Summary: Part 2 of 2 in series "Why a Virgin?" This involves theological and practical reasons why Jesus had to be born of a virgin.
Matthew 1:18-25 – Round Yon Virgin Mother and Child
Pastor Ben Patterson tells the following story:
My 5-year-old niece, Olivia, and her best friend, Claire, were participating in a nativity play at school. Claire was playing Mary, and Olivia was an angel. Before the show, a young boy was going around the dressing room repeating, "I’m a sheep, what are you?" Each child responded politely, including Olivia, who proudly declared she was an angel.
The boy then turned to Claire, still struggling into her costume with her mother’s help, and repeated the question to her: "I’m a sheep, what are you?"
Claire simply said, "I’m Mary."
Realizing he was face to face with a lead character, he felt he needed to justify his own role. "It’s hard being a sheep, you know," he said with all the seriousness of a 5-year-old actor with a big part.
Claire’s equally serious response was humorously profound. "Yes," said Claire innocently, "but it’s also hard being a virgin, you know."
Last week we began looking at a 2-week series on why Jesus was born of a virgin? Why did the virgin birth matter? Last week we looked at the Virgin Birth as fulfillment of prophecy. It was prophesied in the OT that the Messiah would be of a woman but not of a man. It was also prophesied that the Messiah would come from the right lineage. Jesus fulfilled these by being born of Mary.
Well, tonight we are looking at what difference this makes for us. Why does it matter that Jesus was born of a virgin? I don’t want to limit God by saying that there was no other way for Him to bring Jesus into the world. Likely God could have done it another way. But why did He do it this way? Is this way the best way? Probably.
There are a few things that I want to look at tonite. This is a smorgasbord of reasons why God chose a virgin to bring Jesus into the world. I want to look at several things under 3 categories. The categories are: 1) Safeguards - that is, what did the Virgin birth protect? What essential truths did it keep secure? 2) Symbols – that is, what can the Virgin Birth show us about other truths that God wants us to understand? And 3) Sanctification – that is, what did the Virgin birth sanctify, or make holy? What did the Virgin birth bring value and worth to? What can we see is important, in light of what the Virgin birth stood for?
Well, 1) safeguards. What did the Virgin birth protect? What essential truths did it keep secure? We can see that the Virgin Birth acted as a safeguard, a protection, an insulation of 3 attributes of Jesus. The 1st attribute of Jesus that the Virgin birth safeguarded was His deity. You see, Jesus was God. That’s what deity means. Jesus was God. God is God, but He displays Himself in ways to help us understand His nature.
And He reveals Himself to us as God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Jesus is God the Son, and the Son of God. He is both. John 1:1 says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” The passage goes on the say that the Word is Jesus. So, Jesus was with God, and Jesus was God.
John 1:14 says that, “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.” The Word, Jesus, lived with us. Jesus, the Son of God, became flesh – human. Now, how could God become human? If Jesus had been born of Mary and Joseph, there would have been 2 human parents, so how then could Jesus have been God? How could He have been God with 2 human parents?
You see, thing begets thing. Elephant begets elephant. Lion begets lion. Sea turtle begets sea turtle. Human begets human. And God begets God. That’s how the Son of God could be God – because God begets God. That’s how Jesus could be God. Because God begets God. And that’s also how Jesus could be human. Because human, Mary, begets human. This doesn’t happen if Joseph were the father. The Virgin Birth safeguards Jesus’ deity.
In the same breath, the 2nd attribute of Jesus that the Virgin birth safeguarded was His pre-existence. Now, I don’t know exactly how pre-existence works – that is, how long a soul is in existence before it enters a fetus. I don’t know about all that, and I don’t care to speculate. But I do know that Jesus was around before Mary ever knew anything.
John 8:58 says: "I tell you the truth," Jesus answered, "before Abraham was born, I am!" That means that Jesus applied the age-old name of God, YAHWEH, commonly called Jehovah in English, to Himself. He was saying that He was God, long before Abraham was around.