2001-06-15 - The Virgin Birth
Basic Christian Beliefs, Part 3
Luke 1:31-35 (RSV) And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there will be no end." And Mary said to the angel, "How shall this be, since I have no husband?" And the angel said to her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God.
Of course, there were rumors and erroneous stories spread down through the years. One of my fellow devotional writers recently mentioned the legend of Jesus being the son of a prostitute and a Roman soldier. People who do not have faith have to have a means to explain away the miracle.
But the miracle is necessary for our salvation. If the Holy Spirit had not "come upon" Mary, and Jesus had a "normal" human birth, He would not have been divine and thus not perfect. Had he not been perfect, Christ could not have supplied the consummate Sacrifice for our sins. If both His parents had been human beings, He would not have been sinless.
Hebrews 9:13-15 (RSV) The blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkled on those who are ceremonially unclean sanctify them so that they are outwardly clean. How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God! For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance--now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant.
Without the miracle of the Virgin Birth, Christ would simply be a "good" human being with very human parents. And his mother Mary, in fact, is an ordinary mortal like the rest of us. Though some people have been misled to believe that Mary is perfect, divine, should be prayed to etc. - there is no Biblical evidence for any of this. However, the "natural father" of Jesus is God; he is the offspring of the Holy Spirit. With the combination of a human mother and a divine Father, Jesus is our perfect Savior: As a human (Philippians 2:7), he can identify with our difficulties and temptations -- and yet He is Himself without sin and also has divine Omniscience.
Hebrews 4:14 (RSV) For we have not a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.
So we have the assurance of knowing that there is always Someone who truly understands us completely and yet is qualified to be our Savior.