The lion, the King of Israel, addressed to Israel, tracing the line from Abraham and David.

18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit.

When Did Jesus Become Christ?

Jesus was Christ when born in Bethlehem, as saith the angel to the shepherd:

"Unto you is born this day, in the city of David, a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord" (Luke 2:11).

Hence, his birth is termed "the birth of Jesus Christ" (Matt. 1:18). He was Christ in a fuller effusion of the Christing power (which begat him), at his baptism on the banks of the Jordan, when the Spirit visibly descended and abode upon him.

Hence, John the baptiser said:

"I am not the Christ, but I am sent before him. He (the Christ) must increase, I must decrease. He that cometh from above is above all. God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him" 

(John 3:28, 30, 31, 34).

For the same reason, we find Andrew saying to Peter:

"We have found the Messiah, which is, being interpreted, the Christ" (John 1:41).

In harmony with which is Christ's answer to the Samaritan woman at Jacob's well:

"I that speak unto thee am he" (the Christ) (John 4:26);

and the declaration of the Samaritans,

"This is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world" (John 4:42).

To the same effect is the question of Christ and Peter's answer:

"Whom say ye that I am?" "Thou art the Christ; the Son of the living God" (Matt. 16:16).

Wherein then lies the force of Peter's declaration:

"Let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ!"

It lies here, that by the resurrection of Christ, God had confirmed the assertion of Jesus that he was the Christ (an assertion which had been denied by the Jews); and at the same time had perfected his Christship in exalting him to the spiritual nature.

There were degrees in the development: first, the Son of God, as the flesh-offspring of the Holy Spirit by Mary, the Word made flesh;

second, when he was thirty years of age, the fulness of the indwelling Father by the Spirit shed from above; and,

third, his glorification after resurrection. This process is briefly defined by Paul as

"God manifest in the flesh (which comprehends the whole period of his natural life), justified in the Spirit."

The manifestation was not complete till the last stage was reached. The Christship, so to speak, was not fully developed till Jesus was glorified. Peter, therefore, with this completion in view, could appropriately speak as if it were a thing just accomplished:

"God hath made Jesus, whom ye crucified, both Lord and Christ"

But Peter did not mean to say that Jesus had not been the Christ before the crucifixion. This would have been a stultification both of his own previous testimony and of the facts of the case. The Christing was the Holy Spirit, and with this, Jesus was "full" (Luke 4:1) in the days of his flesh; yea, even as a child (Luke 2:40); as in the case of even John the Baptist (Luke 1:15). How otherwise could the first stage have been realised:

"God manifest in the flesh?"

As to the time when Jesus was glorified, the Holy Spirit was shed forth by Jesus upon the apostles on the day of Pentecost; but his own glorification was a previous necessity. There is no evidence that Jesus shed forth the power immediately after he received it himself. He poured out the Spirit at the right time, and that time was the day of Pentecost; but the power may have been in his hands against the arrival of that day. He intimates that

"all power was in his hands before he left the earth" (Matt. 28:18).

It is probable that in all senses, he was "perfected the third day" (Luke 13:32). The question "when" matters little. It is the fact, and not the date, of the Lord's glorification that is the important matter. If the date had been important, we should have been precisely informed. The date has not been given. Consequently, we cannot know for certain, however ingeniously we may speculate.

The Christadelphian, July 1898

19 Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a publick example, was minded to put her away privily.

Mary, though unmarried, was under espousal to Joseph, her future husband. We are not informed whether she had made him acquainted with the angel's communication to her on the subject of the coming birth of the Messiah.

It is possible that maidenly modesty imposed on her an entire reserve with reference to the subject. If this were not so -- if she frankly explained to him what had taken place, then Joseph did not and could not believe her, but attributed her condition to the only cause he could recognise.

It was the occasion of extreme embarrassment and dismay to both Joseph and Mary. Joseph was "a just man;" he could not pass over the serious breach of behaviour that had evidently occurred. At the same time, his love inspired pity. If he must part with his intended wife, he would do it "privily." He was "not willing to make her a public example" (Matt. i. 19).

Her whole previous character would prompt him to spare her as much as possible. "While he thought on these things," and while probably both he and Mary were deeply suffering from the peculiar situation, they were relieved of their distress in the only way possible in the circumstances. v20.

Nazareth Revisited Ch 8

21 And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Yahoshua: for he shall save his people from their sins.

To talk of Christ dying for himself,‭ ‬without a very careful qualification,‭ ‬is misleading.

‭ ‬Let us take heed lest we cloud our own and others‭' ‬eyes to the plain and precious revelation regarding the object of Christ's death-

‭"‬My blood is shed for you,‭" ‬Christ said.‭ "‬shed for the remission of sins.‭"

‬Paul emphasised the same truth:‭

‭"‬Christ our passover is sacrificed for us‭"-"‬he died for us‭"-"‬he died for the ungodly‭" ‭-"‬for our sins‭"-"‬for our offences.‭"

Peter,‭ ‬touching upon the subject,‭ ‬said:

"‬Christ also hath suffered for our sins,‭ ‬the just for the unjust.‭"

‭ ‬John similarly declared,‭

‭"‬Christ was manifested to take away our sins‭"-"‬he is the propitiation for our sins‭"

‭-"‬he laid down his life for us.‭"

‭ ‬Isaiah,‭ ‬centuries before,‭ ‬had foretold the same thing:

‭ "‬He was wounded for our transgressions,‭ ‬bruised for our iniquities‭"-

‭"‬for the transgression of my people was he smitten.‭"

Brother Roberts has very truly said that some brethren have made the mistake of confining attention too exclusively to Christ's own part in the death of the cross.‭ ‬Although Christ was made mortal,‭ ‬a sharer of sin's flesh,‭ ‬and needed redemption,‭ ‬yet it is a paramount truth that God sent Christ,‭ ‬not to save himself,‭ ‬but us‭ (‬Matt.‭ ‬i: 21‭); ‬not to purge his sins,‭ ‬but ours‭ (‬Heb.‭ i: ‬3‭)‬.

Bro AT Jannaway

The Christadelphian, March 1899


"There is none of thy kindred that is called by this name." [John the Baptist]

the name was not derived from the family pedigree, and

"was so named of the angel before he was conceived in the womb."

... The very reason given for the bestowal of the name Jesus is sufficient to place it beyond the range of human invention;

"for he shall save his people from their sins."

It is not according to the habit of men to be governed by so large and so pure an idea. Human enterprise or inventiveness runs in the channel of human sympathies and passions; "the things that be of men" are visible in all their ways and thoughts. But here is a reason that relates alone to "the things that be of God," and is therefore self-evidently from a divine source.

It was not a new name in the sense of never having been used before: but it was new in Mary's circle, and in her use of it to name her son, it probably received for the first time its true application, of which previous uses were the typical adumbrations.

For as the least informed may be aware, it is a Hebrew name in which the Creator's name is the leading ingredient -- Joshua or Yah-shua -- Yahweh shall save. Yahweh saved Israel by Joshua, the successor of Moses, and again by Joshua, who took a prominent part in the restoration from Babylon.

But in these cases, the work was transitory, and performed indirectly. In the case of this newly-born child, the work was to be for ever in those for whom it should be effectual: and it was to be done in a direct manner by God himself, who was the Father of the child, and who made him what he was, and dwelt in him by the Spirit, working and speaking through him, as Jesus repeatedly testified afterwards, and as indeed was manifest from the nature of his words and works.

It was most fitting, therefore, that he should be called Yah-shua or Jesus: also Emmanuel -- "God with us." He was, without much figure, "the Word made flesh" -- the wisdom and power and fiat of the Father become incorporate in a man of the house of David, that sin might be taken away, and the way opened for friendship, love and life for evermore.

Nazareth Revisited Ch 8

23 Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.

The Son did not preexist from all eternity. The Father did. There is only one God, and He is the Father. Distinct from Him (though one with Him), there is the Son of God, the man Christ Jesus. He who is our High Priest, our Elder Brother, the Captain of our Salvation, had no individual pre-existence. Yet how can you separate him from the pre-existent power constituting him such-the power that produced him, the power that was in him, of which he is the expression, and of which he is the mouth-piece?

He was, if you may say so, a divine phenomenon in flesh-an individual manifestation of the spirit in the flesh; and as the Spirit is one with universal power, and wisdom, having source in the Father, can you not see that there is an inscrutable connection between the man Christ Jesus and the power whose views and purposes he came to accomplish; so that when John the Baptist went out preaching, to pave the way for his introduction to Israel, he was preparing "the way of Yahweh."

When you consider that Jesus was the manifestation of Yahweh by that Spirit which in its immensity is Yahweh, there is no difficulty; but if you exclude the Spirit, then the subject is all in mist. Somebody will say. "Oh, the Spirit came at his baptism." Yes; but it came before then; it came upon Mary; and it cannot be that a high cause is brought to bear to produce no result. The result was to introduce, incipiently, the manifestation styled Emmanuel, and this result appeared in the babe Christ. For he was proclaimed to be "the Lord's Christ" (anointed) from his mother's womb.

The angels that came to the shepherds on the plains of Bethlehem, said: "Unto you is born this day, in the city of David, a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord." And also it is written that to Simeon, who came in when the child Jesus came to be circumcised, it had been revealed that he should not see death till he had seen the Lord's anointed, the Christ; and when he had seen the babe, he said "Lord now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace; for mine eyes have seen thy salvation, which thou hast prepared before all people, a light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel."

The Spirit descended upon Jesus at his baptism, in token that he was the Christ. This was the testimony of John: "There standeth one among you whom ye know not. He it is who, coming after me is preferred before me, whose shoes' latchet I am not worthy to unloose. . . . And I knew him not, but that he should be made manifest to Israel, therefore am I come, baptizing with water. . . . He that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he that baptizeth with the Holy Spirit."-(John 1:26-33.)

The visible descent of the Spirit was then a public identification of the Messiah, as well as a bestowal of a higher degree of power than was conferred by his spiritual origin. Let those who think that the presence of the Spirit with him during the first thirty years of his life, unfitted him to be an example, consider this, that the Spirit, as they are obliged to admit, was with him when he was tempted in the wilderness. If then the presence of the Spirit, at that crisis, is no barrier to his being considered an example, why should it be considered so in the case of his earlier years? If it is a barrier in the one case, it is a barrier in the


If you are to say that, at any stage, there was no spirit with him, because of his being an

example, you are bound to deny the presence of the Spirit, at all stages: for, at all stages, he was an example.

And this is indeed what some would go to the length of doing, and say that the things performed by Jesus were not performed by his individual volition, but by the Father in heaven, in answer to Christ's prayer. This is dangerous speculation, which cuts at the root of that unity by Spirit-inhabitation which Jesus affirms to subsist between himself and the Father. Jesus was "God with us."


The Christadelphian, May 1870. p143-151