“But the angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end’” (Luke 1:30-33).
The virgin birth is one of the most amazing miracles of God. Some say that it’s truly unbelievable. But if we believe that God exists, then we must accept that miracles are possible. God created the universe ex-nihilo or from nothing. There is scientific evidence that the universe had a beginning and that it’s not eternal. So, if God can create the universe from nothing, then the parting of the Red Sea, the virgin birth, and the resurrection of Jesus are child’s play for Him.
The virgin birth
Can one say that they believe in God, yet reject the truth claims of Matthew, and Luke, the two gospel writers who wrote about the virgin birth? The opinion that one takes on the virgin birth is rooted in one’s theology of God’s Word, and one’s opinion of God’s right, ability, and willingness to supernaturally intervene into our world.
Luke 1:26 tells us that the angel Gabriel appeared to Mary and told her that she would be overshadowed by the Holy Spirit, that she would have a son who would be called the Son of the Most High, that God would give Him the throne of David, that He would reign over Jacob’s descendants forever, and His Kingdom would never end. In Matthew 1:20, an angel appears to Joseph and tells him that what is conceived in Mary is from the Holy Spirit, and that he should not be afraid to marry her. So here we have a supernatural act of God intervening to communicate with His people. God is working out His plan to bring forth the Messiah.
What Matthew and Luke wrote should come as no surprise since the Old Testament prophets predicted this event. Seven hundred years before the birth of Christ, Isaiah predicted it in Isaiah 7:14. “Therefore, the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son and will call Him Immanuel.” In Genesis 3:15, God warned the serpent that enmity would exist between Eve’s seed, and his. Here’s the thing, a woman doesn’t have a seed. So where would that seed come from if Mary was a virgin?
The messiahship of Jesus depends on His virgin birth
Why would God use Mary who was betrothed to Joseph, to bear His son? Why couldn’t he just place Jesus on the earth and create Him out of dust the same way that God created Adam? The answer to that is that God keeps His promises. God had promised King David that the Messiah (Jesus Christ) would come from the lineage of David and that he would establish a kingdom that would endure forever. This is called the Davidic covenant because it is an unconditional promise of God. God does not require any conditions to be met by David for God to fulfill His promise. The promises made rests solely on God’s faithfulness. When, after the prophet Jeremiah cursed David’s descendants who were then wicked kings, they were either killed or exiled. The only one left was Jehoiachin, and he was considered by God to be childless.
So now, no Messiah.
The Messianic tree has been cut down. Enter Joseph. Joseph is from the line of David. Joseph just happens to be betrothed to Mary. Christ is born of Mary, who is not from royal lineage. But Joseph is. Jesus is adopted by Joseph as his son, giving Jesus all the rights of the royal line, while avoiding the prophetic curse of Jeremiah. Because of the curse, Joseph could not rule. Through this adoption, God regenerates the Davidic Covenant and the royal line. This is the key to the virgin birth, rather than direct descendants from the royal line because of the curse of Jeremiah.
How the virgin birth satisfies God’s requirement for our salvation
In the Old Testament, to atone for the sins of the people of Israel, a sacrifice had to be made. There were requirements for this sacrifice. The sacrifice had to be a male lamb, it had to be perfect, or unblemished, and blood had to be shed (See Leviticus 1). Since Jesus was born for the very purpose of atoning for our sins and being our sacrificial lamb, He had to be a male, He had to be perfect (sinless), He had to be God because only an infinite God could atone for the sins of every person on earth, and He had to be one of us to be a sacrifice for our sins. Since Jesus was born of the Holy Spirit, He was born with two natures. He was human because He was born of Mary, but He was also God, since He was also born of the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit is God. In addition, since He was God, He was sinless, or unblemished. So now we have a male that is fully human and fully God (this is called the Hypostatic Union), who is also sinless, making Jesus the perfect sacrificial lamb, worthy to die for our sins. This is why the virgin birth is so important. If Jesus was not born of a virgin, by the Holy Spirit, He could not have been our Messiah. His death on the cross would not have satisfied the requirements of God for atonement of sin.
So, at Christmastime, when we think of how Jesus was born of the virgin Mary, let’s remember why He had to be born of the virgin Mary. His birth satisfied all of the requirements for Him to be qualified to die and atone for our sins 33 years later. His virgin birth also fulfilled God’s promise to David.
Lord, remind us that like the virgin birth, our salvation can never come through human effort. It can only come through the supernatural work of You alone. In the same way that your Holy Spirit came upon Mary and gave life to her womb, the Holy Spirit comes on us and gives us life. You give us our own spiritual virgin birth because we are not born of our own will or our own efforts, but of You alone. God, you created Jesus’ humanity so that He could be the Son. You also give us spiritual life, that we may become sons and daughters.
Claudia is a Christian apologist, national speaker, and blogger with a Master of Arts degree in Christian Apologetics from Biola University. She is on the speaking team for the Talbot Seminary Biola On-The-Road Apologetics conferences, teaches Apologetics at her church, and leads the ladies Bible study. Claudia has been a repeat guest on the KKLA radio show in Los Angeles, Real Life With Gina Pastore and David James. Her blog posts have been published multiple times in The Poached Egg online apologetics magazine, and she is a contributing writer for Women In Apologetics. She blogs at Straight Talk With Claudia K. After raising two now adult sons, her focus now is to make an impact in the world for Christ.