Book Review: Why Christ Came: 31 Meditations on the Incarnation
Why Christ Came: 31 Meditations on the Incarnation, Joel R. Beeke & William Boekestein, Grand Rapids: Reformation Heritage Books, 2013. Paperback, 108 pages, $10.00 USD.
Back in 2004, John Piper published a little book, The Passion of Jesus Christ: Fifty Reasons Why He Came to Die. This is a helpful little volume of meditations on Christ’s suffering and death and the reasons behind it. This new book by Joel Beeke and William Boekestein is in the same vein, except that it treats the conception and birth of our Lord Jesus.
The authors scarcely need any introduction. Joel Beeke is the author of numerous books and articles, a well-known preacher and conference speaker, and president of Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary in Grand Rapids. William Boekestein is the pastor of a United Reformed Church in Carbondale, PA and the author of several well-received books for children.
Each of the 31 meditations takes one or more Scripture texts to expound a particular aspect of Christ’s incarnation. While a fellow preacher might disagree on a few points of exegesis, these meditations take the Word of God seriously and faithfully. The writing is clear and illustrations are helpfully used in many of the meditations. Another element that I appreciated was the authors’ many references to Calvin, a Brakel, and other Reformed theologians of the past — as well as the Reformed confessions.
This is a great little devotional book for those who want to dedicate some extra attention to the incarnation of Christ, whether at this time of year or any other time. Beeke and Boekestein point us to the Saviour in a way that strengthens faith. Let me conclude with one paragraph that will give you a taste of what this book offers. This comes from meditation 27, “To Be a Merciful and Faithful High Priest”:
Because he saved us by the offering of His body, Christ had to become flesh and blood like us in every way except for our sin (Heb. 2:14, 4:15). What amazing love He has for us! Christ as God is an infinite and immortal spirit, yet He took a human head so it could be struck, crowned with thorns, and beaten with a reed. He took a human body so it could be ripped open with a Roman scourge. He took human arms and legs so they could be stretched out on the cross, and human hands so that they could be nailed to its wood. He took a human soul so He could feel the unspeakable pain of His Father forsaking Him in the darkness. He took our very nature, so that He could bleed and die for the sins that we committed. As John 15:13 says, “Greater love hath no man than this.”