The Virgin Birth of Jesus
 

THE VIRGIN BIRTH OF JESUS

6 different meditations are presented below on this most unique Christian doctrine as promised 700 years prior through the prophet Isaiah.

Day 1

Jesus Christ, was conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary as the Lord had promised over seven hundred years earlier through the prophet Isaiah.

How do the gospels introduce this Jesus to us? In their narratives Matthew and Luke call him virgin-born Savior, the Lord Christ Jesus, the Holy One, the Son of the Most High, the Son of God, and Immanuel. Mark does not give us an account of his birth as Matthew and Luke do, but he does introduce him as Jesus Christ the Son of God.

What about John? In his prologue in the first chapter, John introduces Jesus Christ to us, first saying, "In the beginning was the Word . . ." J. I. Packer tells us in his book Knowing God that in this verse we are told of the eternity of the Lord Jesus Christ. When other things began, he was. He was from all eternity and he is from all eternity. Jesus Christ is eternal.

Verse 1 continues, "and the Word was with God. . ." That speaks about his personality. This Word is a personal being, an eternal personality, distinct from the Father and yet eternally in fellowship with God the Father. Then John says, "and the Word was God." That speaks about the deity of this Word. He is God and yet he is personally distinct from the Father....

In verse 14 we are told, "The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us." John understands that Jesus Christ is the eternal Word, the personal being distinct from the Father, God himself, the creator and author of all life and the author of all revelation of God. This God, this Creator, this Word became flesh. Mighty God lay helplessly as a baby in a cattle feeding trough. But John has no doubt as to who this one is. In verse 14 he continues, "We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, the only Begotten, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth." And finally, in verse 18, John writes, "No one has ever seen God but God the One and Only, who is at the Father's side, has made him known." Thus John introduces Jesus Christ to us. God became flesh.

For Bible-believing Christians around the world, the virgin birth of Jesus is not a crude fact. To us who believe in God as the creator of the heavens and the earth, believing in miracles is not at all a problem. We glory in the virgin birth of Jesus, the second person of the Godhead, because without the virgin birth, the cross will be emptied of its power. Without the virgin birth, Jesus would be just a man, not be able to save anyone. He himself would need a savior. If we remove the virgin birth, then we remove the power of the cross to save us.

Day 2

Matthew's Account

The accounts of the birth of Jesus Christ as found in the gospels of Matthew and Luke are quite detailed, and when we examine them, we notice that they are totally independent of each other. Yet they concur in this great doctrine of the virgin birth.

First, in Matthew's account, Matthew tells us that Joseph had nothing to do with the begetting of Jesus. Matthew 1:16 says, "and Jacob the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus who is called Christ." He explains this in verse 18, "This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph. But before they came together, she was found to be with child" ek pneumatos hagiou , "through the Holy Spirit." And in verse 20 you read that the angel was commissioned to come to Joseph at night in a dream. Contrary to what Joseph had thought, the angel tells him again about the supernatural aspect of this pregnancy: "Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife because what is conceived in her is," again, ek pneumatos hagiou , "of the Holy Spirit."

In verse 23 Matthew continues, "All this took place so that the word of the Lord might be fulfilled." What was that word? "The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel--which means 'God with us.'"  James Orr and J. Gresham Machen and a number of others state that this prophecy of Isaiah 7:14 has a singular reference. This prophecy is speaking about the birth of Jesus Christ through the virgin Mary by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Thus Matthew, under the inspiration of the same Holy Spirit who inspired Isaiah to write his prophecy, says that this took place in fulfillment of what the Lord spoke through Isaiah. Jesus was born of a virgin. In verse 25 Matthew goes out of his way to let us know that Joseph did not have any sexual relationship with Mary until this son was born. And finally in verse 25 it says "He [Joseph] gave him the name Jesus." Giving Jesus his name meant that Joseph was adopting Jesus as his son and becoming his legal father. Joseph is addressed here as the son of David, which means that he is a prince, although the Davidic dynasty had declined and was in an eclipse. But now we see that out of the stump of Jesse's line came a shoot, a branch, who is Jesus. He became the legal heir to that throne through Joseph, the son of David, and through Joseph's adoption of him.

Pt 2 will examine the Virgin Birth from Luke & Joseph’s Decision.  Pt 3 will The Decision of God and the Purpose of the Virgin Birth.

-excerpt taken from a sermon by P.G. Mathew entitled The Virgin Birth of Christ

Day 3

Luke's Account of the Virgin Birth

Luke also gives us clear evidence of his belief in the virgin birth of Christ. In Luke 1:27 we are told that Mary is called a virgin, he parthenos . Luke uses the word twice in that verse. And in Luke 1:34, this young girl, this virgin Mary, asks, "How can this be since I do not know a man?" meaning to know a man sexually. And the angel's answer is that the Holy Spirit would come upon her. "The power of the Most High shall overshadow you." Then Gabriel added that there is nothing impossible with God.

Was Luke making this up? We must remember that he was a historian who was interested only in the truth. In Luke 1 we read, "Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us. . . " Luke was not setting out to write a mythology or a collection of legends. He was a historian whose purpose was to write "the things that took place among us, just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses." There is no question that the source for Matthew and Luke for this account of the virgin birth was Mary herself, the mother of Jesus. Luke interviewed "eyewitnesses and servants of the word"--those who saw the events he was recording.

Not only that, Luke also states, "Therefore, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning. . ." His intent was not to sit down and write a novel, creating everything out of his own head. He was a historian who personally investigated all things about Jesus Christ "from the beginning," which included the virgin birth. And because of his investigations, he says to his readers, "it seemed good also to me to write an orderly account." Why? "So that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught." Luke wanted his readers to know that what they have been taught was true, certain, factual.

Thus Luke began his gospel account first by the narration of the supernatural birth of John the Baptist and second with the supernatural virgin birth of Jesus Christ. We must understand this is something historical, factual, seen by eyewitnesses, and investigated carefully. It is recorded that we may have certainty of the gospel.

The church of Jesus Christ has always believed in the virgin birth, as revealed by its creeds. This doctrine is essential to our salvation. ...If we deny the virgin birth, we will soon begin to deny all the miracles of the Bible. We will reduce Jesus to being a mere man, albeit a nice, ethical one. In fact, we may even say he is the best man, but still a man, incapable of saving anyone...

Day 4

Joseph Makes a Decision

Luke's detailed account of the birth of Jesus Christ gives clear evidence of his belief in the virgin birth. After the angelic announcement to Mary in Nazareth, she was overshadowed by the Holy Spirit and she conceived. Mary then went from Nazareth to Judea to visit Elizabeth and receive spiritual encouragement and fellowship from her. After three months, Mary returned to Nazareth and Joseph learned of Mary's pregnancy.  Joseph... found himself facing a grave decision.

In Jewish circles of that time marriage consisted of, first, a betrothal in which the couple exchanged vows of fidelity before witnesses. From that point on the man was known as husband and the woman was known as wife. This was the first phase of marriage. But before the couple lived together as husband and wife, however, there was a space of about one year. At the end of the one year period, the husband would come and ceremoniously take his bride to his home in a celebration such as we read about in Matthew 25. After the marriage feast, the couple would live together as husband and wife.

Mary became pregnant before she lived with Joseph and before any sexual relations took place. But in Deuteronomy 22 there were very clear instructions for dealing with a person who became pregnant outside of marriage. Deuteronomy 22, beginning with verse 23, says "If a man happens to meet in a town a virgin pledged to be married and he sleeps with her, you shall take both of them to the gate of that town and stone them to death," and so on. Whether they practiced this during the New Testament times or not, we do not know, but that was the punishment stipulated by the Old Testament.

Mary informed Joseph that she was pregnant. Being a just man like Job and Zechariah, Joseph refused to marry her. At the same time, though, he desired to divorce her privately by writing her a bill of divorcement in front of two witnesses and letting her go as permitted in Deuteronomy 24:1.

What was Mary doing during this time? Again, I do not think Mary explained anything to Joseph at all, but she trusted in the Lord with regard to this issue. She probably reasoned, "Nothing is impossible with God, and as Gabriel stated, I am pregnant with the holy Child by the supernatural work and power of the Holy Spirit. Additionally, I know that the barren Elizabeth of Judea is about to deliver John as Gabriel had also foretold. In fact, I myself went and saw that everything was just as the angel had said." So Mary probably came to this conclusion: "This problem with Joseph is God's problem. He must solve it, and he will solve it. I must trust God."

Pt 3 will conclude with Joseph's decision and the purpose of the Virgin Birth.

-excerpt taken from a sermon by P.G. Mathew entitled The Virgin Birth of Christ

Day 5

The Virgin Birth: The Decision of God

Sure enough, God sent an angel to Joseph. Though Joseph loved Mary,  yet he could not go ahead with this marriage. After deciding to divorce her privately, he went to bed.
 

The angel of the Lord spoke to Joseph in a dream that night and brought a command from the Lord, which we read in Matthew 1:20-21. First, the angel told Joseph, "Do not fear to take Mary as your wife." God wanted him to go ahead with the second part of his marriage. He wanted him to bring Mary ceremoniously to his house, have a marriage feast and to begin to live with her. And then God revealed the truth to Joseph about Mary. The angel continued, "because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit." When Joseph heard these words, the darkness was dispelled from his mind and heart. Why? The angel was saying that Mary was not an adulteress. She was a virgin--innocent, just, righteous, and pure. In other words, this pregnancy was God's work. Joseph did love Mary, so you can imagine the joy that filled his soul as he heard these words.

Then the angel gave further instructions, "She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus." In other words, Joseph must protect Mary, honor her and provide for her. He must adopt this son by naming him, which was an official act. Thus Joseph would become the legal father of Jesus. Joseph was the prince, the son of David, the legal heir to the throne. Now, by being named and adopted by Joseph, Jesus became the legal heir to the throne of David. He is Jesus the king.

Notice how Joseph went to bed with one decision and woke up with God's decision. Joseph accepted God's guidance and changed his previous decision to divorce Mary. He took her for his wife, protected her, provided for her, and honored her. And when she gave birth, he dutifully adopted her son and gave him the name Jesus.

Day 6

The Purpose of the Virgin Birth

Who is this Jesus? The angel told Joseph "you are to give him the name Jesus. . ." Why? "because he will save his people from their sins" (v. 21). The Greek text tells us that he himself, he alone, will do it, meaning there is no other savior. Jesus alone shall save his people. Here, then, is revealed the purpose of this virgin birth. ...To give us a Savior who is capable of saving his people from their sins.

In Psalm 49:7, 8 we read, "No man can redeem the life of another or give to God a ransom for him--the ransom for a life is costly, no payment is ever enough. . ." And verse 15, "But God will redeem my life from the grave, he will surely take me to himself." And in Psalm 130:7, 8 we find another reference to what is reflected in Matthew 1: "O Israel, put your hope in the Lord, for with the Lord is unfailing love and with him is full redemption. He himself will redeem Israel from all their sins." In the fullness of time God, through the virgin birth, is giving us a Savior who is God/man, able to redeem us from our sins. Joseph was told to name him Jesus, for he alone would save his people from their sins.

-excerpt taken from a sermon by P.G. Mathew entitled The Virgin Birth of Christ