We live in a world filled with mystery. We believe we live in an age of hard facts and scientific data. We pretend that with enough computing power and scientific inquiry, everything question can be answered, every mystery resolved. Indeed, we have accumulated much in the way of knowledge. But, ironically, as knowledge and mystery increase in direct proportion. The more we understand of the world in which we live, the less we understand about of how it works. The more we know, the more we know about what we do not know.
From our digital age, we look down with smug superiority upon our forebears, quibbling about with pens and paper. While we struggle to use our smart phones without consulting a small child. Our technology is a mystery to us. We think we have explored the earth — no new lands to discover and conquer, but we know less about the surface of the ocean, which covers two thirds of our planet, than we do about the surface of the moon.
We cannot explain even the simplest things we observe every day. The sun, moon, and constellations are large on the horizon, yet seem to diminish in size as they rise overhead. Yet if you hold out your thumb to the rising moon, then again when it is at its zenith, you will discover absolutely no difference. What accounts for this remarkable trick of perspective? Neither scientists nor psychologists can explain it. And when you go to your favorite drive-in and order a milk shake, why does it give you a brain freeze? Despite well-funded research, scientists have not determined the cause. Our world is awash in mystery.
Some of these mysteries involve great contradictions — irreconcilable, yet indispensable truths. In the early part of the Twentieth Century, as scientists observed sub-atomic matter, they realized that the physics of their day no longer explained the behavior of the nano-world. A new physic, quantum physics, was born to account for what Sir Isaac Newton never even knew existed. At the center of this new understanding was a radical new idea – that light acted but as a wave and as a particle. No one could explain it, but accepting this mystery was foundational in constructing a model of physics that explained the sub-atomic world. Seemingly irreconcilable, yet indispensable truths, that make the world go round.
This type of tension is no surprise to the Christian. For the Christian faith is filled with such paradox. Indispensable truths which seem to be in tension with one another. “Truths,” as one theologian quipped, “to be believed, not discovered.” Truths such as the absolute sovereignty of God and the undeniable reality of true human freedom. And an even more incomprehensible mystery. The truth of a Savior who is fully God and, at the same time, fully man – two natures, in one person, forever. Yet, the scripture does not discourage “faith seeking understanding.” God has given us minds that desire to know His truth, to seek and find what He has revealed. This is what we see in a remarkable way in Mary, the mother of Jesus.
In Luke 1:26-38, we have one of the most remarkable stories in scripture. The angel, Gabriel comes to Mary with a startling announcement — she will be the mother of her Savior. Unlike the fearful skepticism of Zechariah, Mary asks “how will these things be?” A question we all wrestle with as we consider a Savior who is fully God and fully man. But in the answer, scripture points us to one of the most precious truths of our faith. Because Mary asked this question, we, along with our forefathers, can turn to scripture ask.
Q22: How did Christ, being the Son of God, become man?Westminster Shorter Catechism, Question 22
A22: Christ, the Son of God, became man, by taking to himself a true body, and a reasonable soul, being conceived by the power of the Holy Ghost, in the womb of the Virgin Mary, and born of her yet without sin.
Join us as we examine Luke 1:26-38 and consider this question and why it is important.
We meet from 5:00 – 6:30 pm in The Commons at St. Andrews Anglican Church at 8300 Kanis Rd in Little Rock for worship. Get directions here or contact us for more info. You can also join us on Facebook Live @RiverCityARP or on YouTube.