God Can Do What He Says
Lucia, Martyr
13 December 2018
The Christian religion revels in clashing contraries running smack into one another. What we humans call contradictions, God considers the heart of His divine revelation. He is the God that makes something out of nothing and calls into being those things that are not. You can't get much more contradictory than nothing and something and being and not being. The teachings of the Christian religion that human reason shouts down as "unreasonable" or "untenable" are the very center of the Christian proclamation. Even some Christians are willing to reject some aspects of the divine revelation. They complain that God could not have meant what He said, because they say it would entail a "contradiction."
 
Possibly the most battle-scarred issue of this sort is the meaning of the words of the Eucharist given by Jesus on the night of His betrayal. What does "This is my body" mean? Many interpreters presume that Jesus could not have meant literally what He says, because they think it impossible that the body of Christ should be able to be present on all the Eucharistic altars at the same time. It would be a contradiction. It is an untenable position.
 
Our human reason is always trying to tell God what we want to believe. How bold and proud Madam Reason is that she will lecture God on what He is and is not able to do! Whatever reason knows God must believe. What's wrong with this picture? By this method the very center of our religion is carved out and thrown away.
 
If God is not able to propose what reason rejects the incarnation itself would not survive. For God has put together the most impossible contraries in the incarnation of the Word of God. The Child of Mary is Mary's Creator. The Child born in a dark stable is the Light of the world. The Child who wails the inarticulate cries of an infant is the Word of God. These are nothing less than the greatest clashing contraries the world has ever heard. No matter what reason says or thinks these things are God's true self-revelation. Let God know and you believe, because God can do what He says.

Rev. Dr. Scott R. Murray
Memorial Lutheran Church

   Hilary of Poitiers
"Let us consider the glory that accompanies the birth, the wailing and the cradle [of Mary's Child]. The Angel tells Joseph that the Virgin shall bear a Son, and that Son shall be named Immanuel, that is, God with us. The Spirit foretells it through the prophet, the Angel bears witness; He that is born is God with us. The light of a new star shines forth for the Magi; a heavenly sign escorts the Lord of heaven. An Angel brings to the shepherds the news that Christ the Lord is born, the Savior of the world. A multitude of the heavenly host flock together to sing the praise of that childbirth; the rejoicing of the divine company proclaims the fulfillment of the mighty work. Then glory to God in heaven, and peace on earth to men of good will is announced.
 
"Now the Magi come and worship Him who was wrapped in swaddling clothes; after a life devoted to mystic rites of vain philosophy they bow the knee before a Babe laid in His cradle. Thus, the Magi stoop to reverence the infirmities of Infancy. His cries are saluted by the heavenly joy of angels. The Spirit who inspired the prophet, the heralding Angel, the light of the new star, all minister around Him. In such wise was it that the Holy Spirit's descent and the overshadowing power of the Most High brought Him to His birth. The inward reality is widely different from the outward appearance; the eye sees one thing, the soul another. A virgin bears; her child is of God. An infant wails; angels are heard in praise. There are coarse swaddling clothes; God is being worshiped. The glory of His Majesty is not forfeited when He assumes the lowliness of flesh."

 Hilary of Poitiers, On the Trinity, 2.27
2 Kings 5:9-14

Naaman came with his horses and chariots and stood at the door of Elisha's house. And Elisha sent a messenger to him, saying, "Go and wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh shall be restored, and you shall be clean." But Naaman was angry and went away, saying, "Behold, I thought that he would surely come out to me and stand and call upon the name of the LORD his God, and wave his hand over the place and cure the leper. Are not Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Could I not wash in them and be clean?" So he turned and went away in a rage. But his servants came near and said to him, "My father, it is a great word the prophet has spoken to you; will you not do it? Has he actually said to you, 'Wash, and be clean'?" So he went down and dipped himself seven times in the Jordan, according to the word of the man of God, and his flesh was restored like the flesh of a little child, and he was clean. (ESV)
Prayer
Ah blessed Jesus, infant Lord, You have borne my lowly flesh that I might share your majesty. Grant that I would never be enticed by reason into telling You what You ought to believe, but always believe what You have revealed in Your Word. Amen.
 
For the Jonathan Ekong Memorial Lutheran Seminary and its students, especially those who are yet to pay school fees, that the Lord would provide for their needs
 
For theological professors in Christian educational institutions all over the world, that they might resist the temptations of the world and the sinful flesh and teach faithfully the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ
 
For all those suffering from psychological disease and depression that they would find in Christ help and support
 
For foster children who need adoption into homes where they will be safe, loved, and brought into the family of Christ through baptism
Art: Raffaellino dell Garbo  The Annunciation (c. 1510)
Memorial Lutheran Church
smurray@mlchouston.org
http://www.mlchouston.org
© Scott Murray 2018
Memorial Lutheran Church, 5800 Westheimer Rd., Houston, TX 77057
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