The Virgin Birth
Topic: Incarnation Verse: Luke 1:34–1:38
“THE VIRGIN BIRTH”
Theme: The Virgin Birth is fundamental of all Christian Doctrines.
- Bibliology: The clear statements of Scripture would be false, demonstrating that the Bible as we know it is untrustworthy; if wrong about the virgin birth, what else is incorrect?
- Theology: The doctrine of the Trinity is at stake as is the competence of God to communicate with us; the prophetic ability of God would be damaged greatly given the multiple promises of “God with Us.”
- Christology: Clearly, the doctrine of Christ would be radically altered if there were no virgin birth; Christ would necessarily possess a sinful nature.
- Pneumatology: The Holy Spirit’s role as the one who overshadowed the humanity of Mary and through His own power caused the conception of Christ would be negated.
- Anthropology/Hamartiology: The doctrines of man and sin would be forever supreme and unalterable as there would be no one who could deliver us.
- Soteriology: There would be no vicarious atonement provided for us as Jesus would not have qualified to take our place; hence, sin would remain
- Ecclesiology: Jesus would not be qualified to serve as the Head of the Church, since that role is bestowed upon Him through the purchase with His own blood. If He is not virgin born, there would be no ability to purchase us from the power of sin.
- Eschatology: If Jesus did not “come” at the 1st Advent, there is no ability to think that there will be a 2nd Advent and our hope of His “return” is vain.
The Purity of the Virgin Birth – Luke 1:34
A. It Is Inconceivable
- In the previous section, we looked at the message that Gabriel gave to Mary re: the grace that God had extended to Mary, that demonstrated that her sin had been forgiven through her faith in the promised Redeemer.
- She was initially fearful that Gabriel had come in judgment – and had to be assured that instead of being judged, she had been forgiven.
- The message that he gave to her was that it would be through her that God would fulfill that promise and provide the Messiah – cp. Luke 1:31-33
- Mary clearly believes that the Gabriel’s message is credible – that is, she believes that she will give birth of the Son of the Most High who would be the Messiah – who would sit upon the “throne of His father David …”
- She also recognizes that this is something that is happening immediately – not something in the distant future.
- She displays this by asking about means – “Mary said to the angel, ‘How can this be, since I am a virgin?’”
- She was aware enough to realize that Gabriel was NOT talking about a natural conception through the normal relations between a man and a woman.
B. It Is Innocent
- Mary’s statement: “… since I am a virgin” – demonstrates that her moral integrity was untainted.
- This statement literally reads: “since I am not knowing a man” [ἐπεί ἄνδρα οὐ γινώσκω]– her chastity and virtue were in tact!
- This is a powerful commentary on the virtue of her conduct in relation to Joseph and a testimony to the prize that she was; she was carefully “possessing her vessel in sanctification and honor” as a faithful believer in God and His Word.
- The accusations that swirled around Mary in her town of Nazareth and that became a national scandal after Jesus’ ministry gained attention were among the most unfair and inappropriate of any accusation that has ever been made against anyone – cp. John 8:39-41.
The Power of the Virgin Birth – Luke 1:35
A. It Is a Work of God
- Gabriel continues to respond to Mary’s inquiry as to how God was going to make this marvelous promise happen.
- We’re told that “the angel answered ad said to her, ‘The holy spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you …’”
- Every aspect of this conception was a work of God – from start to finish.
- He determined the fullness of time, He determined who the maiden would be, He determined when conception would occur and the means that would be used.
- First, “the Holy Spirit will come upon you …” – a reference to the valuable work of the Holy Spirit
- The important work of the Holy Spirit as revealed through the preaching and teaching by the Apostle Paul enables Luke to emphasize the role of the Holy Spirit here and throughout the life of Christ.
- Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit, anointed by the Spirit, led by the Spirit, filled with the Spirit, empowered by the Spirit and was raised by the Spirit – cp. Luke 3:21-22; 4:1, 14; 10:21
- Second, “… and the power of the Most High will overshadow you …” [ἐπισκιάζω] - a reference to casting a shadow; to cover with darkness – cp. Luke 9:34; cp. Genesis 1:2.
- Once again, the creative power of the Holy Spirit would provide great glory to the Father.
B. It Is a Witness to God
- The result of the Holy Spirit’s work would be the exaltation of the child for two reasons:
- First, Jesus would be a holy child – “For that reason the holy Child shall be called …” (1) Every other child ever born was born a sinner – from conception. (2) The only way that Jesus could be born without sin would be the virgin birth. (3) Because He had no earthly, physical father, he did not inherit from Adam any form of original sin; that is, Jesus did not have a sin nature, but his human nature, received from His mother was without sin. (4) This does NOT require that Mary was sinless, but merely recognizes that the sin nature is passed not through the mother, but the father – cp. Romans 5:12. (5) Therefore, the virgin birth is absolutely fundamental to the Christian faith; without it, Jesus cannot be without sin.
- Second, Jesus would be the Son of God – “… called the Son of God.” (1) Instead of having a human father, Jesus was the “Son of God.” (2) Since God was His Father, Jesus was fully divine – Hebrews 1:3; John 1:14
- Hence, the virgin birth serves as the witness to the work of God in the birth of Christ who Himself was God.
The Plausibility of the Virgin Birth – Luke 1:36-37
A. It Was Preceded by a Sign – Luke 1:36
- Never before had there been such a work of God – virgin births are quite impossible, any competent biologist will confirm.
- As the angel sees Mary’s confusion as to how these things will come about, provides her with assurance that God can do these things.
- First, Gabriel provides Mary with a testimony of the miraculous power of God by giving her the sign of her significantly older cousin, barren for decades who is now with child – “And behold, even your relative Elizabeth has also conceived a son in her old age; and she who was called barren is now in her sixth month.”
- Although not as impossible as a virgin birth, it demonstrates that God is able to do things thought at the very minimum to be improbable.
- This conception was used as a sign to Mary that God was beginning once again to perform miracles – something that had been unheard of for hundreds of years.
B. It Was Provided through Sovereignty – Luke 1:37
- This brings Gabriel to call to Mary’s attention the omnipotence of God – “for nothing will be impossible with God.”
- This is an interesting statement for literally it states: “nothing is without power from the statements made by God”
- This takes us back to the fact that the word of God is omnipotent and that none of God’s words will ever fail – cp. Genesis 18:14; Job 42:2; Zechariah 8:6; Jeremiah 32:17
- Jesus stated that “heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away” – Luke 21:33.
- God’s sovereign purposes are never over-reaches for Him – He does not have to exert and thus impossible things are effortless for Him.
The Priority of the Virgin Birth – Luke 1:38
A. It Produced Modesty
- Mary’s response to Gabriel’s instruction on the plausibility of such a virgin birth is absolute faith.
- “And Mary said, ‘Behold, the bondslave of the Lord;’ …” -
- She saw herself in a new light – no longer as someone upon whom the responsibility for this rests, but as a “bondslave” [δούλη] “of the Lord”
- Her role was clarified for her – she was a slave and thus she was only to do whatever God would command her to do and use her to do.
B. It Prioritized Meekness
- This new perspective cause her to accept fully her calling from the Lord – “… may it be done to me according to your word” – that is, what has just been spoken [ῥῆμα]
- Her perspective was now that it didn’t matter what recourse her pregnancy would bring – dismissal from engagement to Joseph, ridicule from her peers, and even potential stoning by those committed to the letter of the law.
- She meekly surrendered to the authority, and wisdom of God’s purposes and declared herself a slave to the will of God, which the godly recognize is “good, and acceptable, and perfect!”
- The ultimate result of such surrender was the blessedness that being the mother of the Messiah would bring to her.
- Seeing her meekness and surrender, Gabriel departs – “And the angel departed from her.”