Why Christ Came: 31 Meditations on the Incarnation. Joel R. Beeke and William Boekestein. Reformation Heritage Books, 2013. 100 pages (paper). [Reviewed by Sarah Mowery.]

If someone asked me, “Why did Christ come to earth?” I would likely answer, “To save sinners”—with I Timothy 1:15 running through my mind. While true, my answer would hardly begin “to communicate the richness of Christ’s incarnation” (quotation from the preface). Joel Beeke and William Boekestein’s little book of 31 meditations on the Incarnation reminded me that there are many reasons why our Savior came into the world. These reasons include: to do the will of the Father, to bear witness to the truth, to destroy the devil and his works, and to receive worship. Each of the 31 meditations in this book focuses on one particular reason for Christ’s coming.
Though the meditations are brief and certainly not exhaustive, they are replete with Bible texts. While some Christian writers cite from an array of Bible translations, in this book Beeke and Boekestein consistently quote from the KJV. They also include references to the confessions and to a variety of Bible commentators and theologians, including John Calvin and Matthew Henry, and Christian classics like Pilgrim’s Progress. Some of the meditations end with a stanza from the Psalter that is so familiar to us in the Protestant Reformed Churches.
Beeke and Boekestein’s writing is very readable. For the most part, the book is Reformed and theologically strong. For instance, there are a couple of references to man’s having lost God’s image when Adam fell, a notion that is thoroughly biblical but not widely accepted today. However, there are also several parts with which Protestant Reformed readers will disagree. For example, in the chapter entitled “To Bring Judgment,” Beeke quotes an excerpt of Calvin that says Christ “offers salvation to all without reserve, and stretches out his arms to embrace all, that all may be encouraged to repent.” (I was unable to locate this quotation in the e-version of Calvin’s commentaries that I use.)
While the book does not have to be used as a devotional book for the month of December, I employed its 31 meditations to that end. At a time of the year when those who mention our Lord tend to leave Him in the manger, and even we can lose sight of Him amid our hectic holiday schedules, Why Christ Came proved an advent devotional that overall is God-centered and Christ-exalting.


Mrs. Sarah Mowery is a member of Loveland Protestant Reformed Church in Loveland, Colorado.