Why Is Belief In The Virgin Birth Of Jesus Important?
The vast majority of the information Scripture provides us about Mary is in connection with the birth of Jesus. Besides the Christ child himself, Mary is the central figure in the nativity story. It was to Mary that the angel Gabriel appeared, announcing that, though she was a virgin, she would give birth to a son whom they were to call Jesus (Lk. 1:26-35); and it was Mary who responded to that life shaking news with trust and surrender, saying, “I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word” (Lk. 1:38). As a result, Mary, and her role in the birth of Jesus, has been the topic of numerous debates that seem to get recharged every year around this time.
One such issue is particularly difficult for contemporary people. Our skepticism and naturalistic view of the world makes it difficult to believe that Mary was a virgin when she gave birth to Jesus. Unbelievers have always dismissed this claim, but in recent years many who identify themselves as Christians have discarded this doctrine as unnecessary to the Christian faith. It is my conviction, however, that besides being clearly taught by the authoritative word of God, this truth is foundational to our faith and we cannot discard it without discarding the message of the gospel itself.
The gospel of Luke tells us that Mary had difficulty believing it too. When the angel told her what God was about to do, she asked what probably most of us would ask in her situation, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?” Gabriel’s answer is key. He explained that the power of God himself would come over her and by this means, the child she was to give birth to would not be the son of a man, but the son of God (Lk. 1:34-35). This claim, that the parentage of Jesus was both human, containing all the DNA of his mother Mary, and divine, containing all the fullness of God himself (Col. 2:9), provides us with vital assurance that Jesus is able to do just what he claimed he could do: save us from sin and reconcile us to God. Because he is a human being, he could represent us as one of us, and give himself on our behalf as a sacrifice to atone for our sin. Because our sin was against God, only God could forgive us; and because Jesus is God he was able to do what only God could do: pronounce the sacrifice of Jesus sufficient and cancel the record of debt that stood against us (Col. 2:14).
What I personally find more astounding than the miracle of the virgin birth, is that the fullness of God would be entrusted, first to the womb and then to the care of a girl in her early teens!; that he who is Life itself would be given birth to!; that the eternal Spirit would be joined to human flesh! And all for us! Because of love for such as us!
Pastor Jon EnrightDecember 1, 2018