Born of a Virgin.
“Now the birth of Jesus Christ happened this way. While his mother Mary was engaged to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit.” – Matthew 1:18 NET
The virgin birth. For centuries, men have debated and discussed the validity and necessity of the virgin birth of Jesus. Some have denied it ever happened. Others have argued that it doesn’t really matter. At the core of these ongoing debates is the human mind’s need to be able to explain and understand everything. A virgin birth is impossible. It is scientifically indefensible. Anyone with a rational mind would refuse to believe something so ridiculous and obviously mythological. But our inability to understand or explain the virgin birth does not make it untrue. Ultimately, this is a matter of faith. It requires belief in the miraculous because it involves the divine, the Holy, all-powerful, inexplicable God. He does not do things man’s way. He is not required to operate within our limited sphere of understanding. Yet, whenever man runs into things involving God or His Word that are difficult to explain or understand, he begins to rationalize and reason. His struggle with belief and his need to connect all the dots and explain away all the inconsistencies forces him to reject things like the virgin birth.
But our inability to understand or explain does not eliminate the reality of the event. Mary became pregnant by the Holy Spirit. We don’t know how it happened. God’s methodology is hidden from us. But His reasoning is clear. Jesus, as the Son of God and the Savior of the world, had to be sinless. And since the sin nature was passed down from Adam through man, it was essential that Jesus not have an earthly father. It’s interesting to note that in the genealogy that ends a few verses earlier, Matthew records “Jacob was the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary” (Matthew 1:16 NLT). In every other line of the genealogy, it lists the man as the father of his son. “Eleazar was the father of Matthan” (Matthew 1:15 NLT). But Joseph was listed as the husband of Mary. He is not recorded as the father of Jesus, because he wasn’t. Mary’s pregnancy was the result of the Holy Spirit.
A virgin birth. Miraculous? Yes. Difficult to comprehend? You bet. Necessary? Without a doubt. For Jesus to be our sin substitute, He had to be without sin. To be an acceptable sacrifice for the sins of mankind, He had to be sinless. He could not inherit the sin nature of Adam passed down through Joseph. So God did the impossible. He arranged for His Son to be born of a virgin. But is that any less implausible than God taking on human flesh in the first place? If you think about it, the virgin birth is the least difficult thing to believe in this entire story. God becoming man, being born as a baby, living a sinless life and dying a sinner’s death on a cross three and a half years later, all in order to save mankind from the penalty of death – now that’s hard to understand and impossible to explain. But it is the Good News. It is unbelievable, implausible, inexplicable, and yet, completely acceptable when you factor in the reality of God. This is His story, not ours. He doesn’t operate according to our standards. He is not limited by our ability to understand. Everything about this story is outlandish and unbelievable. It requires faith. It requires trust in the reality and reliability of God. The writer of Hebrews reminds us: “Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see. Through their faith, the people in days of old earned a good reputation. By faith we understand that the entire universe was formed at God’s command, that what we now see did not come from anything that can be seen” (Hebrews 11:1-3 NLT). I have no struggle with the reality of the virgin birth. For the God who created the universe out of nothing, that was nothing.
Father, everything about You is unexplainable and unbelievable. You are a great God who does things we can never fully understand. There are things about You that are unknowable to us. Yet in our pride and arrogance we try so hard to explain everything. If we can’t, we simply reject it as untrue. But Father, help us to understand that You operate outside the limited boundaries of human understanding. That should bring us comfort, not consternation; peace, not perplexity. You are the God of the impossible. Amen.
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men