Christmas is a blessed time for Christians all over the world as they gather to celebrate the joyous occasion of their Saviour’s birth. Christmas is also a time when we are reminded of God’s condescension in saving us a sinful and unworthy people through His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Our Saviour came down from Heaven and took the form of man with all the fullness of human nature in order to redeem us. Christ fulfilled God’s plan of salvation when He gave His life on the cross for us – “the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (Jn 1: 29). Thank God for the glorious redemption accomplished by our Saviour at Calvary.
When we think of our Lord Jesus Christ, His unique conception and birth comes to mind. It was unique because it was an act of God. Christ was “conceived … of the Holy Ghost” (Matt 1: 20) and born of the virgin Mary.
Bible scholar J Gresham Machen, affirms this truth: “The universal belief of the historic Christian Church is that Jesus of Nazareth was born without a human father, being conceived by the Holy Ghost, and born of the virgin Mary.”
Let us consider some Scriptural texts that support the virgin birth of Christ:
1. “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel” (Gen 3: 15).
In God’s promise of the “proto-evangel” to Adam and Eve after their fall into sin, He spoke of “her seed”, meaning the seed of the woman. In natural birth, it is normal to refer to an offspring as “his seed” rather than “her seed”. By using the term, “her seed”, the Lord God was pointing to Christ’s coming through a woman, namely, the virgin Mary.
2. “Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel” (Isa 7: 14).
The prophet Isaiah foretold of a virgin bearing a son. There is nothing supernatural about a female of child-bearing age giving birth to a baby. However, the prophecy states that “a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son”. Such a miraculous conception must be a divine act.
Interestingly, Reformer Martin Luther in defending the “virgin” view, threw a challenge on the translation of the word “almah” – “If a Jew or Christian can prove to me that in any other passage of Scripture, ‘almah’ means ‘a married woman’, I will give him a hundred florins, although God alone knows where I may find them.”
3. “Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost” (Matt 1: 18).
Mary was with child before she and Joseph “came together” as man and wife. This fact is reiterated in Matthew 1: 25: “And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son and he called his name JESUS.” Moreover, Mary’s confession to the angel in Luke 1: 34 – “I know not a man” – is an euphemism for not having had any sexual relationship with a man. In verse 35, the angel answered Mary that it would be a supernatural conception and birth: “The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.” Born of a virgin, Christ was divinely preserved from the pollution and corruption of sin.
4. “But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law” (Gal 4: 4).
In the above verse, there is no mention of a union between a man and a woman, but of God’s condescension to send “forth his Son”. Scripture adds these words – “made of a woman” which clearly point to the virgin birth.
We thank God for the virgin birth of Christ. The supernatural phenomenon of God incarnate is a mystery – that can only be understood by faith: “Through faith we understand” (Heb 11: 3a). Because He was “conceived … of the Holy Ghost”, our Lord Jesus Christ was free from the taint of sin. He is our perfect, sinless Saviour Who alone can save us from our sins.
This Christmas, let us remember the debt we owe to our Saviour Who gave His life to redeem us from the eternal fires of hell. Let us consecrate our lives fully unto the Lord, to love and serve Him till He returns for us. Wishing all a Blessed Christmas!