Lord’s Day 14: In All Things Like Us

Catechism and Psalter

Today we return to our series on the Heidelberg Catechism with Lord’s Day 14, which explains the benefits of Christ’s holy conception and birth.

35 Q.  What does it mean that he ‘was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the virgin Mary’?

A.  That the eternal Son of God,
who is and remains
true and eternal God,
took to himself,
through the working of the Holy Spirit,
from the flesh and blood of the virgin Mary,
a truly human nature
so that he might become David’s true descendant,
in all things like us his brothers
except for sin.

36 Q.  How does the holy conception and birth of Christ benefit you?

A.  He is our mediator,
and with his innocence and perfect holiness
he removes from God’s sight
my sin—mine since I was conceived.

Suggested Songs

172, “My Mouth Shall Sing for Aye” (Psalm 89)

“The eternal Son of God…took to himself…a truly human nature so that he might become David’s true descendant.”  The Catechism emphasizes that in order to fulfil the prophecies of the Old Testament, Christ had to be actually descended from King David.  The accounts of Matthew and Luke demonstrate that in God’s incomprehensible plan, David was Christ’s ancestor through the family lines of both Mary and Joseph.  This fulfilled the promises God made to David back in the time of his own kingship, some of which are recounted for us in Psalm 89.

‘With My own chosen one, e’en David,’ God affirmed,
‘I’ve made a covenant, with sacred oath confirmed;
I’ve sworn in truth to him, My servant: “I will surely
Build up thy lustrous throne through every age securely;
Forever will thy seed, in spite of degradation,
Endure upon thy throne through every generation.”’

331, “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel”

(Sung by Cornerstone URC in Hudsonville, MI)

“He is our mediator.”  This statement is central to the Catechism, as well as to this old Christmas carol.  Through a variety of images, “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” points again and again to the work of Jesus Christ as our Mediator.

O come, Thou Branch of Jesse’s stem
Unto Thine own, and rescue them!
From depths of hell Thy people save,
And give them victory o’er the grave.

O come, Thou Lord of David’s key!
The gate of heaven unfolds to Thee;
Make safe for us the heavenward road,
And bar the way to death’s abode.

Rejoice!  Rejoice!  Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

333, “Blest Be the God of Israel” (The Song of Zacharias)

“With his innocence and perfect holiness he removes from God’s sight my sin—mine since I was conceived.”  The Song of Zacharias, recorded for us in Luke 1:67-79, captures all of the nuances of this Lord’s Day—Christ’s descent from David’s line, his fulfillment of prophecy, and above all, his work of salvation for his people.  I’ll end this post with the entirety of Dewey Westra’s paraphrase.

Blest be the God of Israel,
The Lord who visited His own;
Who by His gracious providence
Redemption unto us made known.
Within His servant David’s tent
Has He to us, His people, sent
A horn of full salvation;
E’en as He spoke by holy men of old,
Who unto Israel foretold
How He to them His mercy would unfold.

He promised us that He would save
From all who for our ruin wait,
And from the hands of them that rave
Against us with a warring hate,
To show the mercy once foretold
Unto our fathers, and uphold
His holy covenant with us,
That He would still remember in His care
The oath which He to Abram sware,
To benefit His seed from heir to heir.

He spoke that He would strength command,
And grant to us when foemen near,
That we, delivered from their hand,
Might worship Him without a fear,
And walk before Him faithfully
In righteousness and sanctity,
While life to us is given.
And thou, O child, so shall they say of thee,
“The prophet of the Lord is he,”
For thou shalt go before Christ’s majesty.

Yea, thou shalt make salvation known,
That we may be revived again,
Receiving favor as His own,
In free remission of our sin,
Through God’s compassion and His love
Whereby the Dayspring from above
Has visited His people;
To lighten them that in the darkness hide,
And in the shade of death abide;
Our feet into the way of peace to guide.


1 Response to “Lord’s Day 14: In All Things Like Us”

  1. 1 Lord’s Day 15: He Shouldered the Curse | URC Psalmody Trackback on April 10, 2013 at 10:06 am

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