FREE ebook: Getting Through the Storms of Life

 

Why was Jesus Born from a Virgin? Does it Matter?

Why did it matter that Mary was a Virgin when she birthed Christ? Discover the meaning and significance of Jesus' birth then and now.
Christianity.com Editorial Staff
Why was Jesus Born from a Virgin? Does it Matter?

Birth of Jesus Bible Story

Roughly 2,000 years ago a young woman from the town of Nazareth named Mary was visited by an angel named Gabriel. Gabriel told the Jewish woman that she would have a son named Jesus and that he would be the Son of God. At this time, Mary was engaged to her soon-to-be husband Joseph. When told Joseph he was hurt and confused because he did not believe Mary. The angel Gabriel visited Joseph and told him that Mary would be pregnant from the Lord and that she would have a son named Jesus who would save the people from their sins. 

The Birth of Jesus Foretold - Luke 1:26-38

"In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.” Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 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.” “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?” The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. For no word from God will ever fail.” “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her."

Why did Mary’s Virginity Matter?

The virgin birth—like Jesus' resurrection from the dead—ranks as one of the Bible's more amazing miracles. Many people reject the idea outright, while others shrug it off as nonessential to their understanding of the Savior. But a person can't believe the Word of God while rejecting its claim that the Lord was born to a virgin.

Scripture is emphatic about the nature of Jesus' unusual conception. It is mentioned in both the Old Testament and the Gospels. In Genesis 3:15, God warned the serpent that enmity would exist between Eve's seed and his. The choice of words is meant to catch the reader's attention since a woman does not have "seed." Later, through Isaiah, God speaks a clear prophecy: "Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son" (Isaiah 7:14).

When Matthew recorded Jesus' genealogy, he crafted a sentence that paid tribute to Mary—not Joseph—as Jesus' biological parent (Matthew 1:16). Then, Luke's gospel relates Mary's encounter with the angel Gabriel, who explained that the Holy Spirit would place God's Son in her womb (Matthew 1:35). The heavenly Father saw to it that the biblical writers gave an accurate account of this awesome event.

Simply stated, rejecting the virgin birth is the equivalent of calling God a liar. The Bible is His revealed Word (2 Timothy 3:15). Suggesting one portion is false places the whole document under suspicion. Therefore, in answer to the question posed in the devotion's title, yes, belief in the virgin birth does matter.

Understanding the Virgin Birth

Does it matter if we accept the virgin birth as truth? Whatever the Word of God proclaims - and the virgin birth is emphatically acknowledged throughout Scripture - Christians are to believe it. We are not free to pick and choose which portions of the Bible we will believe or interpret for our own benefit.

We do not have to fully understand the virgin birth in order to be saved. Certainly, I did not comprehend that idea or many other scriptural concepts when I was saved at twelve years of age. I just knew I was a sinner and wanted Jesus in my life. But there is a difference between being ignorant or uneducated and deliberately rejecting Scripture's testimony about who Jesus was. When a person dismisses the Jesus presented to us in the Word of God, he cannot be saved.

People who deny the truth of the virgin birth also reject other foundational truths in the Bible. Some find it more comfortable to select the parts of Scripture that suit their lifestyle or opinions rather than to apply the entire Word of God to their life. When we limit which passages we will consider true, our susceptibility to Satan's lies grows. We drift further and further from the narrow path of obedience to God.

To believe in the Jesus of the Bible is to accept Him as the virgin-born Son of God - the sinless Christ who gave His life at Calvary in order to take our sin upon Himself. Our freedom is greater when we accept God's truth instead of fighting for own opinions.

The Need for a Virgin Birth: God’s Divinity

Jesus Christ did not have His beginning in Bethlehem. John 1:1 says, "In the beginning was the Word (Jesus). And the Word was with God, and the Word was God." Jesus was the One Who spoke the world into existence. And then God translated deity into humanity. That little baby in a manger is the great God Who created the universe. The little baby of Luke two is the great God of Genesis one. God became flesh.

You may say, "I don't understand that." Well, I'd be ashamed of you if you said you did understand it. None of us understand it. You see, the miracle of the ages is the virgin conception of the Lord Jesus Christ.

But you don't have to understand it to believe it. If you have difficulty believing in the virgin birth, you really have difficulty believing in God. Why would you have difficulty believing that a child could come into this world without an earthly father when God made the first woman and the first man out of nothing?

If you doubt the virgin birth, you really have difficulty with ...

  • the character of the Word of God — The Word of God plainly teaches that Jesus was born of a virgin.

  • the character of Mary — If Jesus were not born of a virgin, Mary was a harlot and conceived out of wedlock.

  • the character of Jesus — If Jesus were not born of a virgin, He was a descendant of Adam, and "in Adam, all die" (see 1 Corinthians 15:22).

  • You see, if there were no virgin birth, there would be no sinless Christ. No sinless Christ ... no atonement. No atonement ... no forgiveness. No forgiveness ... no hope of heaven. No hope of heaven ... we would all die and go to hell. Thank God for the virgin birth. If you take away the virgin birth, the whole house of Christianity collapses like a house of cards.

Should We Believe in the Virgin Birth of Jesus?

Below is a transcription of the video above, in which Brandon Crowe answers the question: Why Do Christians Continue to Believe in the Virgin Birth of Jesus?

Why do Christians continue to believe in the virgin birth of Christ? Can this view be maintained today? There are a number of objections that could be raised against it. You could think of the scientific objection, those who say that it's simply not scientifically possible. We should ask here what can science do? What can science verify and what can science not verify? I think at its core, science deals with observable phenomena and seeks to describe them and explain them.

Science doesn't quite have the ability to go beyond what is observable. What I mean is this. Science doesn't have the ability to test whether a baby in the womb has been conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit. Science has no way to measure this. When we're dealing with supernatural claims like this one there's only so far that science can take us. There are certain things that science simply has not the ability to measure or to gage.

The other thing is sometimes people think that today in our age we are more scientifically advanced, which we are than the first-century world. That doesn't mean that they did not understand how babies were born. They were well aware of how babies were conceived and the virgin birth is not something that they would have come up with simply when something strange happened. This would've been completely surprising to those in the first century.

There were no other examples of virgin births and no reason for the early Christians to make this up if this is not the way that it happened. Some might think that this was a mythological addition to the Christian faith or something that was embellished over time, but when we look at other somewhat similar things in mythology, most all of them seem to assume some sort of a physical union of a god perhaps with a woman. This is not what we find in Christianity. The accounts are very simple, very understated, and very simply stated that this happened through the power of the Holy Spirit.

The other thing in relation to that is this was a belief that arose very early in Christianity. Already by the beginning of the second century just a couple of generations after the apostles began their ministries, we already find this to be an established belief in the church. We can look at church leaders like Ignatius of Antioch or Irenaeus, and we can see that this is already in the early-mid and certainly very clearly by the later part of the second century and established Christian belief, one that we don't see any signs of development, but a belief that seems to have been there from the very beginning.

Of all the objections that can be raised to the virgin birth, we should point to the truthfulness of scriptures showing us that this was surprising to those in the first century. It would've been a hard thing for Mary to believe  or a hard thing for Joseph to believe, but they trusted what God said by faith because it was an amazing thing for God to speak into this world and not just to speak but to send his own son. In fact, it was the most remarkable thing that had happened in human history to that point. 

Should we not expect maybe something amazing to happen when God the Son comes to earth and takes the form of a child to rescue his people? This was a statement that was surprising to Mary and to Joseph and one that took faith on their part to believe. That's the same message that confronts us today and the same response as called for by us is a call of faith to believe that God has sent his Son in a supernatural way to redeem us from sin.

Sources/Excerpts

Birth of Jesus - Bible Story from BibleStudyTools.com

Do We Have to Understand the Virgin Birth? by Charles Stanley

The Need for a Virgin Birth? by Greg Laurie

The Virgin Birth: Does It Matter? by Charles Stanley

Why Did We Need a Virgin Birth in Bethlehem? by Adrian Rodgers

Photo by JUAN CARLOS LEVA from Pexels


Originally published August 22, 2019.