Many Christians believe that Jesus Christ was the product of a virgin’s womb but fail to understand the tremendous spiritual significance of it all. “Why was it necessary that Jesus Christ be born of a virgin anyway?”
Just a glimpse into Matthew’s gospel will reveal a few of the facts surrounding Christ’s birth.
“Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found to be with child of the Holy Spirit. Then Joseph, her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly. But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, ‘Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.’ So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: ‘Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel, which is translated, God with us.’ Then Joseph, being aroused from his sleep, did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took to him his wife, and did not know her till she had brought forth her firstborn Son. And he called His name Jesus.” (Matt. 1:18-25)
I’m Going to Have a Baby!
I cannot begin to imagine the anxiety that slammed into Joseph’s heart when he heard these words from his fiancé. To be engaged to be married, according to Jewish custom, was as binding as if the couple were already married. An angel from God appeared to Mary and informed her that she would have a baby. This baby would be fathered by the Holy Spirit and would be the very Son of God (Luke 1:32).
Joseph reacted to the news like any man would have under the same circumstances. Perplexed as to what to do, he decided to at worst, “put her away,” or, at best, call the whole thing off. God intervened and told Joseph that the child in Mary’s womb was indeed by the Holy Spirit. Joseph must have been first relieved to hear this news and then excited. He must have felt ashamed for doubting Mary’s purity and love for him.
Is it difficult to believe in a virgin birth? Yes, if you question the existence of a God who is capable of such miracles! There are those today who think of Jesus Christ as just a religious man who was a teacher or even a prophet, but not the Son of God. This belief would lead to the conclusion that Jesus Christ is an illegitimate child, born out of wedlock, and that His death was nothing more than that of a martyr.
Mary’s condition soon became the talk of the town as family and friends calculated the timing of the pregnancy. But this did not diminish the couple’s joy and belief that God had given them something very special. Why did God choose this means of entering the world?
If we believe the Bible is true, then we must also believe its teaching that the entire human race had its beginning in a man called Adam. Many today enjoy the challenge of looking back into historical records and tracing their ancestral heritage. Sometimes we like what we find in our forefathers, and sometimes we do not. If Adam and Eve were the first parents of the human race, then the genetic building blocks for every human being were found in them. When Adam ate the forbidden fruit, he died (Gen. 2:16-17). He did not die physically at that moment, but he died! He died spiritually, meaning that he was separated from God.
But he was not alone in his death. Every human being who would ever live was “in him” at that moment. We were all in him genetically. Think of where we would be if our great-great grandfather had died without children. We would never have known life because we would have died physically in him. Likewise we all died spiritually “in Adam.”
“In Adam all die.” (1 Cor. 15:22)
The sting of Adam’s death touched the entire human race. Since the fall of Adam, every member of the human race has come into this world physically alive but spiritually separated from God.
God, because of His great love, planned from the beginning to satisfy His just demands against our sin by extending grace and mercy to those who would believe in Him. In order to satisfy His divine justice against sin, He had to die. However, God, who is eternal life, could not die. In order to die, He had to take on human flesh and come into the slave-market prison that Adam had created.
But how was God to accomplish this? If He came into the world through the normal birth process, He would be contaminated with Adam’s spiritual death. Was God perplexed? Was He sitting up in heaven and ringing His majestic hands worrying about how to accomplish this great feat of grace? Absolutely not! He had both predicted and prepared the way hundreds of years earlier.
Eve Was Tricked; Adam Willfully Rebelled
God foretold the means of His coming into the world way back in the first book of the Bible.
“And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel.” (Gen. 3:15)
The seed of the serpent (the offspring of Satan) would wound the heel of the seed of the woman (the Son of God). But the Son of God was to deal a death-blow to the seed of Satan. Notice-it is the seed of the woman, not the seed of the man. This is because ‘the spiritual death virus’ had contaminated the seed of the man.
How can one born of the flesh of a woman ultimately defeat Satan? The answer has everything to do with the infinite wisdom of God in His order of creation and the specifics of the fall. Because God fashioned Adam from the soil and created him first, He marked out Adam as the one who would represent the entire human race. He was responsible directly to God.
Eve, created second, was taken from Adam’s side and became responsible to God through the man. In the garden, God allowed Satan to legitimately deceive Eve by flattery and lies such as, “If you will eat this fruit, you will be like God Himself.” Eve was tricked into eating the fruit, but Adam knowingly sinned against God.
“For Adam was first formed then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression.” (1 Tim. 2:13-14)
Both Adam and Eve were sinners before God, and both died. Because Adam knowingly sinned, and because He was the representative head of the race, he (not the woman) became the transmitter of the sin nature-the spiritual death virus-to the human race.
“Moreover as by one man sin entered the world and death by sin, and so death passed on all men for all sinned.” (Rom. 5:12)
God, foreordaining the future, allowed the woman to be deceived, which left her womb spiritually free from the contamination of Adam’s sin. What a wonderful God we have!
Christ’s mother Mary was not sinless, nor “the mother of God.” She was the daughter of a son in the genetic line of David named Heli (Luke 3:23). She, like everyone else, was a sinner. Matthew 13:55-56 tells us that she had other children by Joseph, all born physically alive and spiritually dead, and all in need of a Savior. But in the wisdom of God, the Holy Spirit in the spiritually sterile womb of the virgin Mary conceived Jesus Christ.
Here is the importance of the virgin birth.
“Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel.” (Isa. 7:14)
“Immanuel” means God with us, and that is what the virgin birth is all about.
Jesus Christ came into this world a sinless redeemer. He was not contaminated with the sin of Adam. He could then go to the cross and “become sin for us.” He could die the death that was meant for us and give us His life. And that is precisely what He did.
“For He has made Him, who knew no sin, to become sin for us that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.” (2 Cor. 5:21)
By His death He pulled Adam’s death sting from those who will believe in Him.
”O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law; but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Cor. 15:55-57)