The Crux of Christmas
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The Crux of Christmas

From Series: Encore 2021

1 Timothy 2:5-6  (ID: 3332)

Approaching Christmas as just a sugary holiday “for the kids” leaves us without an answer to our greatest need—reconciliation with God. Alistair Begg encourages us to instead view Christ’s birth in light of His historical, victorious work on the cross. At the heart of the incarnation is a profound mystery: in the fullness of time, God took on flesh to give His life as a ransom for many. Only a cross-centered Christmas will satisfy our heart’s deepest longings.


Sermon Transcript: Print

Philippians chapter 2 and reading from verse 1:

“So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, [by] being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

Amen.

I invite you to turn again to the Bible, this time to 1 Timothy and to chapter 2 and to the verses which we take as our text for this morning. First Timothy 2:5: “For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time.”

Father, we bow before your Word. We pray for the help of the Holy Spirit, that you will grant to us clarity of thought, that you will open our eyes to behold wonderful things in your Word,[1] that you will be our teacher. And we pray in Christ’s name. Amen.

Well, I don’t know if you have checked, but as I have been thinking in terms of Advent and coming as we do to the first Sunday in Advent, I was going back to my Book of Common Prayer and to the Anglican liturgy, and I noticed what I thought I had known, but it came home to me quite startlingly—namely, that in the epistles and in the gospels that are assigned to each of the four Sundays in Advent, what is quite striking is the fact that they are absent any particular reference to the actual birth narratives themselves. So, for example, for the first Sunday in Advent, which is today, the reading from the Epistles, from the Letters, is Romans 13 and the exhortation to love your neighbor and the containment there of a number of the Ten Commandments. And when you have, in your Gospel reading—they’re reading from the Gospel of Matthew, but not from chapter 1 or chapter 2, but from chapter 21—and the reading there is the record of what we refer to as Christ’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem.

So, here we are. It’s the first Sunday in Advent, and we’re in Romans 13, and we are in Matthew chapter 21, and I said to myself, “You know, what a strange choice of readings.” And then I said, “That’s a great idea. I think I shall have a strange reading as well.” And so that is why I have turned to 1 Timothy and to chapter 2. We can learn from the best of them, you see. And the reason that I’ve done so is because, although you may immediately be thinking that this is a strange verse, or verses, for this morning, I want to show you, I hope, that what the Bible tells us is that this is a decisive, it is a pivotal point; it is, if you like, the very crux of Christmas, inasmuch as it brings us directly to the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ.

The Christmas story is one of the places where, as we’ve often said to one another, it is helpful for us to read the story from the back to the front—in other words, to read the Gospels in light of Acts and in light of the Epistles. Because we’ve, I think, rehearsed this enough that it’s embedded in us: that in the Gospels, Jesus is revealed. We read the Gospel records, and there we have him in the manager, as we’ve sung of it. We see him as a boy in the temple. We see him in his manhood in the garden of Gethsemane, and more besides. And when we turn into the Acts of the Apostles, then we discover that those who’d been the followers of Jesus, empowered by the Holy Spirit, are now proclaiming this Jesus. And so, for example, in Acts chapter 4, Peter declares the fact that “there is salvation in no one else”;[2] Jesus is the only way to know the Father, to enter into heaven. And, of course, when we turn to the Letters, and we read here just briefly from 1 Timothy chapter 2, we have the explanation of what has been unfolding there before. Not only “What is this? What has happened?” not only “What does it mean?” but also telling us why it matters.

And so it is here I want to begin this morning. I don’t want us to get off on the wrong foot, as it were, in our Advent celebrations. I want us to make sure that we are bowing underneath the explanation of God himself in Scripture concerning his plans and his purposes. There is a sense in which, to a certain degree, I’m seeking, perhaps, to rescue Christmas—not from a kind of antagonistic secularism, but to rescue Christmas from our own potentially diminished and trivialized perspectives; a kind of sugary Christmas, if you like, that sees God simply as a cheerleader, someone who simply wants our success or who wants to solve all our problems, who wants to make us feel good about ourselves.

There’s plenty of that around. It is a sugary kind of thing. There is a great sugar danger at Christmas, isn’t there? Despite all the things that you’ve been reading leading up to it, and “I’m going to be much more healthy. I love those little sticks of vegetables. They really are terrific. And they mean so much to me in comparison to all that wonderful sugary stuff that you just deposited at the office.” It’s a great danger, isn’t it?

But the fact of the matter is the sugary stuff leaves you feeling bloated and a little disappointed with yourself. And I suggest to you the same is true in an approach to Christmas that is at the one time amazingly appealing and at the same time absolutely unsatisfying because it is unable to address the deep-seated dilemma of man. It is unable to address the questions of our own quest for meaning in the world. It’s unable to tackle the issue of suffering at its largest and most significant level and at its own personal level. It is unable to deal with the inevitably of death. It is unable to handle our search for satisfaction.

So, I suggest to you that if we’re going to make sure we make progress in this regard, we must allow the Bible to correct any of our faulty thinking—a kind of faulty thinking that, again, seeks to present it in a way that, as Tim Chester puts it in a wonderful little book of Advent readings called One True Gift—he says, “Most people have a Christmas-card version of Jesus. It’s all rather sanitised and safe. [The] Christmas-card Jesus wears a permanent smile, and only ever says nice things that make us feel [wonderful] about ourselves.”[3]

And this is one of the reasons, incidentally, that you will find in the ensuing twenty-three days a phrase, a recurring phrase, in conversation. You will hear, I guarantee you, time and again people saying, “Well, of course, Christmas—it’s really about the kids.” “It’s really about the kids.” And in many ways, it really is about the kids because of the way we’ve handled it. But in fact, what the Bible is saying: “No, it is not about the kids.” And we run the risk of seeking to fashion, if you like, a God of our own contriving—a God who conforms to us rather than our conforming to him.

Now, it is in light of that that I have just three words for us. I will spend time on the first and the second and just a little on the third, if the first service is anything to go by. The words, we already mentioned them in at least one of our songs: the first word is history, the second word is mystery, and the third is victory. All right?

History

History. History. Here Paul tells us that what God has done in Jesus is provided for us a ransom “which is the testimony given at the proper time.” “Given at the proper time.”

One of the great questions is, Why is it that all of history went as long as it did before we have the breaking into time by the eternal God? Well, the answer to that, quite honestly, is that God knows what he’s doing, and he knows when to do what he’s purposed to do. And what he’s pointing out here, Paul, in this little verse is that what happened once stands with its impact for all of time, so that when we come to the issue of the birth and the life and death and ministry of Jesus, we’re dealing here with a unique and unrepeatable event. We’re dealing with something that happened once. And all you need is a Bible and to read it to make this point clearly for yourself. And in talking with others, I think it’s important that we have it in mind.

For example, Luke, who is very careful in this regard, tells us at the beginning of his Gospel that “it seemed good” to him, “having followed all things closely for some time …, to write an orderly account … [so] that you may have certainty concerning the things you have been taught.”[4] “This is what I’m doing,” he says. “Many others have been doing this and working on this, and I, as a beneficiary of the eyewitness reporting, have decided that I’m going to do the same thing.”

Now, it is in light of that that we must go on, then, and start reading the Gospel. And so, for example, in 1:27, he tells of how an angel came “to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David.” You say to yourself, “Really?” “Yes! Remember, I told you: writing an orderly account so that you may have certainty concerning the things that have happened.” “You,” says the angel, “will conceive in your womb and bring forth a son, and you will give him the name Jesus.”[5] Orderly account. Certainty. History. “How will this be?” “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Almighty will overshadow you, and the child will be born of you, the Son of God.”[6] History.

Now, these mind-boggling elements, these things that stretch our imagination, that cause us to wonder… And they’re supposed to cause us to wonder! How could you have a wonderful Christmas without wondering? It’s presupposed that there will be that which causes us to say, “My, my, I’m not sure I get this. I must think this again. I must kneel in relationship to this.” This is what we’re being told. And these mind-boggling aspects can actually cause us to forget that these things are actually part of human history. When Paul writes to the Galatians, he summarizes it wonderfully when he says, “But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son.”[7] And what he’s saying there is just the same thing. There had been a series of events that had happened in time, in the unfolding drama of history. And when it was the fullness of time, according to God’s purpose from all of eternity, then he sent forth his Son.

Peter, when he writes in his second letter, categorically states the same thing: “We did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty.”[8] Now, somebody just told me I need to read the current edition of National Geographic, so I’ll try—although I once subscribed to National Geographic, and I found they just piled up, twelve of them. They looked very nice, but I didn’t pay much attention to them. I like the pictures, I must confess. This is a piece in the current edition on the Bible and on the historicity of the Gospels. So, maybe you could just photocopy it for me; that would be good. I say that as a Scot, wanting to save money. Save my money, that is.

But whatever it says in that article has to be read through the lens of Scripture. No mythology. No invention. No creativity on the part of members of the church 250 years later. “No,” Peter says, “no, we were on that mountain, and we heard that voice. We heard the voice declare, ‘This is my beloved Son; listen to him!’ We were eyewitnesses of his majesty. That’s why,” he says, “I write to you in this way.”[9] And if you’re here this morning and you’re wondering and you’re skeptical about these things, one point to ponder is this: What in the world was in it for Peter to get himself killed if what he was dealing with was a mythology, was a concoction? There wouldn’t be a page of the New Testament written were it not for the historicity of the events as they unfolded.

The storyline of the Bible is not of a plan that God instituted but which went wrong and then had to be reconfigured and reinvented.

John does the same thing when he writes. Listen to John in his first letter: “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we[’ve] seen with our eyes, which we [have] looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life”[10]—“this,” he says, “is what I’m telling you about. This is it.”

“Once in royal David’s city stood a lowly cattle shed.”[11] “Once.” “Once.” What a great word, once! Those of you who have come from somewhere other than native language speakers would be forgiven for thinking that you spell once with a w. Who in the world thought you should spell once with an o? What a strange word, once. That little man—Pygmalion man, who wrote Pygmalion—he had a concern about this, but he had a lot of other concerns as well that should be left aside.

Here’s the point, though: the storyline of the Bible—the storyline of the Bible—is not of a plan that God instituted but which went wrong and then had to be, if you like, reconfigured and reinvented. No, not for a moment! If you read your Bible from the back to the front or from the front to the back as well, you will discover that Goldsworthy, the Old Testament scholar, is absolutely right when he points out that God’s purpose from all of eternity was not Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden but was Christ in the garden of Gethsemane.[12] It was Christ on the cross that from the very beginning of the work of God in his kingdom—it was to establish that people that are his very own. And that’s why when we read Ephesians, at the beginning of Ephesians, we realize this is the great mystery in it all.[13] The history involves us in mystery.

Mystery

Well, let’s turn to mystery. Mystery. I love mysteries. A large part of my reading is mystery. It’s always mystery. I love having to keep reading and reading, and finally all the lines eventually come together. It’s a great moment. It’s a great moment.

What of this mystery? Well, the mystery, it’s not just mystery; it’s unfathomable mystery. You have the mystery of God’s eternal being, the reality of the eternal being of God—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, one in three and three in one, coequal and coeternal, entering into a covenant in eternity for the accomplishing of his plan to save a people that are his very own. And along with that, the added mystery of the incarnation itself.

And when you wrestle with these things, what you realize is that you don’t go, as some would like us to be able to go, to a page in the Bible—you know, like page 75—and then on the top it says, “Trinity,” and then underneath “Trinity” you have this great explanation of the Trinity, or “Incarnation,” and then you have it there. You don’t! Why not? Because the way in which the people of God came to an understanding of these things was the same way in which we’re supposed to come to an understanding of these things. And how is that? By reading your Bible. By reading your Bible and realizing that the very commencement of the Bible is plural: “Let us make man in our image.”[14] (“Well, there’s the first hint.”) That the Spirit of God breathed over the waters, over the chaos and over the darkness.[15] (“Well, I’d better factor that in.”) When I come to the beginning of the Gospel of John, where John decides not to start with the birth narratives, nor even with John the Baptist, but back in eternity. And what does he say? It’s mysterious: “In the beginning was the Word,”[16] the logos, the way by which God spoke the worlds into being. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God.” (“Wow! So how could you be with God?”) “And the Word was God.” Mystery.

You see, at best what you have—the work of all the councils in the early centuries of the church was the work of godly men who were thinking these things through and were ruling out all false options. So they realized that “God was in Christ, reconciling the world [to] himself”;[17] that in the baptism of Jesus you have the Son of God in the water, you have the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on the Son of God, and you have the Father in heaven declaring, “This is my beloved Son.”[18] You see, it is these things—these amazing things, these mysterious things—that are at the heart of it all.

This is how the Westminster Confession puts it concerning Jesus. Here, he says, “The Son of God, the second person [of] the Trinity, being [truly] and eternal[ly] God, of one substance and equal with the Father, did, when the fullness of time [had] come”—that’s Galatians 4—“take upon him[self] man’s nature, with all [its] essential properties and common [frailties], yet without sin.”[19]

Now says Paul to Timothy, “There is one mediator between God and [man].” There is only one channel; there is only one gate; there is only one way. He might have said, as Peter preached post-Pentecost in Acts chapter 4,[20] “There is [only] one mediator between God and [man].” Muhammad doesn’t fit. Buddha doesn’t fit. The devalued nonsenses of Jehovah’s Witnesses does not fit. “There is only one mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus”—that the Lord of eternity is the Christ of history. That’s what’s being said.

And loved ones, this is not some kind of arm’s-length theological construct. Can I say to you: this matters immensely. This matters. “It’s all about the children.” Well, to this degree it is about the children, because we want to bow down to our children and teach them the wonder of the love of God in Jesus: that Jesus is the one who makes it possible for us—even though we’re naughty, even though we’re bad, even though we’re selfish, even though we’re scared, even though we’re messed up—that it is in Jesus that we may come directly to God the Father, through Jesus, and know that there is no condemnation to us, not because we’re sinless but because Jesus, the one mediator, has borne our sin. That, loved ones, is at the heart of it all. “The Word was with God … was God.”[21] He was not only the only mediator between God and man, but he was at the same time both God and man. One of my friends says, “How hard it is to grasp even the edges of this astonishing fact!” Yeah.

The Confession goes on in this way: “Two whole natures, the divine and the human, perfect and distinct, were inseparably joined together in one person without being changed, mixed, or confused.”[22] “Well,” you say, “that’s mysterious.” Yes, but don’t you live in the realm of mystery all the time? Now, depending on your mental faculties. For me, my whole world is mystery. I mean, there’s just about—everything’s a mystery to me. Tape recorders are still a mystery to me. I still don’t get them. So why would I imagine that in embracing Christianity I would be removed from the realm of mystery? No, I’m taken into the realm of mystery.

Now, John Murray—the late Murray, professor at Westminster—says of these things, these are “high and heavenly doctrine[s] and for that reason”—listen to this—“and for that reason of little appeal to dull minds and darkened hearts.”[23] These are high and heavenly notions. To a dull mind and a darkened heart, the response is, “Hey, please, could we go back to the sugary stuff? It’s a lot easier to comprehend. It’s much more accessible.” Answer: “Sorry, no.” Why? Because this is what Paul says. He goes on into chapter 3, and he says here that “great … is the mystery.” “Great indeed, we confess”—this is 1 Timothy 3:16. “Great indeed, we confess, is the mystery of godliness.” “The mystery of godliness.”

Some of you are waiting to trust Jesus to finally get all those jolly mathematical equations working—all the bits of the periodic table of the elements that all go together that make things happen. And you’re stuck there! Cast yourself on Christ! You see, believe in Jesus! “Great is the mystery we proclaim.” What is it? “He was manifested in the flesh.”[24] People said, “What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the [waves] obey him!”[25] The Jews knew that only God controlled the waves. So if he could stand up and say to the waves on the sea, “Peace! Be still!”[26]—they said, “Wait a minute! What is this?”

Paul now writes to Timothy. He says,

He was manifested in the flesh,
 [he was] vindicated by the Spirit,
  seen by angels,
proclaimed among the nations,
 believed … in the world,
  taken up in[to] glory.[27]

I wanna preach on that, actually. That’s good. You say, “Well, you should have, because this isn’t so good so far.” Well, it’s too late now.

“Great indeed … is the mystery.” The second person of the Trinity did not cease to be what he was eternally, but by the incarnation, he began to be what he was not. In that passage that we read, he “emptied himself, … taking…” He “made himself of no reputation,” taking… It wasn’t the absence of something; it was the presence of something that was in the humiliation—to become a man, even the best of men, to come down into this environment. “Meekness and majesty, manhood and deity, in perfect harmony, the man who is God.”[28]

But there is one other aspect of this mystery, and it is at the very center of all of this. And to this I want to give a moment. And that is not simply the mystery of God’s eternal being, nor even the mystery of his becoming man. This is not the story of man becoming God; this is the story of God taking on humanity. But the great mystery is that he came “to give his life as a ransom for many”[29]—that the great mystery is in the mystery of his work.

Now, this picture of ransom, or redemption, is a central picture throughout all of the Bible. When the Egyptians held the people of God captive in Egypt, they were redeemed by an outstretched hand. And God gave instruction that it would be by the shedding of blood that the people would be redeemed, that the angel of death would pass over there, and those who had done as had been said in relationship to the taking of a lamb without blemish and the sprinkling of his blood and so on, there would be no death in that home.[30] They would be ransomed; they would be redeemed as a result of the shedding of blood. When you come to the New Testament, that is exactly what we find is true of Jesus.

You see, again, this is why theology is so important. God cannot arbitrarily just say, “You’re forgiven.” He cannot arbitrarily overlook sin. Because in the perfection of his being, sin has to be punished. And in the wonder of his love, in the person of his Son, the ransom is paid by Jesus so that we, who ought to be the ones paying, are set free on account of his grace.

When we studied in Ephesians, this was again at the very heart of things. I hope that these things have lodged for us in our hearts as well as in our minds. “To the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved”—that’s Ephesians 1:6. Here we go:

In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time [history], to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.[31]

“In him we have redemption through his blood.” And the point that Paul is making here in this verse is, “In him and only in him. There is one mediator.”

In the wonder of God’s love, in the person of his Son, the ransom is paid by Jesus so that we, who ought to be the ones paying, are set free on account of his grace.

And what the prophet predicted Christ has fulfilled. He became a servant. Well, he was gracious in the way he served others, but the servanthood of Jesus is a servanthood whereby he serves the Father. John tells us he came “down from heaven, not to do [his] own will but the will of him who sent [him]”[32]—that the death of Jesus was an act of obedience. It was a death like no other death.

Sometimes when we say to people, you know, “And Jesus died for our sins,” people say to us, “Well, I know, everybody dies.” But no, this death was a unique death, an unrepeatable death. How else do we explain his cry from the cross: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”[33] The death of Jesus makes no sense as a sort of example of selflessness whereby, “Oh, look what Jesus did. Now why don’t you go and do something, you know, sacrificial as well?” That’s to miss the point entirely.

Bearing shame and scoffing rude,
In my place condemned he stood.
[And] sealed my pardon with his blood.[34]

You see, the great mystery of it is that when you look into the cradle in Bethlehem, you gaze into the face of “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.”[35] I suggest to you, that really is the crux of Christmas.

Victory

The final word—and our time is gone—is just the word victory. And I must leave you to follow this through on your own. But it’s there because what the Bible makes clear to us is that what Jesus set out to do he accomplished. He accomplished it. In providing his own atoning sacrifice, becoming sin for us so that we may be set free from our sins, he was reconciling the world to himself.[36] He was dealing with our alienation. You remember I said at the very beginning, you know, a kind of sugary Christmas will not be able to answer the question “Who am I? What am I? Where do I go? How do I deal with my story?” and so on. No, we need a victorious Savior.

Mary MacDonald—it’s a common name, especially if you live in Scotland. Mary MacDonald lived in the nineteenth century, at least. She was a Gaelic speaker. She wrote in Gaelic. She wrote poetry and songs. Her name was actually Mary MacDougall, and her dad was a farmer. And she worked, and she used time writing different things. And one of the little poems that she wrote was then subsequently translated into English, giving to us one of our well-known Christmas carols. And just imagine a farmer’s daughter. What kind of preaching and teaching was she under that she could write this carol?

Listen to this: “Child in a manger.” Good start. “Infant of Mary.” Good. “Outcast and stranger, Lord of [us] all.” Here we go: “Child who inherits all our transgressions.” Now, where in the world does a farmer’s daughter come up with something like that? Unless somebody had explained to her that at the heart of the incarnation is the death of Christ in the place of the sinner. He

   who inherits
All our transgressions,
[And] all our demerits
On him fall.

All his merits credit to my account; all my demerits borne in his own self.

Once the most holy
Child of salvation
Gently and lowly
Lived [here] below;
Now as our glorious
Mighty Redeemer,
See him victorious
[Over every] foe.[37]

I said to you earlier, quoting from Murray, that these doctrines, this doctrine, is heavenly and it’s high, and it is of little significance to the dull mind and the darkened heart. But it is at the same time a delight of the enlightened mind and the humble soul.[38]

Okay. But think about it. Remember when Simeon took Jesus in his arms and he says, you know, “This child is destined for the rising and falling of many.”[39] In other words, people will either trip over him to their own destruction, or they will take their stand upon him to their own liberation and security.

And here we are this morning. I know some of you; I don’t know all of you—not even most of you. What could I ever know? But God knows. Can I ask you: How does this ring? I’m not asking, “Was this a six out of ten talk or a two out of ten talk?” or “Did you like the talk?” No, this is what I’m asking you: Quite honestly, in your heart of hearts, do you have a dull mind and a dark heart that is able to pass this off and say, “Let’s get pancakes”? Or in the mercy of God, do you have an enlightened mind and a humble soul that says, “You know, I ought to walk out of this building and walk away and bless God that the Messiah died for me, that he lives for me”?

Well, may God grant that we’re in the latter and not in the former category. And let us pause for a moment and pray:

Our gracious God, we thank you that we can bow down before you as our good God and ask that the Holy Spirit will apply, in a way far beyond our imagining, the truths of your Word to our lives. God grant that we may not remain in the darkness of our own intellect or pride or sense of failure. Shine your light into our hearts, we pray. Help us to ponder the wonder of it all. And we pray in Christ’s name. Amen.


[1] See Psalm 119:18.

[2] Acts 4:12 (ESV).

[3] Tim Chester, The One True Gift: Daily Readings for Advent to Encourage and Inspire (n.p.: The Good Book Company, 2017), 10.

[4] Luke 1:3–4 (ESV).

[5] Luke 1:31 (paraphrased).

[6] Luke 1:34–35 (paraphrased).

[7] Galatians 4:4 (ESV).

[8] 2 Peter 1:16 (ESV).

[9] 2 Peter 1:16–18 (paraphrased). See also Matthew 17:5; Mark 9:7; Luke 9:35.

[10] 1 John 1:1 (ESV).

[11] Cecil Frances Alexander, “Once in Royal David’s City” (1848).

[12] See Graeme Goldsworthy, Gospel and Kingdom: A Christian Interpretation of the Old Testament (1981).

[13] See Ephesians 1:9–10.

[14] Genesis 1:26 (ESV).

[15] See Genesis 1:2.

[16] John 1:1 (ESV).

[17] 2 Corinthians 5:19 (KJV).

[18] Matthew 3:17 (ESV).

[19] Westminster Confession of Faith 8.2.

[20] See Acts 4:12.

[21] John 1:1 (ESV).

[22] Westminster Confession of Faith 8.2 (paraphrased).

[23] “The Mystery of Godliness,” in Collected Writings of John Murray, vol. 3, Life of John Murray, Sermons and Reviews (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth, 1982), 240.

[24] 1 Timothy 3:16 (ESV).

[25] Matthew 8:27 (KJV).

[26] Mark 4:39 (ESV).

[27] 1 Timothy 3:16 (ESV).

[28] Graham Kendrick, “Meekness and Majesty” (1986).

[29] Matthew 20:28 (ESV).

[30] See Exodus 12:7–13.

[31] Ephesians 1:7–10 (ESV).

[32] John 6:38 (ESV).

[33] Matthew 27:46; Mark 15:34 (ESV).

[34] P. P. Bliss, “‘Man of Sorrows,’ What a Name” (1875).

[35] John 1:29 (ESV).

[36] See 2 Corinthians 5:19–21.

[37] Mary MacDonald, trans. Lachlan Macbean, “Child in the Manger” (1888).

[38] Murray, “Mystery of Godliness,” 240.

[39] Luke 2:34 (paraphrased).

Copyright © 2021, Alistair Begg. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations for sermons preached on or after November 6, 2011 are taken from The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

For sermons preached before November 6, 2011, unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from The Holy Bible, New International Version® (NIV®), copyright © 1973 1978 1984 by Biblica, Inc.TM Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Alistair Begg
Alistair Begg is Senior Pastor at Parkside Church in Cleveland, Ohio, and the Bible teacher on Truth For Life, which is heard on the radio and online around the world.