Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Christmas Reflections...The Virgin Birth




Then Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I do not know a man?”   And the angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God.   Now indeed, Elizabeth your relative has also conceived a son in her old age; and this is now the sixth month for her who was called barren. For with God nothing will be impossible.”  Then Mary said, “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her. - Luke 1:34-38

Only through the virgin birth…do you have a Messiah, a Savior.  If Jesus was merely the product of human conception…He was merely a sinful man. 

For unbelievers, the virgin birth is a hurdle…something that is too hard to believe.  For liberal Christians…it’s an area that they have willingly compromised for they don’t believe in the inerrancy of scripture. 

From before His conception and birth…God prophesied that Jesus was the Son of God.  Born of a woman, but conceived through the power of the Holy Spirit.  In the Old Testament Hebrew Scriptures we see prophesies of the virgin born Messiah. 

     And I will put enmity
     Between you and the woman,
     And between your seed and her Seed;
     He shall bruise your head,
     And you shall bruise His heel.” – Genesis 3:15


Women do not have a seed.  A virgin cannot give birth unless God miraculously intervenes.  God has only done this once in human history.

Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.  Isaiah 7:14
 
The Jews knew from scripture that the Messiah would come from the line of David. 

“And your house and your kingdom shall be established forever before you.  Your throne shall be established forever.” – 2 Samuel 7:12-16

The fact that Jesus claimed to be from the line of David wasn’t in dispute.  In Jesus day the records still existed that could trace back His lineage back to King David.  It was because Jesus claimed to be God that the Jewish religious leaders wanted to kill Him.

Now it was the Feast of Dedication in Jerusalem, and it was winter.  And Jesus walked in the temple, in Solomon’s porch.  Then the Jews surrounded Him and said to Him, “How long do You keep us in doubt? If You are the Christ, tell us plainly.”  Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in My Father’s name, they bear witness of Me.  But you do not believe, because you are not of My sheep, as I said to you.  My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand.  My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand. I and My Father are one.”  Then the Jews took up stones again to stone Him.  Jesus answered them, “Many good works I have shown you from My Father. For which of those works do you stone Me?”  The Jews answered Him, saying, “For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy, and because You, being a Man, make Yourself God.”  – John 10:22-30

It’s amazing and beyond our comprehension to think that a virgin will give birth.  Women do not have a seed.  Virgins do not have babies.  Unless God miraculously intervenes a virgin cannot give birth.  Even Mary was amazed at what the angel told her.  Mary response confirms that she is a virgin.  “How can this be, since I do not know a man?” – Luke 1: 34

There have been other miraculous conceptions in the Bible.  Starting with Abraham and Sarah.  Like Zacharias and Elizabeth, their bodies were as good as dead.  Unless God preformed a miracle, they would not have had a child.  Samuel’s birth to Hannah was a miracle.  Unless God had opened her womb she would have remained childless.

But Jesus conception is the only one that was both miraculous and divine.  Jesus was born of a women, by the power of the Highest.  Jesus is the Son of God and Son of Man.  Only the sinless Son of God could pay the price for our sin. 

Mary was a humble willing servant.  Unlike Zacharias, Mary did not doubt the angel Gabriel’s good news.  Perhaps her question was filled with wonder and amazement.  Wonder at how God would accomplish this miraculous work and amazement that God saw fit to choose her.
 
We can learn something from Mary’s response.  After the angel confirmed that she would become pregnant when the Holy Spirit came upon her and overshadowed her, she responded with willing obedient belief. 

Then Mary said, “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her. – Luke 1:38


Mary didn’t quake with fear.  She didn’t take into account the inconvenience that would result as she would soon be pregnant, and not yet wed.  She didn’t worry about what family and friends might say and that she might face rejection by the one to whom she was betrothed.  Mary believed God. 

Oh the goodness of the Lord.  The angel Gabriel shared that not only would Mary bear a Son…but that her relative Elizabeth was pregnant despite her advanced age and barrenness.  Someone to whom she could go and share the wonder of what God was doing.  Someone who would believe her and encourage her faith. 
 
Can you imagine Mary’s thoughts when the angel departed?  Did it seem like a dream?  Was her heart beating fast?  Was her face flushed with excitement?  When did the Holy Spirit come upon her and overshadow her?  Was her heart bursting with joy, wonder and amazement?

How do I react when God wants to use me?  Am I a willing servant?  Or do I count the cost to me personally?  Do I remember God is sovereign in all things?  Do I trust Him to go before me and work out all the details?  Do I truly believe that nothing is impossible with God? 

Have I received Jesus Christ, the Son of God as my Lord and Savior?  Is it His birth I celebrate this Christmas?
 



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