By David Murray
The first words most babies speak is “Dada.” Seems a bit unjust after all the hard work their mothers put into them, but there you go.
I don’t think fathers should get too proud though. Instead of honoring their dads with their first word, it’s more likely that one of the first babies said “dada” and one of the first men jumped in and claimed the word as a self-identifier.
“Did you hear that honey? He said my name!”
“Your name’s not Dada!”
“It is now”
Something like that.
Jesus’s First Words
But what about Jesus? What were his first words as a baby?
Perhaps you’re saying, “What a ridiculous question! We aren’t told and it doesn’t matter.”
Well, we are told. And it does matter.
“When He came into the world, He said: ‘Sacrifice and offering You did not desire, but a body You have prepared for me. In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin You had no pleasure. Then I said, ‘Behold, I come – In the volume of the book it is written of me – To do Your will, O God’” (Heb. 10:5-7)
A bit more than “Dada” isn’t it? He quoted Psalm 40.
And a bit earlier than most babies. “When he came into the world.”
When was that?
Was it when He was delivered in the stable and breathed His first breath?
Or was it nine months earlier, when he was conceived of the Holy Spirit in Mary’s womb?
Probably the latter, as that was “when he came into the world” and into the body prepared for him.
So how did he speak in the womb?
He didn’t of course. An embryo can’t speak and didn’t speak.
The End and the Beginning
Hebrews 10:5 is not speaking of Christ as man, but of Christ as God. Inspired by the Holy Spirit, the Apostle is given a secret look behind the curtain of heaven to hear what the Son of God said as He departed heaven and, a blink later, arrived on earth. These were the words on his heart, mind, and lips as He entered Mary’s womb and this world.
He looked back on the history of Israel, saw hundreds of thousands of animal sacrifices, slaughtered bodies piled up to heaven, and said, “THE END.”
He looked ahead and saw His own body start to develop as He joined with Mary’s egg in her virgin womb, and cried with delight, “The BEGINNING.”
He saw a human body, a divinely prepared body, a bleeding body, a dead body, a resurrected body. And said, “Behold, my body. Behold, I’m coming. This is what the Old Testament was all about. I delight to do your will O my God!”
What excitement, what energy, what enthusiasm for the task!
What unforgettable first words.
David Murray is Professor of Old Testament & Practical Theology at Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary, blogs at Head Heart Hand, and is author of the books Christians Get Depressed Too and How Sermons Work.