Thursday of Advent 3
15 December 2016
There are those who struggle with the idea that Christ is 'begotten' of the Father. It seems unworthy that God should have a word which describes human procreation attributed to Himself. So, heretics through the ages have tried to redefine the relationship of the Father and the Son; perhaps suggesting that the Son is adopted by the Father, or the Son is a creature of the Father. In either case, by saving Christ from the mystery of begotten-ness they have diminished His divinity.
Hilary of Poitiers (d. 368) simply asks what the furor is about. Why should we be disturbed by Christ's begotten-ness of the Father, since it is an eternal relation? Beautifully, Hilary points out to us that the incarnation of our Lord of Mary is not merely to display the divine power, but that the Son of God is the one who "addresses us." The divine self revelation is in the humility of the Son. We hear the divine address to humans is centered in Christ. So Christ comes not to overpower but to empower, not to command but to offer, not to be served but to serve.

Rev. Dr. Scott R. Murray
Memorial Lutheran Church

Hilary of Poitiers
"The Son has said, 'I have manifested Your name to the people' (Jn 17:6). What reason is there for denunciation or fury here? Do you deny the Father? Why, it was the primary purpose of the Son to enable us to know the Father. But in fact you do deny Him when, according to you, the Son was not born of Him. Yet why should He have the name of Son if He be, as others are, an arbitrary creation of God? I could feel awe of God as Creator of Christ as well as founder of the universe; it were an exercise of power worthy of Him to be the maker of Him who made archangels and angels, things visible and things invisible, heaven and earth and the whole creation around us. But the work which the Lord came to do was not to enable you to recognize the omnipotence of God as Creator of all things, but to enable you to know Him as the Father of that Son who addresses you.
"In heaven there are powers beside Himself, powers mighty and eternal; there is but one Only-begotten Son, and the difference between Him and them is not one of mere degree of might, but that they all were made through Him. Since He is the true and only Son, let us not make Him a bastard by asserting that He was made out of nothing. You hear the name Son; believe that He is the Son. You hear the name 'Father;' fix it in your mind that He is the Father. Why surround these names with doubt and ill will and hostility? The things of God are provided with names that give a true indication of the realities; why force an arbitrary meaning upon their obvious sense Father and Son are spoken of; doubt not that the words mean what they say. The end and aim of the revelation of the Son is that you should know the Father. Why frustrate the labors of the prophets, the incarnation of the Word, the Virgin's travail, the effect of miracles, the cross of Christ? It was all spent upon you, it is all offered to you, that through it all Father and Son may be manifest to you. And you replace the truth by a theory of arbitrary action, of creation or adoption.
"Turn your thoughts to the warfare, the conflict waged by Christ. He describes it thus: 'Father, I have manifested your name to the people.'  He does not say, 'You have created the Creator of all the heavens, or You have made the Maker of the whole earth.' He says, 'Father, I have manifested your name to the people.'  Accept your Savior's gift of knowledge. Be assured that there is a Father who begot, a Son who was begotten; born in the truth of His nature of the Father, who is. Remember that the revelation is not of the Father manifested as God, but of God manifested as the Father."

Hilary of Poitiers, On the Trinity, 3.22
John 3:13-21

No one has ascended into heaven except he who descended from heaven, the Son of Man. And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their deeds were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his deeds have been carried out in God. (ESV)
Lord Jesus, You have addressed me in Your weakness and humility. Grant me Your Holy Spirit that I might listen to Your voice and not be offended by the weakness of Your speaking. Amen.
For the family of John Meyer, whom the Lord Jesus called to His nearer presence, that they would be comforted with the promise of Christ to raise to life those who belong to Him
For all those struggling with the false expectations the world imposes during this holy season, that they might go to Bethlehem and see this thing that the Lord has told us about
For Chaplain Donald Ehrke (Maj. U.S. Army), that the Lord would be with him as he serves the service personnel in his care
Art: VASARI, Giorgio Annunciation (1564-67)
Memorial Lutheran Church
© Scott Murray 2016
Memorial Lutheran Church, 5800 Westheimer Rd., Houston, TX 77057
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