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How important is it that Jesus was born of a virgin? Is this just a “take-it-or-leave-it” detail of the Christmas story, or is it a critical piece to the plan of God’s redemption?
Some in the church question whether or not Jesus was really born of a virgin. It is the same school of thought that doubts the validity of the Bible as God’s Word, and dismisses the miracles recorded in the Bible as mere legend.
But the fact is, the virgin birth matters. In fact, without the virgin birth there could be no salvation.
The Bible Teaches It
First, it is absolutely clear that the Bible teaches the virgin birth.
Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit.
So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.”
There are other Scriptures we could look at in Luke’s gospel, but even in these few short verses we see that Mary was a virgin when she conceived the Son of God in her womb by the Holy Spirit. This was a fulfillment of what was spoken by Isaiah the prophet many years before.
But why is this important to God’s plan of salvation?
Below are two aspects about Jesus that make the virgin birth necessary.
1. Jesus had to Come as a Man
To be the savior of mankind, Jesus had to come as a man. This is true for various reasons:
1. To represent mankind before God, he had to be a man.
2. Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sin (see Hebrews 9:22). Jesus had to have flesh and blood to provide atonement for sin.
3. Authority over the earth was originally given to man in the Garden of Eden. To recover what the devil had taken, it would take a man.
4. In order to be able to relate to mankind in our weaknesses and temptations, Jesus became a man.
Jesus came to the earth as the Word made flesh (see John 1:14). He condescended to take on the form of a human being; a helpless baby. This shows the extent of God’s desire to relate to us.
2. Jesus had to be Perfect
To be an acceptable sacrifice to God, Jesus had to be without blemish. This is where the virgin birth comes into play. Because He was born of the Holy Spirit, Jesus was not born of the seed of Adam. He therefore was not infected with the sinful nature that came into the world at the Fall.
If Jesus would have been born the natural way, He would not have been the perfect Son of God. He would have had the same sinful nature that everybody else had, and His blood would not have had the power to cleanse, forgive, and save.
So, the virgin birth is not a side note that can be ignored. It is not something that can be pushed aside as myth. It is critical to the plan of salvation!
To summarize: Jesus had to be a man; therefore He had to be born. Jesus had to be perfect; therefore He had to be born of a virgin. Because Jesus had to be a perfect man, the virgin birth was necessary.
Take time this Christmas to ponder the miracle of the virgin birth. And remember God’s love in sending His Son to this dark world to bring light and salvation!