November 12, 2021
“What should I bring before the Lord when I come to bow before God on high? Should I come before Him with burnt offerings, with year-old calves?”
“What should I bring before the Lord when I come to bow before God on high? Should I come before Him with burnt offerings, with year-old calves? Would the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams or with 10,000 streams of oil? Should I give my firstborn for my transgression, the child of my body for my own sin? Micah 6:6-7
During Christmastime, you will probably hear the term “immaculate conception.” Most people believe the phrase means “virgin conceived.” While a virgin named Miriam (Mary) did, in fact, conceive and give birth to Jesus, that’s not what the term “immaculate conception” means. The term refers to the Catholic notion that “Mary” was without sin when she conceived by the Holy Spirit, that Mary herself was immaculate. That is simply false. (See: Romans 3:23) Miriam was an otherwise normal Jewish girl whom the Lord chose, by His infinite wisdom, to bear & raise His Son. She conceived, not by virtue of her perfection, but because of the perfection of the Holy Spirit, Who worked despite Miriam’s sinful nature. Miriam’s conception of Jesus, Whose “origin is from antiquity, from eternity” (Micah 5:2), was determined by God’s miracle and not by human merit/achievement. We may relate to Jesus’ humanity, but it is His Divinity that we need, divinity which atoned for sin and secures our salvation.
Micah spoke of the impossibility of anything purely earthly or fleshly atoning for sin. Notice Micah’s examples: Hanukkah is recorded in John, chapter 10, as the “Feast of Dedication.” Hanukkah is the remembrance of a miracle, where God allowed one day’s supply of oil to last eight days. This was so the Menorah could stay lit in the temple while new oil could be consecrated. That said, Micah exhorts that 10,000 streams of oil could not fully please God. Religious Jews await the modern rebuilding of the Jerusalem temple; so they may resume sacrifices. Micah indicates that animal sacrifices cannot sufficiently atone for sin. What of the notion that an average “fully human” Jewish firstborn child could substitute for a fathers’ sin? Sin begets sin.
Consider the words of Jesus, to the Levite Scribes & Pharisees: “…and you say, ‘If we had lived in the days of our fathers, we would not have taken part with them in shedding the prophets’ blood.’ You testify, therefore, against yourselves that you are the sons of those who murdered the prophets. Fill up then, the measure of your fathers’ sins!” Matthew 23: 30-32
So what does the Lord require? “He has told men what is good and what it is the Lord requires of you: Only to act justly, love faithfulness, and to walk humbly with your God.” Micah 6: 8
Only Jesus has accomplished this directive by virtue of His divinity. And only through a personal saving relationship with Him can we stand justified before God.
In short, Jesus didn’t need Mary’s righteousness. She needed His.