Joel R. Beeke & William Boekestein
Reviewed by: Donald M. Poundstone
Why Christ Came: 31 Meditations on the Incarnation, by Joel R. Beeke and William Boekestein. Reformation Heritage Books, 2013. Paperback, 108 pages, list price $12.00. Reviewed by retired OP minister Donald M. Poundstone.
Even believers who avoid any observance of Jesus' birth in December will appreciate—and somehow ought to make use of—this little book.
Two Reformed pastors have written a collection of nearly three dozen brief meditations (three short pages each) on the reasons why the eternal Son of God became a man.
When Christmas lights brighten big-city streets in Japan (a land barely 1 percent Christian) and even most unbelievers in North America exchange year-end holiday gifts and greetings, you can be sure there's a lot of ignorance about the real meaning and importance of Christ's birth.
Why Christ Came beautifully reflects on many aspects of the meaning and purpose of the incarnation of the second person of the Trinity—why the Word of God became human flesh and dwelt among us (John 1:14). These devotions cover ground familiar to mature Christians. They will refresh the minds and warm the hearts of adults, and also offer essential spiritual instruction to our children.
To whet your appetite, here are just a few of the topics covered. According to the Scriptures, Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners (1 Tim. 1:15). He came to do the will of God the Father (John 6:38), to bear witness to the truth (John 18:37), to destroy the devil and all his works (1 John 3:8), to bring great joy to the earth as well as divine judgment (Luke 2:10; John 9:39–41), and to preach the gospel (Luke 4:18, 43).
In addition, he came to earth in order to give his life as a ransom for many (Mark 10:45), to die (John 12:24–25, 27), to fulfill the law and the prophets, that is, the Old Testament (Matt. 5:17), to reveal God's love for the world (John 3:16), and to bring peace (Eph. 2:14–18)—and much more beside!
The title of this slim volume presupposes the Savior's preexistence and the reality of God's purpose in sending his one and only Son. Our Lord existed from all eternity in loving communion with the Father and the Holy Spirit. His birth, life, death, and resurrection fulfilled God's eternal purpose for our redemption. This is sublime truth to dwell upon and cherish.
My only reservation—one remarked upon by other reviewers—is a small one: the practice of the authors and publisher to quote exclusively from the King James Version. But parents can read more accessible modern translations for use with young children. The contents of the book deserve wide distribution.
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