An Exposition of the Annunciation of Christ
Book Review by David P. Craig
In this essay Dr. Tim Keller examines the announcement from the angel to Mary in Luke 1 that she would give birth to the long-awaited Messiah anticipated from the Old Testament. In the first half of the essay Keller demonstrates how the announcement about Jesus is totally different from any religious leader in history in that Jesus is God Himself incarnate, and He is also “the God who saves.”
Keller articulates that “the Christian gospel says that we are saved–changed forever–not by what we do, and not even by what Jesus says, but by what Jesus has done for us…Jesus is the way of salvation; he comes not just to show you how to live but to live the life you should have lived and even die the death you should have died for your sins. That is how he accomplishes the requirements of salvation in your place…Jesus’ claims are particularly unnerving, because if they are true there is no alternative but to bow the knee to him.”
In the second half of the essay Keller shows how Mary responds to the Gospel in four particular ways: (1) By using her own reason and logic at the announcement of the Gospel (with reference to the coming of the Messiah and why He is the Savior); (2) By being honest in her doubts about the announcement of her bearing the Messiah and bringing Him into the world (as a virgin); (3) By her completely surrendering to the truth of the pronouncement; and lastly (4) By her communion, or expressing her faith in community with Elizabeth.
In this delightful essay Keller demonstrates how Mary’s response to the gospel is what are response should be. We need to think logically about who Jesus was (and is) – God incarnate. We need to think about why He needed to come and save us (because of our alienation from the Father). We need to take our doubts seriously and yet honestly consider the evidence for His divine nature in His Person and work on our behalf (incarnation, perfect life, death, burial, and resurrection). We need to courageously commit to Him once we have reasoned that He is “the way, the truth, and the life.” And finally we must commune with other believers in the faith.
I highly recommend this book in that it will provide you with a deeper appreciation of how Mary’s faith can help you develop your own robust faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as you seek to go deeper in your understanding of, commitment to, and application of the gospel daily in the context of Christian fellowship with like-minded gospel saturated believers.