Summary: Belief in the virgin birth of Jesus is fundamental to all doctrines of the atonement. A Christmas sermon.
“Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows. When His mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child by the Holy Spirit. And Joseph her husband, being a righteous man, and not wanting to disgrace her, desired to put her away secretly. But when he had considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, ‘Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for that which has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. And she will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for it is He who will save His people from their sins.’ Now all this took place that what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet might be fulfilled, saying, ‘BEHOLD, THE VIRGIN SHALL BE WITH CHILD, AND SHALL BEAR A SON, AND THEY SHALL CALL HIS NAME IMMANUEL,’ which translated means, ‘God with us.’ And Joseph arose from his sleep, and did as the angel of the Lord commanded him, and took her as his wife, and kept her a virgin until she gave birth to a Son’ and he called His name Jesus.”
It is Luke, the physician and historian, who gives us the details. The gospels of Mark and John are silent on the birth of Christ and the events surrounding it; not because the writers didn’t know the facts, necessarily, but because their aim in writing was different from either Luke’s or Matthew’s.
We can be very grateful to Luke for his meticulous compilation of facts and then documenting them for us. It is from his gospel that we get the great stories. The angelic visit to Zacharias, prophesying the birth of his son, who we know as John the Baptist. And the visit to Mary is there for us also. Then Joseph’s inner struggle and the reassuring vision he received in the night, and Mary’s visit to Elizabeth. Then John’s birth, and finally the touching and telling story of the birth of Jesus at Bethlehem.
All this and more, is under the surface and between the lines of Matthew’s brief documentation of just the facts.
No dialogue, no delving into the angst of Joseph or the doubt of Zacharias or the wonder of Mary or the rejoicing of Elizabeth.
Just the facts. But what important facts he gave; becoming increasingly important to God’s church in the world during these last days when so many are straying from the faith and following after unsound doctrine.
As I said, all these other events that were handed down from the pen of Luke are taking place, so to speak, in this period of time eluded to by Matthew, between Mary’s betrothal to Joseph and the birth of Jesus.
But the strength of Matthew’s narrative from the beginning of this passage of our study to the end, is the clear and undeniable declaration and establishment of Mary’s virginity.
“…before they came together…” “…that which has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit…” Then there is the application of the quotation from Isaiah, revealing that his words from so long ago were for this moment in time and they were about to be made manifest.
Finally, “...and took her as his wife, and kept her a virgin until she gave birth to a Son…”