December 17, 2021

Conceived By the Holy Spirit (Advent 4c)

 There was a song we used to sing during the charismatic revival of the 80s: “She Walks on the Mountain in the heat of the Day” that moved me deeply. I was right there, with Mary, filled with joy at the Holy child she was about to bring into the world. Like Elizabeth, I knew intuitively this was true. We say we believe Jesus was “conceived by the Holy Spirit” as the Apostles Creed. I wonder how many of us understand their importance. If we have trouble believing in the virgin birth and the divine fatherhood of Jesus; we might logically have trouble with the divinity of Jesus. If Jesus is not Divine we might question the sufficiency of His sacrificial death to pay for the sins of all people. The logical result is the popular modern non-divine, good man Jesus who doesn’t need to forgive our non-existent sins and was a great teacher. The Bible is very clear this modern teaching is heresy and completely inconsistent with the historical evidence:


1.   Mica had Prophesied the Birth 800 years Earlier (5.2-5)

Mica was a contemporary of Isaiah who was warning the people of Israel that God had abandoned them because – like many in our time; they had broken the Covenant of Moses:

·     Good news was that God would restore Israel 

·     A special child would be born

·     Destined to be their ruler and known to the ends of the earth

·     Israel would be re-united


2.   Paul Quotes Psalm 40 to explain the New Covenant

Psalm 40 prophecies God as saying He does not desire offerings and animal sacrifices to honour Him and pay for sins as in the Covenant of Moses. Instead (speaking as Jesus, God says: “A body you have prepared for me” and I have come to do your will”. 

·     Paul explains that that “we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the (divine) body of Jesus”

·     New Covenant is to be known spiritually through Jeremiah 31.33: “I have put my laws in their hearts”

·     This would keep the priests and teachers of the law from controlling and distorting the message

·     Later, beyond our passage, Paul makes it very clear who the authority is: “Holy Spirit testifies about this”


3.   Mary Visits the Elizabeth Who Prophecies (Luke1.39-45)

The Bible is full of accounts of the Holy Spirit and prophecy. Sadly, many modern church leaders seem to miss this and avoid the supernatural as mythical. Mary and Elizabeth were both holy women who lived within the supernatural worldview of the Bible. 

·     Elizabeth and her baby were tuned in to the Holy Spirit and experienced Joy when they heard Mary’s greeting. 

·     She knew intuitively who Jesus was: “My Lord”.

·     Good News was that God /Holy Spirit was the father 

·     Really Good news was that Jesus was divine - and could die for the sins of all people



Readings Challenge Us to Go Deeper in Our Spiritual Life

We have all been seriously traumatized by Covid-19 isolation, disruption and fear. The Good News of Advent is that God, Jesus and Holy Spirit will never abandon us. 

·     They will respect our personal freedom and leave us alone if we do not seek them out for comfort. 

·     The greatest gift of Christmas is the Good News that we are not alone. 

·     The real Jesus and Holy Spirit are always standing by to take calls.


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