Tag: Jesus


Why was Jesus Born of a Virgin? (Four Wrong Answers, and the Right One)

Virgin and Child, Hagia Sophia mosaic (867)
As Christmas day approaches, we’re also confronted with a part of the faith that has caused great difficulty for Catholic and Protestant believers alike: the Virgin Birth. About a quarter of Americans deny the Virgin Birth (along with about a quarter of Anglican clergy in England). What should we say to these doubters? Why should we believe in the Virgin Birth, and why does it matter? Why was Jesus born of a Virgin? And why did the early Christians think this doctrine so important that they included it in both the Apostle's Creed and Nicene Creed as a core part of what it is to hold the Christian faith?

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Be Bartimaeus.

El Greco, Christ Healing the Blind (1575)
Be Bartimaeus. The Gospel presents Bartimaeus to us to show us that this is what it looks like to follow Jesus. This is what we’re called to. So what can we learn from him? I would propose three things: (1) see your blindness; (2) beg boldly; and (3) make Jesus’ Way your way.

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The Repulsiveness of Christ

Colijn de Coter, Christ as the Man of Sorrows (1500)
When we've tried everything we can think of to lead someone to Christianity and it doesn't work, it's so easy to blame ourselves: to think that if we had done everything just so, or found just the right combination of words, everything would have clicked, and they would have accepted Jesus Christ. If we were only a little more compassionate, or a little smarter, or a little more persuasive in our speech. This reaction is discouraging, and what's more, it's often false. It gets three things wrong: grace, free will, and Jesus.

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Behold, the Wood

Tree of Life, Miniature from the Scherenberg Psalter (1260)
It was through wood that we fell, and it is through wood that we have been redeemed. It goes back to Adam and Eve. The Fall of Man happens after the serpent tempts them into eating from the fruit of the forbidden tree. But from the very moment of the Fall, we're promised that sin and rebellion aren't the end of the story. God promises that a Redeemer will come who will crush the serpent, Satan, underfoot. And the passage in Genesis ends with a tantalizing clue: an angel with a fiery sword is sent to guard the Tree of Life, lest man eat of it and live forever. Salvation, eternal life, will come through the tree, but we can't reach it on our own.

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Aim at Mary, Hit Jesus

Virgin Mary and Jesus, from the Church of Our Lady Mary of Zion, Axum, Ethiopia.
Many of the most popular attacks on Mary (both by Protestants today, and by figures like Nestorius throughout the history of the Church) end up being attacks on Jesus. This post looks at three specific examples: (1) "all have sinned" as a denial of the Immaculate Conception; (2) "no one greater than John the Baptist”; and (3) refusing to acknowledge Mary as Mother of God.

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