Christmas Fundamentals: The Virgin Birth

At some point in your Christmas celebrations you may read the Gospel of Matthew’s account of Christ’s birth. Matthew 1 declares a truth vital to our understanding of the birth and nature of Jesus. “Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.” (Matthew 1:22-23) The essential truth is that Jesus was born of a virgin. Christ has no human father. Luke’s account emphasizes this fact as well. In that passage, the angel who tells Mary she will have a son. She responds by asking how it is possible since she had never had sexual relations with any man. Mary states what Matthew proclaims and Isaiah prophecies- Jesus has no human father. This fact is fundamental to our faith.

The virgin birth is vital to the Bible’s claim that Jesus is the Messiah. If Jesus was not born of a virgin he would be just another unknown Hebrew who died in ignominy. Jesus was born to die on the cross and be the sacrifice for our sins. To be this sacrifice Christ had to be completely sinless. Jesus never lied, He never gossiped, He never disobeyed, He was never selfish, He never had a temper tantrum or a bad attitude. However, it is not enough that Jesus never committed a single sin. He had to be born without sin. Psalms 51:5 says “Behold, I was shapen in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.” At the very moment of conception, every child is declared sinful and guilty. Romans 5:12-19 indicates that sin was passed down from Adam. The sin nature is passed from father to child from generation to generation. Every person is born in sin. The father that passes the sin nature to the child. For Jesus to be born without sin, He had to be born without a human father.

Most importantly, Jesus had to be born of a virgin to be the Son of God. If Jesus was the son of any man, even a good man like Joseph, then he was not the Son of God. From the earliest days this truth has been disputed and maligned. First century temple writings dismiss Jesus as an illegitimate child. The early opposers to Christianity realized that if Jesus was truly born of a virgin, then He was something far greater than they could accept, He was their Messiah. Throughout the ministry of Jesus, He claimed to be the Son of God. In the days before His death Jesus made promises and statements to His disciples that only God could make. During His trial He claimed to be God. After His resurrection He promised to one day return as King. The claims of Jesus were claims only a God can accomplish. The disciples beleived Jesus is God. The remainder of the New Testament is built on the truth that Jesus is God. All of Christianity is founded on that wonderful truth. The virgin birth proves Jesus is God.

If Jesus was not born of the virgin then He was not God and Christianity is is a lie. If Jesus was not born of the virgin then the Old Testament was wrong and the Bible is untrue. If Jesus was not born of the virgin then He was corrupted by sin and His sacrifice was not sinless. The virgin birth of Jesus is essential to the faith. The virgin birth is essential to our celebration of Christmas. Because the baby in the manger is also the Son of God who became perfect sacrifice for sin, we have reason to celebrate. Rejoice this season, for the Holy child born of Mary is the Son of God.