The Virgin Birth of Jesus Christ
“She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”)” (Mt 1:21-23)
Open your Bibles to the gospel of Matthew chapter 1 verses 21 to 23. Let’s read it together. ℗
Today is the beginning of one of the most important seasons in Christianity—Advent.
The word “Advent” is derived from the Latin word adventus, which means coming or arrival. In Christianity, Advent refers to the four-week period of preparation leading up to Christmas, the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ.
During this period, Christians remember and celebrate Jesus’ first coming 2,000 years ago and get ready for Jesus’ second coming in the future.
So during the youth worship service this morning, we decorated a Christmas tree with some ornaments that represent Jesus. And I want us to begin this season by reminding ourselves about how Jesus came into the world as a baby and what that means. So, I thought it would be good for us to talk about the virgin birth of Jesus Christ and its significance in our faith and salvation.
The Virgin Birth of Jesus Christ
The Bible says that even though Jesus was God in His nature, He became a human and was born as a baby like one of us. But there was a big difference between Jesus’ birth and ours.
Jesus was conceived through the power of the Holy Spirit and born of virgin Mary. The virgin birth of Jesus Christ is one of the essential truths of Christianity. It is included in the Apostles Creed, which is a collection of the central beliefs of Christianity.
It means that the virgin birth of Jesus Christ is much more than just a miraculous event. There are some very significant truths we can learn from the virgin birth of Jesus Christ. That’s what I want us to think about today.
Let’s first read how the angel Gabriel appeared to Mary to tell her about her pregnancy in Luke 1:30-35.
“But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.” “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?” The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on 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.” (Lk 1:30-35)
The angel told Mary that she would become pregnant through the power of the Holy Spirit. And after a few months, she conceived.
When Joseph found out that his fiancé, Mary, was pregnant, he was greatly discouraged and decided to divorce her quietly. However, Gabriel appeared to him in a dream and said,
“Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel”” (Mt 1:20-23)
Here, Joseph learned three facts about Mary’s pregnancy. First, Mary had conceived through the power of the Holy Spirit. Second, he would give the Baby the name “Jesus,” which means “the Lord saves,” because He would save all people from their sins.
These two facts by themselves are very important and surprising, but that’s not all. The passage also says that all this took place to fulfill what the prophet Isaiah had prophesied 700 years before Jesus’ birth,
“The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.” (Is 7:14)
What we know from this is that Jesus didn’t just randomly come to the world. God had planned Jesus’ coming and promised it in the Old Testament long before it took place when everything was made ready through the power of the Holy Spirit.
In fact, even though the name Jesus doesn’t appear in the Old Testament, we can find many symbols and indications that represent Jesus along with many prophecies about Him.
Most of the important prophecies and symbols in the Old Testament such as animal sacrifice, the Passover lamb, the bronze snake lifted up on a pole in the wilderness, high priests, and the sacrifice on the Day of Atonement represent Jesus and the ministry He would carry out to save His people from their sins.
The apostle Paul said, “[God] promised the gospel beforehand through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures regarding his Son… Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rm 1:2-4)
So you can say that the Old Testament is about the Messiah, the Savior that would come, and the New Testament is about Jesus who has come and who will return.
1. Salvation Comes from the Lord
Now, let’s talk about three things we can learn from the virgin birth of Jesus Christ. The first is that God planned our salvation, waited for the perfect time, and finally began to fulfill it with the birth of Jesus Christ.
Earlier, we read one of the most important prophecies that is directly related to the virgin birth of Jesus Christ. The prophet Isaiah had prophesied it around 700 years before Mary conceived Jesus. However, the promise of the virgin birth of Jesus Christ actually goes all the way back to the first book in the Bible.
Genesis 3:15 says,
“And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.” (Gn 3:15)
This is what God told the serpent after it deceived Adam and Eve to get them to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. This verse is often called ‘the primitive gospel.’
After being deceived by the serpent, Adam and Eve sinned by disobeying God’s command not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and as a result, the great fall came to all human beings. Their sin severed their relationship with God and because of their sin, they lost eternal life in God and began to head toward eternal death.
But God didn’t just let them die. From the very moment sin first came to the world through the disobedience of the first human beings, God planned to save all people. God knew that true and perfect salvation would only come through His Son, so He said that He would send an offspring from woman, who would crush the power and authority of sin, death, and Satan.
Even though the primitive gospel was written by Moses around 1,500 hundred years before Jesus’ birth, the promise had been given long before that.
And, “When the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman” (Gal 4:4) to save us.
So what we must see from the virgin birth of Jesus Christ is God’s divine plan and providence and His sovereignty over our salvation. The virgin birth of Jesus Christ was planned and promised by God and achieved through the power of the Holy Spirit, not mere human effort.
The event didn’t take place by chance. It took place at the exact time that God had set according to His plan and purpose for the salvation of the whole world.
Therefore, the virgin birth of Jesus Christ is a reminder that salvation must be the work of God Himself. Our salvation only comes through the supernatural work of God, not by our own works or effort, and that was evident at the very beginning of Jesus’ life. That’s the first lesson we learn from the story of Jesus’ birth.
2. Fully God, Fully Human
Second, the virgin birth of Jesus Christ made it possible to unite full deity and full humanity in one person, Jesus.
There are many stories about the births of historically important people. For example, one of Korea’s most famous historical figures, whose name is “박혁거세,” was believed to have hatched from an egg laid by a white horse. When people went to see the horse, it flew into the sky.
There are many similar stories of extraordinary births in other countries since they were often used to deify a person. What these stories imply is that this person is different from normal people from birth.
Because we are surrounded by such myths, it can be easy to dismiss the story of Jesus’ birth as a false or exaggerated story. But the virgin birth of Jesus Christ is different. It didn’t happen in order to show us how extraordinary and special Jesus was. It wasn’t written to deify Him.
The reason Jesus had to be born of a virgin was not to show us how different He was from us, but to show us how it was possible for Him to be both fully God and fully human at the same time.
Let’s think about two other possible ways in which Christ might have come to the earth. God could have created Jesus as a complete human being in heaven and sent Him to earth without any human parents.
But then it would have been very hard for us to see how Jesus could be fully human as we are, and he wouldn’t have been a part of the human race that physically descended from the first man, Adam.
On the other hand, God could have sent Jesus into the world through two human parents, both a father and a mother. But then it would have been hard for us to understand how Jesus was fully God, since His birth would have been just like ours in every way.
So, when we think about these other possibilities, it helps us to understand how God, in His wisdom, combined humanity and divinity in Jesus through the virgin birth. Jesus’ full humanity is evident in His ordinary birth from a human mother. But at the same time, Jesus’ full deity is also evident in the fact that He was conceived by the powerful work of the Holy Spirit, without a human father.
The virgin birth of Christ was the miraculous means God used to send His Son into the world as a man who also had full divinity. So we should never consider the story of Jesus’ birth to be a myth or made-up story because if we deny it, we also deny the truth that Jesus is fully God and fully human at the same time.
Then, why is it so important for us to acknowledge Jesus as both fully God and fully human? There are many reasons, but for now I think it’s enough to say that because He is fully human and fully God, He can lead us to God as a human and He can also deliver God’s message to us because He is God. And someone who does this kind of job is called a ‘mediator.’
Paul said in 1 Timothy, “There is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus” (1 Tm 2:5)
The reason Jesus can be the only mediator between us and God is because He is fully God and fully human. Because Jesus can fully understand both God and human beings, He can serve as a mediator between us and God. Only Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life through which we can come to the Father in heaven.
The prophet Isaiah said that the son who would be born to the virgin would be called Immanuel, which means ‘God with us.’ Jesus was God’s way of being with us. Jesus is God incarnate. Through Jesus, God dwells in us and allows us to be reconciled with Him, enjoy a peaceful relationship with Him, and enter into a covenant with Him. That’s the second significant truth about Jesus we can learn from the virgin birth.
3. A Man without Sin
Third, the virgin birth of Jesus Christ also makes it possible for Jesus to be human without sin.
Hebrews 4:15 says,
“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are - yet he did not sin.” (Heb 4:15)
The apostle Peter also called Jesus “a lamb without blemish or defect” (1Pt 1:19).
One truth about human beings we can find in the Scriptures is that all people are sinners without exception. It may irritate some people, but that’s the fundamental truth of human beings.
Romans 5:12 and 19 clearly declares, “just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned… through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners” (Rom 5:12, 19)
It’s not easy to understand how the first sin and disobedience of one man, Adam, and their result, death, affect all people on earth. But we at least know that Adam wasn’t born from human parents but was created by God and is therefore the representative of all human beings.
And as his descendants, all people share his sinful nature. Some people call it ‘original sin’ or ‘inherited sin,’ although the concept of original sin itself is not strongly supported in the Scriptures.
But the fact that Jesus didn’t have a human father means that the line of descent from Adam was interrupted. Jesus is the only One who didn’t descend from Adam. And this helps us to understand why Adam’s fall, which belongs to all other human beings, didn’t apply to Jesus.
When Gabriel told Mary about her pregnancy, he said, “The Holy Spirit will come on 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.” (Lk 1:35)
Because the Son would be conceived in Mary by the Holy Spirit, not by a human father, the child was to be called ‘the holy one.’
Luke 1:35 connects the virgin birth of Jesus Christ by the Holy Spirit with His holiness and sinlessness. So the virgin birth allows us to understand how God made it possible for Jesus to be fully human without sharing in Adam’s sin.
So, as we can see from the virgin birth of Jesus Christ and as many Bible verses testify, Jesus is the only human being without sin. And we know why it is so important in our salvation. Because Jesus knew no sin, He could “[give] himself as a ransom for all people” (1 Tm 2:6).
Because Jesus was the one person who didn’t sin, He could shed His precious blood that washes away the sins of all people, including us. That’s the third truth of Jesus Christ that we know from His virgin birth.
Today, we talked about how important the virgin birth of Jesus Christ is in our salvation. The virgin birth of Christ teaches us that God planned our salvation from the beginning and that He takes initiative in our salvation.
The virgin birth allows us to understand that Jesus was fully God and fully human at the same time so that He could serve as the Mediator between us and God and sacrifice Himself as the perfect ransom for our sin.
Today is the beginning of the Advent season, when we remember the coming of Jesus Christ. I know you guys are very busy nowadays, but let us not forget the most important truth about Jesus Christ. Let’s remember, celebrate, and be more grateful for it during this time. Let’s pray.
Heavenly Father, we thank You for sending Jesus Christ, Your Son, to be with us and to save us from our sin and death. We thank You for Your providence.
We believe in the virgin birth of Jesus Christ. And we profess that Jesus Christ is Your Son, conceived by the Holy Spirit, and that He is fully God and fully human without any sin.
Please open our minds and hearts and allow us to know more about Jesus Christ so that we can stand strong in our faith. Please guide us to the truth of Jesus Christ through the Holy Spirit so that we can completely believe and accept what You’ve done to save us.
We thank You, Lord, for Your salvation achieved in Jesus Christ. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.
Today, we talked about the three important truths we can learn from the virgin birth of Jesus Christ. Here are the questions I want us to think about today.
1) Do you believe in the virgin birth of Jesus Christ? Why do you think it is essential to Christian faith and salvation? What are some things you’ve learned about Jesus through the story of His birth?