Summary: The virgin birth is not just an option to be considered indeed what we need to understand is that the Virgin Birth rests on the “great divide” that separates those who believe the Bible is God’s Word, and those who don’t.
The Reality of the Virgin Birth
We live in a day of Oprah-style “cafeteria religion,” people believe that they can just pick and choose what to believe they say, “I’ll have some of this, but I don’t want any of that. I don’t like that.” They pick and choose what suits their fancy, as if they are free to take whatever they like from the Christian faith and disregard the rest. According to this view, it really doesn’t matter what you believe as long as you’re tolerate and accepting toward others, no matter what they believe.
Jesus once asked the Pharisees a question about Himself that men have asked in every generation since. “What do you think about the Christ…whose son is He?” (Matthew 22:42) The question for us today is, “How important is it that we believe in the Virgin Birth of Jesus?” Doubts about Jesus’ birth are not new, if you go all the way back to the gospel accounts, you can find hints here and there that even in Jesus’ lifetime, there were rumors about his unusual birth and some people thought He was illegitimate. In John 8:41 the enemies of the Lord make the statement, “We were not born of fornication.” That slander has been repeated across the generations down to the present day. In 1970 (Sept. 11 issue), Christianity Today published a survey that revealed that the virgin birth is denied by 60 percent of Methodists, 49 percent of Presbyterians, 44 percent of Episcopalians, 34 percent of American Baptists, and 19 percent of American Lutherans. I think that we can safely assume that those numbers have not improved with age! It seems that every decade or so the world feels led to attack the person of Jesus, but it is not His humanity that they attack it is His divinity.
There are a few things we should establish about belief in the virgin birth. First, it is clearly taught in the Bible. Isaiah prophesied it 700 years before Christ’s birth (Isa. 7:14). Matthew and Luke explicitly included it in their gospels. And secondly, it has been universally believed. In fact until the last 150 years, few people challenged this teaching. With the rise of liberal Christianity, some theologians have attacked this doctrine as a fanciful superstition, or they have branded it a legend created to make Jesus seem divine, or they have said the church borrowed a pagan myth or a Jewish tradition, or they have declared that the silence of the New Testament outside of Matthew and Luke regarding the Virgin Birth must mean that either it doesn’t matter or it didn’t happen.
It is certain, that is which is genuine Satan will counterfeit. Critics say that the virgin birth is just a myth similar to other ancient myths; there are virgin birth myths in Greek, Assyrian, Egyptian and Chinese religions. One legend even claims Buddha was conceived by an elephant. But fraudulent claims do not diminish the real; one does not counterfeit that which is not valuable. It’s not surprising that Satan would invent many such counterfeit stories to confuse and cloud the facts surrounding the birth of the Savior.
The virgin birth is not just an option to be considered indeed what we need to understand is that the Virgin Birth rests on the “great divide” that separates those who believe the Bible is God’s Word, and those who don’t. James Montgomery Boice states it well when he wrote, “Christianity is not just a collection of random truths, any of which could be dropped with little harm. It is truth, and truth is a whole. Conseq-uently, a slackening at any point to drop this doctrine or that doctrine, even though we cannot see at the time how it will affect the rest, it nevertheless does affect the rest! And Christianity and ourselves are the poorer for the loss. What we want to ask ourselves is; Does the Word of God teach this truth? For if it does; we want to believe it and turn to God for increased understanding.” [James Montgomery Boice. The Christ of Christmas (Chicago: Moody Press, 1983) p. 51]
Matthew was one of the original twelve disciples and we can assume that his source was either Jesus or Mary. Luke states that he made a careful investigation of the facts and talked with eyewitnesses (Luke 1:1-4). As I stated last week as we examined the genealogy of Jesus in Matthew. The indication of the unusual birth of Jesus found in when Matthew gets to Joseph (v. 16) there he changes from so and so begot so and so and states that Joseph was “the husband of Mary, by whom Jesus was born.” The “whom” is feminine in Greek, showing that Joseph was not the physical father of Jesus.