
Memorial Lutheran Church

   Irenaeus of Lyon
"The sacred books acknowledge with regard to Christ, that as He is the Son of man, so is the same Being not a [mere] man; and as He is flesh, so is He also spirit, and the Word of God and God. As He was born of Mary in the last times, so did He also proceed from God as the first-begotten of every creature. As He hungered, so did He satisfy [others]. As He thirsted, so did He of old cause the Jews to drink, for the 'Rock was Christ' (1Co 10:4) Himself. Thus does Jesus now give to His believing people power to drink spiritual waters, which spring up to life eternal (Jn 4:14). As He was the son of David, so was He also the Lord of David. As He was from Abraham, so did He also exist before Abraham (Jn 8:58). As He was the servant of God, so is He the Son of God, and Lord of the universe. As He was spit upon ignominiously, so also did He breathe the Holy Spirit into His disciples (Jn 20:22). As He was saddened, so also did He give joy to His people. As He was capable of being handled and touched, so again did He, in a non-apprehensible form, pass through the midst of those who sought to injure Him (Jn 8:59) and entered without impediment through closed doors (Jn 20:26). As He slept, so did He also rule the sea, the winds, and the storms. As He suffered, so also is He alive, and life-giving, and healing all our infirmity. As He died, so is He also the resurrection of the dead. He suffered shame on earth, while He is higher than all glory and praise in heaven; who, 'though He was crucified through weakness, yet He lives by divine power' (2Co 13:4), who 'descended into the lower parts of the earth,' and who 'ascended up above the heavens' (Eph 4:9-10); for whom a manger sufficed, yet who filled all things; who was dead, yet who lives forever. Amen."

 Irenaeus, Fragments, 51
Acts 2:22-28

Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know-this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it. For David says concerning him, 
'I saw the Lord always before me, for he is at my right hand that I may not be shaken; therefore my heart was glad, and my tongue rejoiced; my flesh also will dwell in hope. For you will not abandon my soul to Hades, or let your Holy One see corruption. You have made known to me the paths of life; you will make me full of gladness with your presence.'
Almighty Father, lover of souls, who chose your servant Nicholas to be a bishop in the Church, that he might give freely out of the treasures of your grace, make us mindful of the needs of others, and as we have received, so teach us also to give; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord. Amen.

For President David Rakotonirina and our fellow believers in the Lutheran Church in Madagascar, that God the Lord would grant them strength in the confession of Him who is the way, the truth, and the life.
For Ileene Robinson, that the Spirit of life would grant her the breath of life and a full recovery from pneumonia
For Florence Brimberry, who has suffered broken arms, that the Lord Jesus would be with her giving her healing and strengthening her
Art: Raffaellino dell Garbo  The Annunciation (c. 1510)
Memorial Lutheran Church
© Scott Murray 2018
Memorial Lutheran Church, 5800 Westheimer Rd., Houston, TX 77057
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