The Virgin Birth
The season of Christmas is fast approaching, along with parties, shopping, and chilly weather. As we strive to keep our focus on Christ this Christmas, it is helpful to contemplate some of the amazing details of that first Christmas two millennia ago. In this article, we will be considering the miracle of the virgin birth.
You can read about the angel Gabriel appearing to Mary in Luke 1:26-38. Gabriel told Mary that she would conceive and bear a son. Mary found this news surprising, saying, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?” Or in the literal Greek, “since I do not know a man?”
Gabriel answered that she would conceive by the Holy Spirit and would be called the Son of God.
Mary was also informed that her relative Elizabeth, though she was in her old age and thought to be barren, had also conceived a child. “For nothing,” Gabriel said, “will be impossible with God.” Submitting herself as a servant of the Lord, the angel left.
Was Mary Lying?
You may hear people occasionally suggest that Mary made the whole thing up. The idea is that Mary, having gotten pregnant by some other man, made up the angelic visitation and miraculous conception to get out of trouble. Joseph bought her story and Mary went on, living a lie, keeping her infidelity secret forever.
The main problem with this explanation of events is that Joseph didn’t buy her story.
Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit.And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly.
Since Mary and Joseph were betrothed, Joseph could have ruined Mary’s life for unfaithfulness. Instead, he decided to keep the situation private and divorce her quietly. If Mary tried to convince him that her pregnancy was a miracle, Joseph’s actions do not indicate that he believed her. That is, until he had his own angelic visitation.
But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”
It took an angel in a dream confirming that Mary had conceived by the Holy Spirit for Joseph to believe that Mary had remained faithful.
But Isn’t a Virgin Birth Impossible?
The impossibility of a pregnant virgin was not lost on Joseph, her family, the gospel writers, the early church, or anyone else. That’s why Joseph was going to divorce her initially. If it wasn’t impossible it wouldn’t be a miracle.
Here’s the thing, if God could create human life out of nothing the first time, why couldn’t He do this? God created the entire universe out of nothing, making a pre-born human in a virgin’s womb probably isn’t more difficult than that.
Deny the virgin birth because its impossible throws out the case before the evidence is heard based on its incompatibility with a worldview.
The Theological Significance of the Virgin Birth
We have good reasons to believe in the virgin birth, and it is significant theologically as well.
The virgin birth reminds us that our salvation is supernatural. Just as Jesus was miraculously born, we are miraculously born again. When we remember the virgin birth, we remember that our salvation does not come from human effort but from God.
The virgin birth reminds us that our salvation is a gift of grace from God. Mary didn’t do anything special to earn God’s favor or the honor she was given; she was simply faithful to follow the call she had been given. In the same way, we don’t do anything special to earn God’s grace or favor to us; we simply have to respond to God’s call, faithfully following Him.
Finally, the virgin birth reminds us that God is sovereign over nature. He created the world and still rules over it. He can do what seems impossible to us, and He will do what is required to accomplish His plan and purposes.
I hope you all have a blessed season as we celebrate the birth of our Savior!