Question 25c- How did Christ, being the Son of God, become man?
“[T]o a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin’s name was Mary.” – Luk 1:27 ESV
To a virgin, A pure virgin, that never knew man; see Gill on Luke 1:34 and yet
espoused to a man whose name was Joseph; but they were not come together, nor had he taken her for his wife, and home to his house, nor had they cohabited:
of the house of David; which, according to the grammatical construction of the words, may be connected either with the virgin, or with Joseph, to whom she was espoused; and is true of both; for they both were of the house and lineage of David: and this shows what a low condition David’s family was in, that the persons that were the nearest allied to it were a carpenter, and a poor virgin; and both residing in so despicable a place as Nazareth in Galilee:
and the virgin’s name was Mary; a name frequent among the Jews, and the same with Miriam; of which name was the sister of Moses and Aaron. [Gill]
“And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus.” – Luk 1:31 ESV
And behold thou shalt conceive in thy womb, Though a pure virgin, which never knew a man; and therefore, “a behold”, is prefixed to it, as being what was extraordinary and wonderful; as it is also, in the prophesy of it, in Isa 7:14 to which the angel manifestly refers, and is, by Matthew cited, as accomplished hereby; see Gill on Matt 1:22, Matt 1:23.
and bring forth a Son, and shalt call his name Jesus; which signifies a “Saviour”; and a Saviour Christ is of God’s appointing, providing and sending; and a very suitable one, being a spiritual Saviour, and a complete one, both able and willing to save to the uttermost all that believe in him; nor is there any other, nor salvation in any other: he is the Saviour of his people, whom the Father has given him, even of all the elect, whether of Jews or Gentiles; and of them from all their sins, and from all their enemies; and whom he saves with a spiritual and eternal salvation. [Gill]
“And Mary said to the angel, ‘How will this be, since I am a virgin?’ And the angel answered her, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy–the Son of God.'” – Luk 1:34-35 ESV
Then said Mary to the angel, how shall this be, This she said not as doubting the truth of what was said; for she required no sign, as Zacharias did; nor is she charged with, and blamed for unbelief, as he was; yea, it is expressly said, Luke 1:45 that she believed: nor was this a curious question, as whether she should have this son by a man in a married state, or in her present virgin state; for she clearly understood the angel to mean the latter; and therefore her words express her admiration at it, and also her desire to be informed of the manner how it should be: as to the matter of fact, she did not dispute it, but wanted to be resolved by what means it would be brought about: she knew, by prophecy, that the Messiah was to be born of a virgin, and she perceived, by the angel’s declaration, that she was that virgin, but could not imagine in what way this amazing thing should be effected; and therefore proposes this question for the following reason,
seeing I know not a man? “A husband”, as the Arabic version renders it; not Joseph, nor any other man; for though she was espoused to Joseph, yet he had not taken her to wife; nor were they, as yet; come together; and before they did, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost, Matt 1:18 she was a pure virgin, untouched by man. The words are an “euphemism”, or a modest way of expressing carnal copulation; see Gen 4:1.
And the angel answered and said unto her, The angel gave her an account of the manner in which what he had said should be effected, as well as observed some things for the strengthening of her faith,
The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee. The words, “upon thee”, are left out in the Syriac and Persic versions; but are retained in others, and in all copies: the formation of Christ’s human nature, though common to all the three persons, yet is particularly, and most properly ascribed to the Spirit; not to the first person, the Father, lest it should be thought that he is only the Father of him, as man; nor to the second person, the Son, since it is to him that the human nature is personally united; but to the third person, the Spirit, who is the sanctifier; and who separated, and sanctified it, the first moment of its conception, and preserved it from the taint of original sin. His coming upon the virgin must be understood in consistence with his omnipresence, and immensity; and cannot design any local motion, but an effectual operation in forming the human nature of her flesh and substance; and not in the ordinary manner in which he is concerned in the formation of all men, Job 33:4 but in an extraordinary way, not to be conceived of, and explained. The phrase most plainly answers to על בא, in frequent use with the Jews, as expressive of coition,
And the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee. By “the power of the Highest” is not meant the Lord Jesus Christ, who is sometimes called the power of God; but rather the Holy Ghost, as before, who is styled the finger of God, and power from on high, Luke 11:20 unless it should be thought that the perfection of divine power common to all the three persons is intended: and so points out the means by which the wondrous thing should be performed, even by the power of God; and which should not only be employed in forming the human nature of Christ, but in protecting the virgin from any suspicion and charge of sin, and defending her innocence and virtue, by moving upon Joseph to take her to wife. In the word, “overshadow”, some think there is an allusion to the Spirit of God moving upon the face of the waters, in Gen 1:2 when, מרחפת, he brooded upon them, as the word may be rendered; and which is the sense of it, according to the Jewish writers as a hen, or any other bird broods on its eggs to exclude its young: and others have thought the allusion may be to חתנים הופת, “the nuptial covering”: which was a veil, or canopy, like a tent, supported on four staves, under which the bridegroom and bride were betrothed; or, as Dr. Lightfoot thinks, it is a modest phrase alluding to the conjugal embraces, signified by a man’s spreading the skirt of his garment over the woman, which Ruth desired of Boaz, Ruth 3:9 though the Jewish writers say, that phrase is נישואין לשון expressive of the act of marriage, or taking to wife. The phrase of being נבואה ברוח מטללין “overshadowed”, or “covered with the spirit of prophecy”, as the virgin also was, is used by the Targumist, on 1Chr 2:55.
therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. The human nature of Christ is here called a “thing”; for it was not a person; it never subsisted of itself, but was taken at once into union with the person of the Son of God, otherwise there would be two persons in Christ, whereas he is God, and man, in one person; and it is said to be “holy”, being free from that original pollution and sin, in which all that descend from Adam, by ordinary generation, are conceived, and brought forth; and is, moreover, said to be born of a virgin, “of thee”, or “out of thee”. Christ’s flesh was formed out of the Virgin’s; he took flesh of her; his body did not descend from heaven, or pass through her, as water through a pipe, as some heretics of old said: nor did his human nature, either as to soul or body, pre-exist his incarnation; but in the fulness of time he was made of a woman, and took a true body of her, and a reasonable soul, into union with his divine person; and “therefore should be called the Son of God”: not that he was now to become the “the Son of God”; he was so before his incarnation, and even from all eternity; but he was now to be manifested as such in human nature: nor does the angel predict, that he should, for this reason, be called the Son of God; for he never was, on this account, so called, either by himself, or others: nor is the particle, “therefore”, causal, but consequential: the angel is not giving a reason why Christ should be the Son of God, but why he should be owned, and acknowledged, as such by his people: who would infer, and conclude from his wonderful conception and birth, that he is the “Emmanuel”, God with us, the child that was to be born, and the Son given, whose name should be Wonderful, Counsellor, the mighty God, &c. Isa 7:14. Moreover, the word, “also”, is not to be overlooked; and the sense is, that seeing that human nature, which should be born of the virgin, would be united to the Son of God, it likewise should bear the same name, being in personal union with him, who was so from all eternity. [Gill]
“and she exclaimed with a loud cry, ‘Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!'” – Luk 1:42 ESV
And she spake out with a loud voice, So as that all in the house might hear; she spake with great vehemency of soul, and strength of affection, being under a very powerful impression of the Spirit of God: and said,
blessed art thou among women; the same words that the angel had said to her before, Luke 1:28.
and blessed is the fruit of thy womb: this is a reason why she is called blessed, because her child was blessed; being in union with a divine person, who is God over all, blessed for ever; and who has all spiritual blessings in him, and is that seed, in which all nations of the earth were to be blessed; and so is both blessed in himself, and the source of all blessedness to others. The Jews say, that the six measures of barley, Boaz gave to Ruth, Ruth 3:15 signified, that six righteous men should spring from her, and among, them the Messiah; who should be blessed with six blessings, and they are these; the spirit of wisdom and understanding, of counsel and of might, the spirit of knowledge, and of the fear of the Lord; see Isa 11:2. [Gill]
Answer – 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 Spirit in the womb of the Virgin Mary, and born of her, yet without sin.
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