Summary: A message on the Virgin Birth of Jesus
"Born of a What?"
SERIES: Who is This Jesus? Advent 2000
©December 17, 2000 by Rev. Bruce Goettsche
It is not uncommon when you get a group of mothers together that they begin telling the stories about the birth of their children. There are horror stories of labor that lasted for days. There are the seemingly unbelievable stories of how babies just seemed to magically appear with barely any effort. There are stories of crisis births and the panic, pain, relief or devastation that followed. You will hear about pregnancies that are artificially brought to pass by fertilizing an egg outside of the womb and then putting it back in the womb until delivery. There are those who point to fertility drugs as they means of "getting pregnant". . .but no matter how wild the stories, no one has a story like Mary the Mother of Jesus.
Mary was a teenager engaged to be married to a man named Joseph. One day an angel appeared to Mary and told her she was going to have a baby. Mary (she may have been young, but not stupid) commented on the fact that she was not sexually active and was not married. The angel knew this information. He said that Mary was going to become pregnant in a unique way. She would be pregnant by God’s Spirit. She would be pregnant even though she was not and had not been involved with a man.
Did you know that there is an entire area of science that deals with "virgin births" or births that do not involve a male and a female? This process is called parthenogenesis (which means "self genesis"). Parthenogenesis is the study of the growth of an organism from an unfertilized cell. The name comes from the Greek word "parthenos" which is the word used in the Bible to describe Mary. John MacArthur reports,
Laboratory experiments have revealed that in some cases parthenogenetic life can be generated in some animals. Among honeybees, for example, the unfertilized eggs develop naturally into drones.
Artificial parthenogenesis has been used to produce silkworms since 1888. Many forms of invertebrates and plants may be reproduced fairly easily through parthenogenesis. In recent years frogs and rabbits have been reproduced by parthenogenesis in laboratory experiments.
But parthenogenesis can reproduce only genetically identical species. Frog eggs, for example, might be stimulated to develop by parthenogenesis into living frogs, but all of them will be female frogs genetically identical to the mother who laid the eggs. Also, parthenogenesis, cloning, and other experimental forms of reproduction have all proved impossible on the human level.
Even in the face of modern science, Christ’s conception remains unique. Science can never explain how a virgin, a woman who had never had a sexual relationship with a man, could give birth to a male child. It was a miracle of God, the greatest miracle of conception the world has ever known. (MacArthur, GOD WITH US p. 44-45)
But not everyone believes in the Virgin birth of Jesus. If any of you watched the "investigative report" by Peter Jennings on the Historical Jesus that aired some time ago, you may have been surprised at how easily the so-called "scholars" dismissed this claim to a virgin birth. What is even more surprising is the fact that many of the scholars were theologians! I’m saddened to report that a recent statistic that said 56% of Seminary students do not believe in the Virgin Birth.
So, is it true? Does it matter? And if so, what about those who claim "it isn’t so." This morning we are going to look at this issue. We will look at the importance of the doctrine, the objections to the doctrine and the lessons from the Virgin Birth.
THE IMPORTANCE OF THE VIRGIN BIRTH
The Bible teaches that Mary was a Virgin when she became pregnant.
This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit. Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly . . . . When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. But he had no union with her until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus. [Matthew 1:18-19,24-25]
In Luke we read,
In the sixth month, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.” . . .“How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?” The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. [Luke 1:26-28, 34-35]